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City of Jacksonville could repeal pit bull ban

After banning pit bulls in 2007, the breed may be getting a second chance as Jacksonville city officials re-consider the ban.

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — There's a lot of dogs at the Jacksonville Animal Shelter who just don't belong. Not because there's anything wrong with them... but they're pit bulls, and they aren't allowed in the city.

"We had multiple dog bites in town, and mauling's and things," Mayor Bob Johnson, speaking on when the ban went into place, said. "So it became an issue and we just banned them."

As time passes, so have people's opinions. The Jacksonville City Council discussed repealing the ban Thursday, but ultimately decided to form a committee to discuss the pros and cons.

"Education is key in knowing what we're doing, and what we're doing is good for the public," Johnson said. "It keeps the public safe."

Johnson says he wants to see both sides, to get the full story.

Some say they already have it.

"A government shouldn't tell you what kind of dog you can and cannot have, they should be telling you what people shouldn't have those dogs, like animal abusers, and stuff like that," Courtney Mixon, cofounder of Repeal BSL North Little Rock, said.

Mixon works to repeal Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, all over. She says she understands the stereotype that pit bulls have, but believes the issue isn't the dogs, it's what's around them.

"I mean, all dogs are individuals, they can bite, they can attack, it's just how you manage them," she said. "It's not how you raise them, it's not how you train them, it's how you manage them."

That's what the City has to do – manage the pros and cons of this. While that's not easy to do, Mayor Johnson says they have to try.

"Easiest thing to do is nothing," he said. "The hardest thing is to make a sensible, well thought out, responsible change."

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