Where do we draw the line?

Submitted by Bless the Bullys on August 14, 2008 - 7:56pm.

WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?

Rockwood dog owners --- if a proposed "pit bull" ordinance wasn't enough to get you motivated to take action, you might want to pay close attention to this....

The Rockwood city council has brought a newly revised proposed vicious dog ordinance to the table. Now rather than just focusing on pit bulls only, the proposed amendment, if passed, would regulate pit bulls, rottweilers, doberman pinschers, German shepherds and chow chows in the city of Rockwood.

If you own one of these breeds and you live in Rockwood, you WILL BE affected regardless of whether you are a GOOD owner and you have a GOOD dog. This extremely discriminatory ordinance has a broad and sweeping reach, and it labels ALL dogs of certain breeds guilty based on their appearance - NOT their actions or behaviors.

The time to voice your opposition to this ordinance is now. The proposed amendments go before the city council this Monday night (August 18) at 7:00 p.m. If Rockwood succeeds in passing this law, what's next? Do we regulate Yorkies? How about poodles? Where do we draw the line? Until we have no dogs?

Come on, Rockwood dog owners... speak up for your dogs now...it may be the last chance you have!

Jodi Preis
Bless the Bullys
Link...


WhitesCreek's picture
Which councilman offered the

Which councilman offered the amendment?

Rockwood Dog Ordinance

Councilman Watts introduced the latest ordinance and has now changed the "Ban the Bulls" language to moving a number of breeds to a "restricted" list. It makes as much sense to me as "Restricting loud vehicles on Rockwood Street, and ALL Fords and Chevrolets. And as always, I WILL use my name...Ray Collett

"...liberty and justice for all"??

At every Rockwood council meeting these words are spoken by attending citizens, Councilmen and Mayor. Concurrently,each of us in the audience with "hand over heart" pledge to support the principles on which this country was founded and for which so many American soldiers continue to sacrifice and die. "Liberty and justice for all" aren't just words but a charge of profound duty.
For the last 8 months responsible dog owners from Rockwood, the surrounding area and from areas hours away have tried to work with the Council in helping craft a dog ordinance. When we were asked we provided:
1. "Real" statistics by Councilman Neal. We gave him written resources detailing the most up to date, authoritative and accurate numbers provided by experts who testify on dog aggression and dog bites.We interpreted numbers and clarified misleading literature. We provided books and articles to back up all these numbers.
2.We coordinated a date and time for telephone conferences with 2 experts to assist the Councilman. Councilman Neal reluctantly took the phone when it was handed handed to him to talk to the national expert on fatal dog attacks who has spent 20 plus years researching dog attacks in America. He asked only one question, "how many pit bulls are there in the country"?
3.We provided resources from veterinerians, animal control officers, multiple professional organizations, rescues such as the ASPCA, the Humane Society. We emphasized why the professionals could not and did not support laws against breeds of dogs.
4.An outline of legal and financial pitfalls of Breed Specific Legislation as described by municipalities who had later rescinded their breed specific laws. Real concerns about cost, enforcement, fairness, liability, and constitutionality were met with Council's indifference.
4.When told we were "outsiders" and a clear message sent that our views didn't matter we went to 40 citizens of Rockwood and asked them what kind of dog law they wanted. Enthusiastically they supported and signed a petition saying NO to a law against breed or breeds of dogs..they wanted owners made responsible. Many added comments such as "it's people who's the problem NOT the dog". These petition cards and results were provided to the Council.
5.When asked for examples of ordinances which were simple, enforceable and tough several, especially Jodi Pries, provided examples from TN and the nation to the Council. These ordinances apply to all dogs and all people. They both control the behavior of people in their relationship with their dogs and the behavior of their dogs with the rest of society. These laws define "responsible" dog ownership and problem/vicious dogs by the behavior of each. "Justice to all" is quite evident in these ordinances.
6.We offered to teach classes and then distributed educational materials at 2 pet expo's at Walmart and again at ThunderRoad festivities.Our goals were always education,understanding and celebration of how canines enrich our lives!
7.We walked the streets at Thunder Road and gave demonstrations with dogs of multiple breeds. We welcomed folks to touch our dogs,pet them and ask questions. Most importantly, we gave them the chance to make up their own minds about the so-called dangerousness of certain breeds of dogs. After-all seeing is believing. Many people went away with a much different and enlightened view.

