Press-Republican

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March 16, 2013

West Virginia community considers pit bull ban

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Serious injury to the town's animal control officer a week ago has moved this West Virginia community to consider outlawing ownership of pit bulls.

Mayor Linda Whalen, who supports the ban, said current dog laws require pit bulls be muzzled and on a secure leash when in public and kept in locked, enclosed pens when kept outside the home. They are also suppose to be registered with the police department.

But, the mayor added, too many owners are not complying with the law and so the alternative is to prohibit them from residing within the city limits.

City Attorney Brian Cochran said he is drafting the new, stricter ordinance. He said current owners would have 10 days after it is enacted to comply with the current law. But no additional pit bulls would be allowed in.

"It's especially a public safety issue," said Cochran. "It's something that we as a municipal government can do to help protect our kids and other citizens throughout the city."

Animal Cntrol Officer Randell Thompson was attacked March 6 by a pit bull that broke lose from its chain in the owner's backyard. At the time, he was was helping the owner return a second pit bull that had been running loose in the neighborhood.

Thompson suffered severe bite wounds on both arms and was hospitalized for a couple of days.

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Details for this story were provided by the Bluefield, W. Va., Daily Telegraph

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