by Tim Nelson
As you are aware the Lee County Board of Commissioners are working to pass a dangerous dog ordinance. I have contacted the Lee County administrator Mr. Rabun, Chairman Rick Muggridge and Commissioner Greg Fritch. Mr. Rabun assured me that the ordinance was not breed specific after his discussion with the county attorney. Chairman Muggridge was very quick to offer a flippant response and refuse to discuss the issue with a constituent. Finally I was able to have a conversation, well I call it a conversation, and he kept talking over me trying to explain that the intent of the law was not to affect any breed of dog.
When I presented these men with the facts they refused to listen, four cities and two counties in Georgia have enacted the same legislation and after passed animal control classified certain breeds of dogs as dangerous. Because of the stonewalling and failure to answer my simple questions without becoming irate it is clear the Lee County Commissioners are trying to push through ill-advised legislation by an attorney and administrator that have no understanding of how ordinances like this cost the citizens of the county more money than they collect.
To clear up this issue I am asking all the Commissioners to take a stand, and voice your concern over legislation which WILL be made breed specific by Animal Control and Code Enforcement. The easiest way to accomplish this it to simply eliminate the current vicious dog ordinance and simply administer current State Law. You refuse to take this road because it leaves the classification of dangerous dogs up to the State Legislature. The State legislature that currently refuses to classify any breed of dog as dangerous.
A solution I could work with is to amend the ordinance to stop a breed of dog from being classified as dangerous. This won’t occur however because it is the intention of the Chairman to make owning a pitbull cost prohibitive. He feels that the only people who own pitbulls are minority and lower income residents of Lee County and he feels that this will solve a problem Lee County has had for the last decade, minority and lower income families moving into and residing in Lee County.
The County commissioners have already made their mind up, they are going to follow Albany and Terrell County in passing this ordinance. Do you really want Lee County to resemble Terrell or the City of Albany? I was asked by commissioner Fritch why this ordinance impacts me and my response was simple, I do not feel that any dog breed is dangerous and by not specifically stating their intentions they are opening the door for breed specific regulation.
Should this ordinance pass I will work diligently to ensure every dog has their day in court in front of a jury, and the County will then be forced to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.