The New Albany Board of Alderman has reached a reasonable compromise on the issue of banning pit bulls within the city limits.
The board had been asked by Jim Taylor, the city’s animal control officer, and by Ward One Alderman Jeff Olson to place a permanent ban on the breed.
We were opposed to that proposal for two reasons: First, because we don’t think the city should be telling individuals what kind of dog breed they can have, and, second, because the city already had charged pit bull owners a stiff registration fee.
We have argued that not all pit bulls are a problem, and that vicious dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
New Albany’s existing ordinance says dogs of any breed must be on a leash or kept in an enclosed area with a concrete surface, surrounded by a fence at least four-feet high.
Under the new ordinance, owners who already paid the fee, and there are about 70 of them, may keep their dogs, but no new ones will be permitted in the city.
To us, the real issue remains enforcing the current leash or fence ordinance. But, at least the compromise does not penalize owners who have followed the city rules and registered their dogs.
The city still needs to focus on finding good homes for unwanted pets, and supporting a low-cost spay-and-neuter program to reduce the number of dogs (and cats) that are picked up and killed each year by animal control.