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Pit Bulls Targeted by New Dog Laws, Get Special Protections

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Effective January 2, 2015, dog owners in Lafayette, Tennessee, are facing some tough new laws designed to create responsible ownership. Included are special provisions required for ownership of pit bulls, which will protect the dog, as well as the public.

Tom Dallas, Animal Control Officer for the City of Lafayette told the Macon County Times, that approximately 70% - 90% of the dogs and cats he deals with are not vaccinated.  So that is where the new animal ordinance starts He emphasizes that all veterinarians in town offer this affordable service, which ranges from $10-$15.

PROVISIONS OF THE NEW/AMENDED ANIMAL ORDINANCES

Rabies vaccination and registration required for all dogs and cats.

Rabies shots must be administered by licensed veterinarian and are required annually, regardless of whether the cat or dog lives outside or inside.

Dogs MUST wear rabies vaccination tag at all times.

Cats do not have to wear tags, but owners must retain and maintain rabies documentation and provide to Animal Control upon request.

If you giving away an animal, it needs a health certificate or statement from a vet saying that it is in a good state of health; and you must get it rabies vaccination prior to making the transfer of ownership.

BASIC CARE AND ATTENTION TO THE NEEDS OF PETS

Pet owners must provide adequate food, water and shelter for the elements and extreme weather conditions.

The ventilation must be adequate and sufficient.

 Feed must be stored and kept in rat-proof and fly-tight building, box or receptacle.

CHANGES INCLUDE FARM ANIMALS

No horses, cows, hogs, swine, sheep, mules, goats, llama, emus, or any chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, or domestic fowl or livestock are to be kept within the corporate limits unless the property is zoned agriculture and contains five or more acres.

Such animals which were being legally kept as of the date of the adoption of the revised ordinances may remain until such time said animals are no longer kept on property.

NEW “POOPER SCOOPER” LAW

Animal waste must be removed.

 It is unlawful for the owner of any animal to allow the animal to leave a deposit of excreta on any public walks, recreation areas, public parks, other public property or private property without removing such excreta and disposing of it properly.

Persons must carry the means to collect/remove animal excreta on their person while walking animals off their property.

One of the exemptions allows private property where the pet owner lives to leave the excreta.

LEASH LAW/CONFINEMENT

All pets, including dogs and cats, inside the city must be on a leash, or contained within a cage, kennel or electronic fence system.

No animals may roam at large off the owner’s property.

ANIMAL LIMITS IMPOSED

Maximum number of animals is now limited.

If a pet owner lives on less than 1 ½ acres, he/she can only keep up to six total pets: dogs and/or cats.

 If a pet owner lives on greater than 1 ½ acres, they can keep up to ten total pets: dogs and/or cats, or the combination thereof.

PIT BULLS – SPECIAL LAWS

Pit bulls are defined as a “bull terrier breed of dog; Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog, the American pit bull terrier breed of dog.”

They also include dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds which are known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs, or pit bull terriers.

Also included as a pit bull is “any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds” of any bull terrier listed above.

All pit bulls must be registered with the Animal Control officer.

REGISTERING A PIT BULL

After January 2, 2015, you will need to contact Animal Control by calling the Lafayette Police Department to make an appointment to register your pit bull dog(s).

Upon completion of the registration application and verification of rabies vaccination, a physical inspection of the dog’s housing areas will be required to assure compliance and approval of the application.

 Details of the registration process are available by contacting the Animal Control Officer.

A pit bull may not be outside its kennel or pen unless it is on a leash with maximum length of 4 feet in length and wearing a basket type muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dog from biting.

All pit bulls must be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel. They must be locked with a key or combination lock.

The floor of the pen or kennel must be attached to the sides of the pen, or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two feet; and the enclosure must have a secure top.

Pit bulls may not be leashed to any inanimate object. When outside a pen or kennel the dogs leash, they must be in the direct control of a responsible adult at all times.

All pit bull owners must display a sign “Beware of Dog” or similar wording in a prominent place on their premises.

PHOTOS OF PIT BULLS REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION

In addition, owners of pit bulls must provide to the Animal Control Officer two color photographs of the dog, clearly showing the color and approximate size of the animal. (Animal Control will photograph the dogs at the time of registration so photos will not need to be provided by the owners.)

REPORTS REQUIRED TO RELOCATE PIT BULL(S)

If a pit bull is brought into the city, removed from the city, relocated within the city, or in event of its death, owners must report that in writing to the Animal Control Officer within ten (10) days of the event.

Pit bull owners must also notify the Animal Control Officer, in writing, of the birth of offspring of a pit bull, or the new address of a pit bull if you move within the city limits.

PIT BULL DOGS MAY NOT BE SOLD OR TRANSFERRED IN THE CITY

Pit bull dogs may not be sold or transferred between individuals within the corporate limits of the City of Lafayette.

After January 2, 2015, pit bull owners who fail to register their animals and or implement the required enclosure requirements within a reasonable time frame may be subject to citation for such failure.

Dallas states, “Any officer can enforce these laws.”

Any questions may be directed to the Animal Control Officer via the Lafayette Police Department.

Copies of the Animal Ordinances may be obtained at City Hall or from the Animal Control Officer.

They may also be found on the City of Lafayette website,

http://www.lafayette-tn.org/government/lafayette_municipal_codes/index.php

Sources: Macon County Times, Lafayette-TN