Quorum court addresses vicious dogs in county

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - One woman's attempt to ban pit bulls within Randolph County drew a large crowd at the quorum court meeting Thursday night but those in attendance were in favor of the breed. Many spoke out for their dogs and let justice of the peace know how they felt.

Dozens of Randolph County residents showed up at Thursday night's quorum court meeting and many expressed their concerns over one woman's attempt to ban pit bulls in the county.

"Any dog has the ability to be vicious," Shelly Newell said to justices of the peace.

Not long into the public comments, Judge David Jansen explained that the issue had been blown out of proportion.

"Somebody's started something that just went like wildfire. This court, these quorum court members, not one time last month, that I remember, said that they were going after pit bulls. We had a citizen make a complaint about pit bulls but these quorum court members never said they were going after a specific breed."

Region 8 News spoke with Betty White last week, who says she's had issues with a neighbor's pit bulls for years and wanted the Quorum Court to pass an ordinance to ban the breed.

Justices of the Peace let residents in attendance know they have no interest in establishing breed specific legislation in the county. However, a decision was made to form a committee to establish a "vicious dog ordinance".

It's a move pit bull owner Melissa Wilson is in favor of as she feels any kind of breed specific legislation would do more harm than good.

"If it was any breed, it wouldn't matter if it was a pit bull. If it was a German Shepherd, I feel like the same kind of justice should come to that animal," Wilson said. "It's the same type of principal. You shouldn't just ban an animal by their breed, you should control the animals that you have the problem with. It could be a whole bunch of Chihuahuas doing the exact same thing."

Justices of the Peace voted to establish a five-person committee to write the vicious dog ordinance. That committee will consist of two Justices of the Peace, two Randolph County citizens, to be appointed by Judge Jansen and the final member of the committee will be Sheriff Gary Tribble.

The city of Pocahontas already has a vicious dog ordinance in place, so whatever the committee comes up with won't affect that ordinance.

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