Monday, June 6, 2011

City begins issuing citations to pit bull owners

By Taylor Muller, Kirksville Daily Express

Pit bull-related court summons were issued Friday to several owners within the city, providing the first flexing of the updated Dangerous and Restricted Animals ordinance passed in March.

Three owners were issued court summons Friday for allegedly keeping a pit bull within city limits without following the ordinance’s requirements, which include fencing containment and liability insurance mandates.

James B. Clark, 25, was issued four summons for two counts of keeping a restricted animal and two counts of failure to register a restricted animal at 43 Town and Country Trailer Court.

Angela M. Gavlek, 37, was issued two summons for keeping a restricted animal and failure to register a restricted animal at 76 Town and Country Trailer Court.

Jessica M. Glaspie, 25, was issued three summons for keeping a restricted animal, allowing a restricted animal to run at large and failure to register a restricted animal at 1401 N. Franklin St.

City council approved the updated Dangerous and Restricted Animals ordinance in late March following months of discussion about a possible pit bull breed ban.

These summons were the first issued since the ordinance’s passage and the expiration of the 60-day grace period restricted animal owners were given to be compliant with the law. That grace period ended on June 1.

The ordinance classifies a list of animals as dangerous, including lions, tigers and wolves. It also labels pit bull dogs as restricted animals, creating requirements for their maintained ownership within city limits, including fenced-in containments and liability insurance with a single incident amount of $100,000 for injury or property damage.

All pit bulls, like other dogs, must be registered with the city.

According to the city’s municipal code, if a restricted animal is found at large on public or private property, the animal may be confined and the owner cited for an ordinance violation. If the owner is found guilty of the violation, the dog may be removed from the city or taken to the city’s contract shelter for adoption or to be destroyed.

The animal may not be given to another person in the same family, unless it is adopted through the shelter.

Any person found to be in violation of any of the ordinance’s provisions shall be fined not less than $200 or more than $500 for each violation, or confined in jail for up to 90 days or both fine and imprisonment.

Any person who is cited and ordered to remove a restricted animal may plead their case in municipal court.

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