Breed-specific dog ordinances raising questions

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CLAY, Ala. (WIAT) — Every time a problem arises with pit bull terriers or other types of large dogs, it seems as if many cities take action to ban them inside the city limits.

Clay recently passed a ban on pit bulls and other dangerous or violent dogs.

The city has its reasoning, though.

“I don’t want to have any type of injury or a death from a pit bull,” said Webster.

Charles Webster, the Mayor of Clay, says prior to the ordinance the city had recently become aware of breeders moving to Clay.

“For us it’s a precaution, because we see everything around us,” Webster said.

However, the breed-specific legislation doesn’t sit well with many people in the community.

Phil Doster, the Cruelty Investigator for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, says there are plenty of other ways to accomplish the same goals without passing breed-specific bans.

“The dogs that are most dangerous are generally the dogs that are confined improperly — in other words, if they’re chained or if they’re not contained at all,” Doster explained. “So a leash law would be the first step towards helping a situation in places like clay.”

Clay’s current ordinance goes into effect August 3, 2013. People who own pit bulls have until that date to register their dogs.

“For a city to come in and say your family is bad, you know, your dog is bad — it doesn’t matter that he’s never done anything he’s evil based on his blood — it’s just,” said Melanie Hughes-Hicks, a member of the Bama Bully Rescue organization.

Mayor Webster says the city attorney is reviewing the ordinance, but no changes have been made at this time.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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