LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) – Lumberton City Council passed a new ordinance at its meeting Monday night.
The ordinance, which passed 5-3, means all dog owners must register their pups with the city each year. Council also defined pit bulls and other terriers as “potentially vicious.”
While some think the new regulations are an overreach, for one Lumberton mother, it was a small victory in the face of a devastating loss.
Six months ago, Jamie West’s son Talen was killed in a dog attack in in Lumberton. Monday night she sat nervously awaiting the outcome of the vicious dog ordinance vote at City Hall.
The new ordinance says pit bulls, bull terriers, American and other Staffordshire terriers, as well as dogs that resemble them, are too vicious for most people in Lumberton to keep in their homes.
If an owner wishes to keep one of these dogs, he or she must register the pet with the city. They must also keep the dog inside.
If the owner wants to keep the dog outdoors, they must have a kennel that either has a cement floor or is at least two feet below ground. Some dog owners like Christina Smith spoke out against what they said was an unfair bias toward their favorite breeds.
“I understand that some dogs are vicious, but I don’t think a dog should be judged on its breed,” Smith said. “I have a soon-to-be three-year-old rock pit mix. Never bit anyone, he’s not vicious, he sleeps in the house, he sleeps on my pillow!”
In addition, the new law calls for registration fees and taxes, as well as keeping tags on dogs to prove they have owners as well as their shots.
The three nay votes on council–who all own pit bulls–say the ordinance punishes good dog owners for the actions of a few bad dogs.
“All dogs are vicious to a large degree,” said Councilman Chris Howard. “It’s all how we train them, how we take care of them and make sure they’re fed and their well-being is taken care of.”
Jamie West disagrees and thinks the vicious dog ordinance is a step in the right direction.
“If one child is saved, then Talen…I can be okay with that.”
The new law also requires:
–City residents to own no more than three dogs
–All dogs to be registered with the city and wear tags reflecting their address and updated shot record
–All dogs be spayed or neutered before six months of age
News 13 spoke to officials with Robeson County to see if they are considering similar statutes. Health department director Bill Smith tells News 13 that it is “unlikely a similar law could be passed in Robeson.”