Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 22, 2013

Pit bull matter not action item on upcoming agenda

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The pit bull issue will not be an action item on the Bluefield city board of directors agenda next Tuesday, but City Manager Jim Ferguson hopes that the discussion will result in more people understanding the existing ordinance as it relates to pit bulls in the city.

“We have an existing ordinance and a lot of people aren’t complying with it,” Ferguson said. “First of all, if they have a pit bull, it has to be registered at the police department. After our last meeting, I went down to the police department to see how many pit bulls were registered. There were zero. I checked again (on Wednesday) and there were only two registered. That is the law right now.

“People need to know what our ordinance is now,” Ferguson said. “It’s all about being a responsible pet owner. Our ordinance says that pit bulls need to be registered. Hopefully, changing this to a discussion item instead of an action item will make sure everybody understands what the ordinance that we have in place is.”

Ferguson said that the purpose of the new ordinance is not to ban the pit bulls that are currently living in the city, but to prevent new pit bulls from coming into town and not being registered. “We want people to comply with the existing ordinance,” he said.

“We thought that it would be better to allow people to voice their opinion on the matter in the time that will be allotted for each comment,” Ferguson said. “It isn’t the intent to ban all pit bulls, but there is a zero tolerance for people to follow the existing ordinance. If pit bull owners don’t comply, the animal control officer or police officers will take action.”

He said that even though the matter is a discussion item for the March 26, board meeting, “we’re not saying that it’s not going to happen,” Ferguson said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com