In summary,on Monday August 18th the vicious dog ordinance placed on the table will not express the will of the Rockwood people.It reflects only the wishes of a few and restricts the liberties of many. The Rockwood people have have spoken through the Roane News poll and through the petitions signed at ThunderRoad. They have spoken through hours of conversations expressing their love for their animals and their wish to be safe from those who are irresponsible. The message is clear, Council: hold people accountable for the actions of their dogs and judge a dog by his behavior not his breed.Your duty is clear.

WhitesCreek's picture
Good Stuff, 2wheeler

I agree. there are some good folks on the Rockwood City Council, but then there are some others. Nothing in the Constitution says you have to have a brain in order to run for political office.

Case in point?

And don't paint all the Rockwood folks with the same brush. We have seen how willing Ray Collett is to discuss issues with us. I wish they were all that open and honest.

A special thanks

I have nothing but respect for both Ray Collett and Dudley Evans. They have been friendly, open-minded,articulate, focused, and are obviously kind and tolerant men. Their concern for the Rockwood citizens and for welfare of all companion animals is readily apparent. They also don't cave-in to peer pressure which I admire.

Dog Ordinance

Thanks for your comments. If this ordinance passes, it will have a "restriction" on dogs over 30 pounds regardless of the breed...That would include "Lassie", "Rin-Tin-Tin", Roy Roger's "Bullet", the viscious dog on "The Shaggy DA..It just don't make sense....Ray Collett

Supporting the Rights of Dog Ownership

No, Mr. Collett, it doesn't make sense. I, too, appreciate you and Dudley Evans being open minded and willing to read and listen to information offered to the council. I hope to be relocating to Roane County in the very near future and the action this council is attempting to take is of great concern to me. While at present I do not own a dog, I fully support the rights of individuals to own any breed they so choose. In addition, I fully support the enforcement of responsible ownership but DO NOT support legislation or restriction of dogs based solely upon breed. I have many friends who own the breeds of dogs the council will attempt to restrict and not one of them has ever harmed another dog, let alone a human. Why would the council want to ban/restrict a dog that has NEVER shown aggression of any kind?

While visiting a friend in Roane County I attended a council meeting in Rockwood. It was during this meeting that the initial ban on pit bulls was brought forward. When I left that meeting I felt the council would eventually rule based on the wants of one individual....the Mayor. While I was wrong about you, Mr. Collett, my thoughts concerning the other council members have proven true. This is, of course, excluding Mr. Evans, who voted against the ban on the first proposal. Why are Mr. Watts and the other council members proposing ordinances? While it should be for the betterment of the citizens of Rockwood it really seems to be for the wants and desires of one. I was told Mr. Watts even commented that the Mayor would not be satisified with any proposed ordinance brought before the council unless it moved to ban/restrict pit bulls. It's a shame that other members of the council will vote for something based on the desires of the Mayor (or other council members) and not truly represent the desires of the citizens of Rockwood. Maybe Mr. Watts felt if he added other dogs to this list that the "pit bull" folks would not be as upset. If he did then he's sadly mistaken. I truly hope that when word spreads on what the council is attempting to do that folks in Rockwood will be outraged. While those folks feel their voices will be ignored (which is the reason given by many for not attending meetings) they need to attend the meeting on Monday. Hopefully a Roane News reporter will be there to cover this story. And if these council members ignore the citizens of Rockwood and put this restriction in place, remember those who vote for it. While you cannot stop it you can vote them out when election time comes. Be thankful you have council members such as Mr. Collett and Mr. Evans.

My parents recently spent a week on Watts Bar Lake in Rockwood and just fell in love. They will begin actively searching for a lakefront lot to purchase. Like me, they currently do not own a dog but support and individuals right to own any dog they desire. When they purchase lakefront property many of their visitors will have dogs that fall under this proposed restriction. Please don't take this as boastful but they have very deep pockets and should an incident take place while these dogs were on their property I can assure you they would promplty file a lawsuit against the city of Rockwood. I recently read where one such lawsuit had cost a city a quarter of million dollars. Is Rockwood prepared for something like this to happen because, sooner or later, it will.
Mr. Collett, you said it best...."It just don't make sense."

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