A dog's life
Debate over pit bulls taking shape in Maumelle, Neal Moore with his take plus news and sports headlines
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Dare we get optimistic? The Covid numbers are moving in the right direction. Those who can are getting their vaccines. Unfortunately, many are ignoring the directives and continue to do as they please. And now we have variants that are attacking us, which is even more reason to double up on being safe and doing the right things. You know the drill.
It appears that we are getting ready for a dog fight in Maumelle, literally. The pit bull ordinance has come up again with Council Member Chad Gardner introducing an ordinance that would amend the city code to revise enforcement procedures, eliminate the categories of “potentially dangerous animal” and “hazardous animal,” change the current definition of “dangerous animal” and remove the ban on certain breeds of dogs.
Council members are already taking sides, with Council Member Steve Mosley adamantly opposing the new ordinance in a letter to constituents.
This will be a divisive discussion but will certainly spice up the upcoming Council meetings with the second and third readings coming up.
I’m not sure how I feel about it but, like many of you, was complacent with the existing ordinance. I will be watching the debate closely.
With everything going on the world, I’m not sure I agree with tackling this issue when there are so many other important things to consider. Did Mr. Gardner need something to keep him busy?
Ultimately, the decision should probably go to the voters to decide. It would be a shame for a Council member to lose their seat because of the dog vote.
Lowery’s Bill Goes Down
House Bill 1231, by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, didn’t make it out of committee. His ill-conceived, offensive bill to control the teachings of our history teachers was soundly criticized by students, teachers, fellow lawmakers and the head of the Arkansas Education Department. The message sent to Rep. Lowery was that legislators don’t need to be in the curriculum business. And threatening to withhold funding if schools didn’t comply is simply abuse of power.
Mr. Lowery has embarrassed himself, his district and our state by his bill to disallow the complete study of the past and his other bill to suppress voter freedom through mandatory I.D. to vote with no alternative. Voters deserve better and thank goodness, he has announced he won’t run again. Unfortunately, I have a hunch he may take a shot at a Senate seat.
Conscientious voters don’t forget.
Griffin Exits Race; Do You Blame Him?
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is smarter than I thought. He has bailed out on the governor’s race and shifted his time and money to the attorney general race, which so far makes him the only serious announced candidate. I don’t blame him. He looked at facing Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the current AG, Leslie Rutledge, and figured that it would be a losing cause with Sanders the current favorite. Thus, the only semi-qualified candidate has left the race and we face having a governor not only unqualified but both closely connected to former President Trump, unfortunately an advantage in Arkansas.
Please run, Jim Hendren.
Bella Rustina Returns
The Bella Rustina Modern Vintage Market will take place Feb. 12-14 at 9300 Maumelle Boulevard in North Little Rock. Bella Rustina is locally owned out of Maumelle (Ashley Norris, wife of Mayor Caleb Norris) and is the largest vintage market in Central Arkansas. Exhibitors will fill 200+ booths with everything from vintage to handmade creations to vintage-inspired décor.
The organizer said they also have food trucks and many indoor food choices. The vintage market will be open Friday - Saturday, Feb. 12-13, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Early-buying admission on Friday is $8 for adults. Regular admission is $5 Saturday and Sunday for each adult. Admission is free for children 12 and under. Admission is good for re-entry all weekend and parking is free.
Arkansas Department of Health Covid-19 event directives will be followed and include: Masks required for all workers, exhibitors and customers, sanitizing stations at the entrance and throughout the building. A limited number of customers will be allowed in the building at once.
Super Bowl TV
The expectations are extremely high each year for the Super Bowl. We expect a great game, great commercials and a great halftime show. The game was not great, some of the commercials (at $5.5 million for a 30-second ad) were good and the halftime show was just OK. Obviously, I am not the target audience for The Weeknd. “God Bless America” performed by H.E.R. was fantastic. See, I am pretty hip.
The National Anthem performed by Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan was not that great to me. I much prefer the version sung by Whitney Houston in 1991.
The Super Bowl keeps trying to become a reflection of our conscience with some commercials offering to provide a moral compass for us. I appreciate your effort, but that’s not really the job of beer and car companies.
Stay Safe. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Get your shot when you can.
See you on the Boulevard.
More news at www.ArkansasNewsroom.com.
Neal Moore is a public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to email@example.com. Thanks, PJ.
