Pit bull owners whose pets are registered with the city already will get to keep their dogs, but pit bulls will not be allowed as pets in the future. Current pit bull owners, however, will have to meet certain standards regarding their dog.
Abilene commissioners voted Monday afternoon to amend Chapter 4, Articles 117 and 118, of the city code that prohibits ownership of some animals within the city limits.
Interim City Manager/City Attorney Mark Guilfoyle explained to commissioners that city police had looked at the code early this year (February or March) and discovered that when the city code was re-codified part of the code was omitted. All the code said was that some animals were prohibited within the city limits but it didn’t describe which animals.
The amendment to the code adds those needed descriptions, he said.
The code already prohibited ownership of domestic livestock or fowl, including cattle, swine, horses, mules, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. It does, however, allow ownership of purebred miniature Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and other similar registered purebred miniature pigs.
The approved text amendment prohibits ownership of any warm-blooded, carnivorous or omnivorous wild or exotic animals, including nonhuman primates, raccoons, skunks, foxes and wild and exotic cats; any animal having a poisonous bite; and any pit bull dog.
Current pit bull owners will still face some restrictions regarding their pets even though they will be allowed to keep them. The city code requires such owners to follow certain standards:
• No person shall permit a registered pit bull dog to go outside its kennel or pen unless it is securely controlled with a leash no longer than four feet.
No pit bull dog may be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. Even with a leash held by a person, the dog must be muzzled by a device sufficient to prevent the dog from biting persons or other animals.
A pit bull dog cannot be tethered by leash to an inanimate object such as a tree, post, building, etc.
• All registered pit bull dogs must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel except when leashed and muzzled. A secured pen, kennel or other structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides and they must be locked with a key or combination lock when dogs are inside.
A pen, kennel or other structure containing a pit bull dog must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or the sides of the pen must be imbedded in the ground at least two feet.
• No pit bull dog may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house that would allow the dog to exit on its own volition. A pit bull dog cannot be kept in a house when windows are open or when window screens or screen doors are the only barrier preventing the dog from exiting the structure.
• All owners, keepers or harborers of registered pit bull dogs within the city shall display a sign in a prominent place easily read by the public and stating “BEWARE OF DOG.”
• Owners of pit bull dogs will be required to have public liability insurance of $50,000 for bodily injury or death of a person resulting from the dog. The insurance cannot be cancelled unless 10 days’ written notice has been submitted to the city clerk.
• Owners of pit bull dogs must provide the city clerk with two color photos showing the color and approximate size of the registered animal.
• Within 10 days of an incident, pit bull dog owners must report in writing to the city clerk the removal of the dog from the city or the death of a registered pit bull dog; the birth of offspring to a registered pit bull dog; or the new address of a registered pit bull dog should the owner move within the city limits.
• No person shall sell, barter or in any other way dispose of a pit bull dog registered with the city unless the recipient person resides permanently within the same household and on the same premises or the person does not live within the city.
• All offspring born of pit bull dogs registered in the city must be removed from the city within six weeks of birth.