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Concerned resident seeks ban on pit bulls after attack at track

Concerned resident seeks ban on pit bulls after attack at track
Associate Editor
A Union City man wants the Union City council to ban pit bulls from the city.
Claud Billingsley told the Union City council Tuesday night he was walking his Labradoodle at the new walking track at Veterans Park recently when his dog was attacked by a pit bull.
As he recounted the story to the council, he said a woman walked up with two children and started talking to him. He said she then told him her dog wanted to play. As he turned around, he said he saw the pit bull coming at him full force and that’s when he grabbed up his dog. He said the first thing the pit bull did was go for his dog’s neck.
Billingsley said it is by the grace of God he did not have his dog shaved, as he had planned to do earlier, because all the pit bull got hold of was the Labradoodle’s fur.
He said the pit bull eventually knocked him down and he blacked out. He said when he came to, the male owner of the dog was on top of the pit bull punching him.
“Those dogs are vicious and don’t need to be running around town. They need to be in a pen,” he said, adding this is the third time his dog has been attacked by pit bulls.
Billingsley said he called the police department but was told they would only respond if he signed a warrant. He told the council he did not want to do that because if it weren’t for the actions taken by the pit bull’s owner, his dog might be dead.
Billingsley went to the emergency room to seek treatment for his injuries.
Councilman Johnny Bacon said something needs to be done and the city needs to make sure all dogs are on leashes. Mayor Terry Hailey said the city has a leash law.
City manager Kathy Dillon was concerned the police department did not respond.
“We have a leash law that needs to be enforced,” she said.
Billingsley said the dog may have been on a leash when it was on the other side of the pond.
The mayor said dogs not only need to be on leashes, but also under the control of their owners.
Ms. Dillon, who said the city has an ordinance which defines vicious dogs, asked Billingsley to meet with her and Police Chief Joe Garner to discuss the matter. She especially wanted to know which officer he spoke with, saying, “We need to make sure all are aware of how to interpret the ordinance.”
Billingsley said he was more concerned about banning the dogs from the park or at least making the owners have them muzzled.
Bacon and Hailey told him it would be unlikely the city would be able to ban the dogs. Hailey said the council has looked into it before, but was told the city could not specify specific breeds.
Councilman Bill “Rat” Harrison suggested the city erect signs at the park reminding pet owners to have their animals on leashes.
Bacon told Billingsley the city will pursue the matter.
Billingsley complimented the council on the park. “I appreciate the walking track. It’s a great place.”
While they were on the subject, Harrison said the facility is a “walking track, not a park” and wanted to know what the city could do about people bringing their grills out to the facility. He said there is the possibility of problems with grease and flies.
Hailey said grilling is allowed at other parks and Bacon said he has seen people with grills, but they have cleaned up after themselves and it has not been a problem. Bacon then suggested the city could have an area covered with rocks designated as a grilling location.
Councilman Danny Leggett added there need to be more trash cans located around the pond. The city manager said she has already talked with parks and recreation about purchasing matching trash cans. She added the trash cans will also be emptied more often.
Ms. Dillon said the council can make the park whatever it wants. “This is your opportunity to create a vision,” she said, reminding them the park isn’t even officially open.
Bacon asked about algae in the pond and said right now is the optimal time to treat it and do it efficiently.
After the meeting was opened in prayer by city attorney Jim Glasgow Jr., the council:
• Appointed Kathy Bacon to the Civic Auditorium Committee and decided to decrease, by ordinance, the number of people serving on the Personnel Advisory Board from five to three. There are currently two vacancies on the board and the terms of the remaining three will expire in 2013 and 2014.
• Rejected the two bids submitted for demolition of property at 604 North Division St. Ms. Dillon said a $4,495 bid from Autry’s Trenching did not include the appropriate workman’s comp insurance. The council appeared to be uncomfortable with the difference between Autry’s bid and the $7,000 bid from Scarborough Towing. Ms. Dillon said the workman’s comp insurance requirement is the difference in the bid, but the city would be liable should anything happen to an uninsured contractor. The demolition will be rebid.
• Took no action on entering into a standard agreement between A2H and Union City on behalf of Carey Counseling Arch and no action on entering into a Community Development Block Grant contract between the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and Union City. Ms. Dillon said there are still items which need to be worked out in the contracts. If the city can get the CDBG grant deadline extended until April 3, the council can vote on the matter at its next meeting. If not, the council may need to have a called meeting, she said.
The grant will help pay for a new building for Carey Counseling.
• Agreed to pay one-third of the cost of a well at Everett-Stewart Regional Airport, not to exceed $2,100.
• Was asked by Tony Maness to address flooding on his mother’s property on Bishop Street. He said he had asked for assistance under a previous council, but nothing was done.
Councilman Billy Jack “B.J.” Cranford told Maness he has tried several times to get the public works department to do something about the flooding. He added the water is directed into a ditch, but then it just sits there.
“I’ve done all I can do. No one seems to want to do anything about it,” Cranford said, adding it could be fixed, but would cost the city money.
Hailey told Maness the city now has a good public works department and the city will get them on it. That’s when Cranford said Public Works Director Steve Ladd has already looked at it.
Maness said he doesn’t want the council to tell him why they can’t do it, because the cost would be minor to some of the other projects in the city.
Hailey told Maness the city will check into it. Published in The Messenger 3.21.12