Residents React To Springdale Dangerous Animals Ordinance

Shortly after Springdale aldermen approved amendments to an ordinance Tuesday night that would outlaw animals who show dangerous tendencies, area residents responded to the changes.

The Springdale City Council passed the much-discussed dangerous animals ordinance, six votes to two. The ordinance outlines what should be constituted as “dangerous animals” and how owners and the animals should be punished for violations.

The ordinance was passed by the city’s ordinance committee last week and recommended to the council.

Ordinance committee members had initially discussed the possibility of a breed-specific ban, after an alderman said he wanted pit bulls banned from the city after his dog was attacked. Alderman Mike Overton and the committee members later backed off of the request and said they did not want a breed-specific ban.

The ordinance states animals may be impounded or euthanized of they are determined to have bitten a person or another animal, or if they are suspected of carrying a disease transmittable to humans.

Aldermen speaking on the issue over the past month have focused on dogs as the subject of the ordinance, but the proposed ordinance instead makes “animals” the subject.

“I think it’s good that they’re not just being prejudice to one animal,” said Tina Bell, a Springdale resident. “I think it’s good they left it open to all animals.”

Several exemptions are built into the ordinance, such as the provision that states animals shall be exempt if they are protecting offspring or a person. They would also be exempt if injured, responding to pain or tormented or abused. A person committing a crime or teasing the dog would also exempt the animal from any action by the city, the proposed ordinance states.

Police dogs are completely exempt from the proposal, the ordinance states.

The proposal outlines several ways action can be taken against offending dogs. A complaint by another person that an owner’s dog has bitten or attempted to bite a person or animal unprovoked would send the case to city court. If the animal is deemed to be dangerous in Springdale District Court, the animal would be taken from the owner and either impounded or euthanized.

A dog or other animal may also be impounded or euthanized based on a citation by police or animal services, followed by court action, according to the ordinance.

“I mean if a child gets into a fight and hurts another child, do we put them down? No, we keep them alive,” Bell said. “I mean pets and animals are like family, so I don’t think they should be euthanized.”

Mary Wiley owns a black lab and said the new changes upset her.

“My dog is a part of our family and I can’t imagine him just being gone,” she said.

Wiley said there are better ways to handle dangerous animals than to euthanize them.

“I can’t even fathom how they can think this is the best solution for anything,” she said.

Mayor Doug Sprouse said the ordinance assures owners that their animals will not be taken without due process through the court system.

An owner may be fined up to $500 per day for failing to follow the ordinance.

12 comments

  • Gary

    After reading this, I am certainly glad that I DO NOT live in the city of Springdale any longer. I hope that the reporting of the ordinance pertaining to an “attempt” by a dog (which should have been written as animal) is a misprint. If not, in what way does the ordinance define an “attempt”? And another point is that one councilman (alderman) is already prejudiced against a certain type of dog.
    I completely understand the want of an ordinance to help protect the public from “dangerous animals”; however, this is a thinly veiled attempt to control the types of dogs certain elected officials (re: Mike Overton) feel are undesirable.
    Therefore, I will infer from the passage of this shoddy “legislation” that the city of Springdale has a budget surplus, violent crime and other more important crime is zero, no homeless or hungry children or adults, and everything is coming up rainbows and unicorns.

  • Mike Boatman

    There are so many “would also exempts” that I doubt they could euthanize a Perro de Presa Canario that ate the entire City council.
    Dogs should be judged by what the did and by the frequency of that action by the breed in general.

  • AGT C

    Saying a certain breed is bad is like saying certain races of people are all are bad.I bet a chihuahua could tear a persons nose off or a poodle could choke a baby.Cats takes a babies breath plus they lay on their faces.Huge snakes could eat a baby or small child so saying pits are the only aggressive animal is wrong.My friend almost died from a cat bite spent 3 days in the hospital and 2 months on IV because cat gave him blood infection when it bit him.

  • mary

    I would like to add that during all this, there were couple of city officials who thought it was ok to yell & be exceptionally rude to citizens of springdale, bc they were standing up speaking against this ordnance. I was shocked at the way they were spoke to by the mayor & some of the councilmen.

  • Nichole

    I do not live in Springdale (thankfully) however I am still outraged. This started because ONE member of the counsel had a dog that was “attacked” by a pit bull. In one years time I want to see the statistics of how many animals action was taken against. And of those, how many were pit bulls. How many were large breeds vs. how many small breeds. I still feel like this is geared towards pit bulls and that is wrong in so many ways!

    I feel like this is going to open a can of worms for other small cities/towns to bring the same sort of legislation. It says they will be exempt if taunted. Let’s see how much truth that holds as well. This is bad law making right here!

  • Springdale Resident

    I think the intention of the council was good but the focus on this ordinance brought out existing problems in it as a whole. Springdale is a great place to live and continues to improve because of hard working people who care about their community and are willing to get involved. Because the city listened to their voices some changes were made but the entire ordinance was not reviewed which left some parts that will either not be enforced or cause further review to be necessary in the future. This is just a an issue that brings out passion in people and hopefully they will go back someday and correct some of the problems in the original ordinance while still leaving citizens protected from irresponsible animal owners which is why they brought up the revisions in the first place.

  • Concerned Citizen

    While the Council may have been ‘trying’ to appease the councilman whose dog was attacked, they forgot that the people are not stupid. Those who can put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4, can see what the future with this legislation will be. Think about it…the dogs who have been deemed ‘dangerous’ because they ‘attempted’ to bite will be held in the shelter until court date, right? After all if one person interpreted a dog running at them as an ‘attack’, even though the dog was just greeting them with tail wagging and tons of excitement, but after all it is only one person’s word against another. So…until the court can “JUDGE” who is telling the truth (may I say without EVER seeing the dog or having the dog behaviorly tested), the dog will have to sit in doggy jail. Each of these dogs fills on kennel at the shelter. Currently it’s several days before the court can hear the case. Soon it will be several weeks and in the meantime more dogs will be deemed ‘dangerous’ and put in doggy jail because they looked at someone who is scared to death of dogs and it was misinterpreted. Best case scenerio is there would be 10 dogs in doggy jail. Now…that 10 kennels less that the shelter has to place dogs that are brought in off the streets. This can (no exaggeration!) be 8 a day, and that is a very moderate count. They must be held (I think it is) 5 days before they can be adopted out. Say 1 owner a day claims their animal and it goes home and 2 or 3 get adopted after the 5 day hold. In one week that’s a FULL KENNEL of just dogs off the streets waiting to be adopted or owner claimed. However are the 10 ‘court’ dogs that would not have been there before this year so 10 spaces not available. So, every day from then at least 7 (lets make this moderate as well) dogs will have to be euthanized who would not have normally been euthanized. But those being ‘held for court’ can’t be removed, so it will have to be those gentle and sweet lost ones who will suffer. It is obvious (I remember hearing it said that some of those councilmen do not own dogs and would not own a dog)…so it is obvious that those councilmen do not view dogs as companions nor as one of Gods companion animals.

    This is rough counting, but it still ends the same regardless of how it’s counted.

    So…conclusion is that the Councilmen who voted for this legislation do not care that your dogs are being killed and they would like to see that most all dogs are killed because they don’t care for the animals anyway and it’s no skin off their back.

    When is the next vote for City Board Members?? PLEASE VOTE and see that those on the Council who voted this in (those good old boys) get voted out. After all the people of Springdale do have a choice!! Remember there are those 2 or 3 on the Council who are there for you…know who they are and make sure to keep them!!

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