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Hate to say we told you so, but we told you so.
We warned a couple of weeks ago about the danger of allowing non-elected people to draft legislation.
When it met Thursday afternoon, the committee appointed to craft a dog ordinance did what we expected: it dropped any reference of pit bulls from the ordinance and stripped it of any chance it had of making a real change.
What is left is something that will likely mirror the city of Lawrenceburg’s ordinance and give pit bulls the ability to strike first before anything is done to contain them.
Let’s be clear: those who volunteered to serve on this committee are all good, honest, decent people who brought to the discussion a clear understanding of what they want. Trouble is, when you allow those whose life it is to advocate on behalf of animals make the very laws that control them, the focus immediately jumps to human behavior vs. that of the animals.
Are humans to blame for the pit bull problem? Absolutely. Were it not for the abject idiots who raise them to fight or serve as weapons, this wouldn’t even be a problem.
But the reality is that those idiots are allowed to own these dogs and an ordinance that requires them to spay or neuter and not tie them up isn’t going to solve a darned thing.
Those for this type of law readily admit that Anderson County is stretched mighty thin when it comes to animal control. Yet it appears they expect animal control to lift the tail of every dog out there to determine if it has been fixed or ensure it isn’t chained to a tree.
The criminals who own these dogs aren’t going to adhere to that kind of ordinance any more than they obey the laws against illegal drugs. It will be a “catch me if you can” situation, and the vast majority of these pit bull owners will go unscathed.
That is, until one of their dogs gets loose and someone is seriously injured — again — or killed.
We contend that the only effective way of getting the pit bull issue under control is to create what committee member Pam Rogers called an “economic barrier” to the criminals who want them, and let animal control seize them on site if that barrier isn’t met.
County Attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis created that barrier at the direction of the fiscal court when she delivered a draft ordinance, parts of which has been summarily torn apart by this committee.
In it, Lewis mandated that pit bull owners have thousands in liability insurance, pay an annual registration fee and included other impediments designed to keep pit bulls out of the hands of criminals.
In short, there would be a mighty small list of pit bull owners in Anderson County — a list so short animal control officers could memorize it.
Without those barriers, animal control officers will be right back where they are now and, even if they see a pit bull will have no idea, or time, to check and see if it has been fixed.
Further, the argument that continues to be floated that such a stern ordinance would result in multiple lawsuits and costly litigation is bunk. It says here the county attorney is more than capable of crafting an ordinance that will past muster in local courts and beyond.
Fortunately, none of what this committee wants will become law until it is made so by the fiscal court. We implore magistrates to make pit bulls as close to extinct in Anderson County as possible, and consider the safety of residents more important than that of any animal, particularly pit bulls.
Note: Last week’s editorial about the library and health department budgets included information that was not correct.
Neither organization is required to submit more than a summary of their budgets to the fiscal court, according to state law.
Also, Judge-Executive Steve Cornish said it is his understanding that the fiscal court only votes on those budgets to verify there were submitted on time, not to pass them.