Maumelle City Council member Steve Mosley writes in response to a reader’s question about previous coverage. His comments have been lightly edited and formatted for publication.
I'd like to address Chad Gardner's comments that he made in his Nov. 21 Council Report from last week regarding my sponsored resolution to put a question on the Presidential Primary general election ballot in March 2024 that would allow residents to decide whether we would have Pit Bull and such related dogs in Maumelle.
First, this proposed question for the voters was not for a special election where this would be the only thing on the ballot. Basically, it would just be an additional item to be voted on along with the Presidential Primary items and whatever else might be voted on at this March 2024 general election.
Secondly, Mr. Gardner's report omitted certain context and history of why we might be considering legislation to put the Pit Bull question on the ballot for voters to decide. As a brief perspective, Mr. Gardner and 4 other Council Members (Mazzoni, Williams, Tierney, and Shinn) voted 5-3 in April 2021 to lift what had been a long existing ban on Pit Bull and related dangerous dogs here in Maumelle. They pointed to certain changes that they made in the City's Animal code as being able to provide a safe environment despite the introduction of such dogs. Subsequently, we had a severe Pit Bull attack 3-months ago in August of 2022 that resulted in the death of a pet dog and significant injuries to the owner. After this attack, I introduced legislation to reinstate the ban to see if the 5 Council members might have had regrets about lifting the ban. As it turned out, this legislation failed with the same 5 making the difference. However, we then had an impromptu discussion at our Oct. 17 Council meeting about allowing voters to decide the issue at the next general election, and the Council displayed some serious interest by voting unanimously (without Mr. Gardner being present) to have the City Attorney look into the matter. As such, my introduction of the resolution in the Nov. 21 meeting to add the Pit Bull question to the March 2024 general election ballot was not something I did in a vacuum or with stubborn determination as Mr. Gardner's report seemed to imply. Essentially, I had reason to believe that the Council might, in fact, be ready to give the residents the opportunity to decide the issue and put it to rest.
But as Mr. Gardner reported, the resolution was voted down by Mr. Gardner and others in the 5 member group at our Nov 21 Council meeting, and thus at this point, there is currently no opportunity for Maumelle residents to vote on this safety issue. As such, despite at least 1 pet death and human personal injuries at this early juncture (which indicate lifting the ban was not a good idea), Mr. Gardner's experiment with dangerous dogs continues.
Looking forward, this slim, 5 Council Member majority held together again this time, but there likely will be additional, significant Pit Bull related incidents and, thus, additional calls to overturn their controversial 2021 decision to lift the ban. In a community like ours that promotes its walking trails and outdoor family activity, let's just hope the next incident is not a resident fatality.