Pit bulls, other breeds banned in Maumelle, for now
City Council member Chad Gardner took the first step last week in lifting Maumelle’s current ban on pit bulls and other breeds of dogs deemed dangerous by the city when he introduced legislation that would revise Animal Services.
Currently the city has five designations for animals and Gardner’s legislation would reduce that to three, leaving Nuisance, Dangerous and Vicious, but removing Hazardous and Potentially Dangerous.
It would also, “end Maumelle’s discrimination against certain breeds of animals based on their appearance and will recognize and treat all dogs equally rather than placing labels on certain breeds because of their appearance.”
Maumelle has since 1998 made it illegal to own or keep Pit Bulls or American Bulldogs inside city limits.
North Little Rock also bans Pit Bulls, while Little Rock has no bans but residents there are required to register them as potentially dangerous and are only allowed to own two.
Gardner’s move made for an immediate reaction from fellow Council member Steve Mosley who sent out a lengthy email to constituents and other residents of Maumelle.
In it, Mosley wrote, “I firmly believe that legalizing Pit Bulls and other dangerous dog breeds would strip off a layer of safety that residents currently enjoy and make our community less safe.”
He added, “I've personally seen what a Pit Bull can do to another animal when it attacks, and thus I have safety concerns for our children and pet animals here in Maumelle.”
Mosley noted Gardner had previously attempted to have the Pit Bull ban lifted and it had been defeated after, “an avalanche of emails and phone calls from mainstream Maumelle residents.” Mosley then asked for that effort again and said, “I must ask you again to step up and directly communicate with each and every Council member and let them know your stance on this issue.”
Mosley then included the email addresses for council members, Mayor Caleb Norris and City Attorney Melissa Krebs.
Mosley’s personal experiences don’t jibe with the recommendations from the ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In those, the organization said, “there is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals.”
They also noted that, “breed-specific laws are also costly and difficult to enforce” and that bans come with what they called, “unintended consequences.”
Among those were, “Breed-specific laws have a tendency to compromise rather than enhance public safety” as the focus becomes one of enforcement of the ban instead of what the ASPCA called “effective enforcement” tools like:
Dog license laws
Anti-animal fighting laws
Spaying and neutering
Laws requiring owners to control their dogs, regardless of breed
Indeed, Tracy Roark, Manager of the city of Little Rock’s Animal Village and Education Center said dog ownership is the most important factor in preventing incidents and added Little Rock has had just, “one legal Pit Bull bite [of a person] since 2006.”
That doesn’t include dog violence to other dogs and animals.
ASPCA said its recommendation was a breed-neutral approach for animal control regulations and that other options include:
Enforcement of dog license laws
Increased availability for low-cost spay and neuter services
Dangerous dog laws focused on owner’s behavior
Graduated penalties and options for dogs deemed dangerous
Laws holding dog owners financially accountable as well as civilly and criminally liable
Laws that prohibit chaining, tethering and unreasonable confinement
Text of Steve Mosley’s email
Friends and Neighbors,
As you know, I send out emails to my constituents about important issues that are in front of the City Council. As such, I am sending you this email to let you know that the issue on Pit Bull dogs has resurfaced. Essentially, Council Member Chad Gardner has again introduced legislation that would serve to lift our longstanding City ban on Pit Bull dogs and several related breeds. I firmly believe that legalizing Pit Bulls and other dangerous dog breeds would strip off a layer of safety that residents currently enjoy and make our community less safe. I've personally seen what a Pit Bull can do to another animal when it attacks, and thus I have safety concerns for our children and pet animals here in Maumelle.
Councilman Gardner's ordinance was defeated the first time, a year or so ago, by an avalanche of emails and phone calls from mainstream Maumelle residents. Essentially, such communication ultimately convinced a majority of Council members to keep the current law in place. As such, I am afraid that I must ask you again to step up and directly communicate with each and every Council member and let them know your stance on this issue. For your use, I have included the email addresses of all the Council members as well as the Mayor and City Attorney as follows:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
We have a Code of Ethics for City Council Members in our City Code Book. In it there is a clause stating "Council Members shall bear in mind at all times their responsibility to the entire electorate and shall refrain from actions benefiting special interest groups at the expense of the city as a whole." I think this ethics clause is very applicable in this situation, and so I again plan to vote "no" on this legislation.
Again, please contact all Council Members and the Mayor. Hopefully you'll agree that safety should be the top priority here in Maumelle!
As always, it is an honor and privilege to serve as one of your two Ward 1 Council members!
Maumelle City Council Member
Ward 1, Position 1