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Council mulls pit bull problem

By Staff, 03/16/21 10:27 AM

PRESCOTT – There is a pit bull problem in the City of Prescott, according to Prescott Police Chief Ann Jordan.

She told the Prescott City Council about this during its March meeting Monday night, adding the Prescott Police Department is following the city’s ordinance concerning pit bulls, which gives owners of such animals 10 days to get rid of them or be fined $500 per day for violating the ordinance. But, she said, anything can happen in 10 days. The PPD, she continued, wants it where officers can pick up such animals immediately instead of waiting 10 days. These animals need to be banned from the city.

Members of the council recounted their stories of dealing with pit bulls, with councilman Patricia Roberts saying one took over her yard and she couldn’t go outside because of it, until it went away. The panel discussed making changes to the ordinance, and did. Toward the end of the discussion, the council discussed amending the 2009 ordinance allowing officers to pick up such dogs immediately and fine owners $500 for possessing a vicious animal.

Assistant Police Chief Alex GambleĀ  said the PPD has been issuing tickets on vicious dogs based on state law, but the ordinance needs to be changed to allow officers to write tickets at the time they’re dealing with the owners and judges need to enforce the rule of not bringing the dogs back to Prescott. The biggest problem, he said, is with animal control in Nashville, where Prescott contracts such services. At times, he told the council, the animal control officer offers excuses why he can’t come and pick the dogs up, which means officers have to put the animals in the back of patrol cars not meant for them and take them to a holding pen at the city shop.

Detective Colby Tillman added while the dogs are in these pens, the city is responsible for them, making sure they’re fed and watered and properly cared for, something officers don’t have time to do as they have other duties.

City Attorney Glenn Vasser said the current ordinance can be amended, reminding the council there was a lot of controversy in 2009 when it was first passed after a child had been killed by a pit bull.

Members of the council will meet with Vasser on amendments to the ordinance, which will likely include requiring the dogs to be picked up immediately with no 10-day waiting period involved.

In other business, Jamie Hillery, executive director with the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, reminded the council the Chamber will be working with the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission on a city-wide cleanup on May 5. Bulk items will be collected by the sanitation department. People can call either city hall or the Chamber for such pickup.

She thanked the PPD for attending the recent ribbon tying event for the Malone Child Service Center, saying every time she went past she saw officers with the department there.