Pit bull owners upset with ordinance

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - A new ordinance passed in Caraway would get rid of what the city deems as vicious animals.

According to Caraway Police Chief William Hicks, the city has had several pit bull attacks in recent weeks.

"Somebody's been walking down the street, they open the door, the dog comes out, sees them, grabs them and jumps them," he said.

The first attack was a boy who was riding his bike when a pit bull ran out of a house and charged at him. That attack was caught on camera. The child was bitten on the hand.

Claudia Martinez's dog was involved in the attack.

However, Martinez said her dog isn't a vicious animal.

"What happened to that kid was my fault as his owner," she said. "Not his fault. It was my fault. Punish me. Fine me. Do something to me, but don't punish him. Don't kill him; because of the lack of responsibility that I had for him."

But, Martinez's dog wasn't the only one, authorities say.

Chief Hicks said a majority of dog attacks have involved pit bulls.

To prevent this issue, the Caraway City Council passed an ordinance on May 11 to ban all pit bull breeds inside the city limits.

However, Martinez said it's not sitting well with pit bull owners.

"There's a petition going on," she said. "And everybody as a community is working on trying to get it to the point where they can make it stop; or give it more time. It gets me so mad because I know my neighbor's dog is a good dog. It gets me so mad because these dogs are not bad dogs, and the time that they gave us is not right. Who can find a home for a dog in two weeks? Especially a pit bull."

The city is giving pit bull owners until June 5 to find new homes for their dogs.

Chief Hicks said they're enforcing the ordinance as soon as possible because schools are closing for the summer.

Hicks said there will be a lot of kids playing outside.

"We're going to have kids running around all over town on skateboards, bicycles, little scooters, and playing basketball and everything else," he said. "And they're afraid that someone is going to get hurt."

Hicks also said the Caraway Police Department will be writing citations.

"We're not going to go door-to-door knocking on doors asking people if they have one," he said. "If we see one, you will receive a citation."

The fine for having a pit bull is between $200 and $2,500; plus 90 days in the Craighead County Detention Center.

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