Parachute ponders pit bull prohibition

Heidi RiceGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE – A potential pit bull ban in the town of Parachute has a number of people up in arms and planning to attend the second reading of the proposed ordinance at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.The ban, which would prohibit anyone within town limits from possessing a pit bull, was proposed by town board member Linda Waite.”Existing pit bulls could remain in town,” said Mayor Roy McClung. “But there would be criteria in that they would have to be licensed and registered and sterilized (neutered or spayed). There would be no new pit bulls allowed, and breeding would be prohibited.”McClung said the police department estimated there were about 15-20 pit bulls within Parachute town limits.Those who work at animal shelters said the ban will not accomplish anything but putting more stress on area shelters when people have to get rid of their pit bulls.”This is not going to help,” said Andrea Rueter of Valley Dog Rescue in Carbondale. “The hysteria (about pit bulls) is bad enough already. Personally, I feel the problem is the breeding of the pit bulls.”Char Quinn, director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society, said she feels Parachute’s proposed ordinance is not only wrong, but illegal.As an agent for the Bureau of Animal Protection under the Colorado Department of Agriculture, she cites Colorado Revised Statute 18-9-204.5, titled “Unlawful Ownership of a Dangerous Dog.””Here is part of the statute,” Quinn wrote in a mass e-mail to other animal activists in the valley where she cited the following from the Colorado Revised Statutes.”(5)(a) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a municipality from adopting any rule or law for the control of dangerous dogs; except that any such rule or law shall not regulate dangerous dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.”(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate a county’s authority under part 1 of article 15 of title 30, C.R.S., to adopt dog control and licensing resolutions and to impose the penalties set forth in section 30-15-102. C.R.S.; except that any such resolution shall not regulate dangerous dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.”According to Quinn, a “dangerous dog” is defined as a “dog that has inflicted serious bodily injury or death of a person or a domestic animal.””The problem is, there are bad dogs, but it doesn’t matter what breed it is,” Quinn said. “It’s not the breed, it’s the owner. This is completely prejudicial. A lot of people get dogs for the wrong reasons. I’m very against banning a breed.”And although Parachute’s proposed ban in Garfield County is quite a distance from Eagle County, Quinn said the repercussions will filter down.”It’s not our county, but it will affect us here,” she said. “There are about 30-40 breeds that even look like pit bulls. I get e-mails at the Humane Society at least once or twice a month of pit bull puppies that are going to be euthanized.”The Parachute meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Parachute Town Hall, 222 Grand Valley Way.

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