The Prescott City Council met Monday evening at their monthly City Council Meeting where they voted to repeal the Pit Bull Ordinance of of 2009 and make amends to the Vicious Animal Ordinance of 1990.
In a vote of 7-1, the council voted to repeal the Pit Bull Ordinance of 2009 which was created after a pit bull attacked and killed 2-year-old Matthew Clayton Hurt. Council Member Susie Meeks was the only member to vote “no” on repealing the ordinance.
“You don’t know when the animal will turn on you,” Meeks said. “You can’t read their minds.”
Council Member Jerry Hightower was the most vocal about wanting to repeal the Pit Bull Ordinance, saying that it was redundant with similar ordinances of 1990 and 2002 and that Pit Bulls as a breed aren’t the problem.
“Breed or no breed, I’m just asking a simple question,” he said. “The Vicious Animal Ordinance of 1990, what in there does not cover what happened in 2009? I had a Pit Bull in my yard and two police officers came over and it licked us to death. It’s not the breed that’s evil, it’s not the breed that’s hateful, it’s not the breed that makes it the way it is, it’s the owner that made them that way.”
Council Member Howard Austin disagreed with Hightower’s viewpoint.
“Let’s go back and think why we drew up [the Pit Bull Ordinance],” Austin said. “We drew it up because a Pit Bull killed a little boy. No other vicious dog killed a person in Prescott that I know of. That was a Pit Bull that did this. Do we wait until another Pit Bull kills somebody before we do something about it?”
Hightower said he preached at Matthew Clayton Hurt’s funeral back in 2009 and says he understands the situation very well.
“I talked to his mother,” he said. “His mother breeds Pit Bulls and sells them today. Let’s speak the truth if we’re going to talk about this. She literally breeds Pit Bulls and sells them. You tell me, if your 3 or 4 year old son just got killed by a Pit Bull, you’re gonna do that? It can’t be the breed, right? It must’ve just been the dog.”
Officer Alex Gamble followed up Hightower’s point at the meeting by saying that they’ve had very little problems with Pit Bulls in Prescott.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of issues with Pit Bulls,” he said. “Most of our problems have been with stray dogs.”
In a unanimous vote, the council also voted to make amendments to the Vicious Animal Ordinance of 1990 by making service animals exempt from the ordinance as long as they were legally registered and to reduce the grace period of animals being held from 10 days to 3. The fee was also raised from $250 to $500.