BY ANN KELLEY •
Modified: April 16, 2010 at 6:12 am •
Published: April 16, 2010
/articleid/3454256/1/pictures/913251"> These partial pit bull terriers are being held at the Edmond animal shelter pending a hearing to determine whether they are vicious. PHOTO PROVIDED
In 2007, state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, tried to pass dog bite legislation that would have pet owners facing up to a year in prison and a minimum $10,000 fine if their dog attacked. While the legislation was not breed specific, Wesselhoft said then it was aimed at curtailing people from owning pit bulls.
The initiative failed, but in 2008 lawmakers passed a restriction that kept licensed pit bull breeders from kenneling dogs within 2,500 feet of a school. That law was prompted by the concerns of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Theresa, who oversee a Catholic elementary school near pit bull terrier breeder Kenneth Gonzales’ operation south of Oklahoma City.
On March 31, Gonzales lost his fight to keep the kennels when the state appeals court sided with the nuns, ruling Gonzales’ operation was not grandfathered in under the law because he was not licensed when it was passed.
Rush Springs and Del City are among the many cities in Oklahoma that have either discussed or passed ordinances to ban pit bull terriers from their city limits. The cities threw out their ordinances when the Legislature determined breed-specific bans were unfair, but encouraged cities to tighten vicious dog ordinances.
Edmond in 2006 revised its animal ordinances and included a section on vicious animals.
The ordinance defines a vicious animal as any animal that unprovoked is a threat to people or other animals. An unprovoked animal is one that is not abused, teased or tormented, or protecting its owner’s property.
Christy Taylor said Otie and Fergie did injure the dachshund when they escaped from their yard. She thinks the dogs may have been protecting her children from the smaller dog that was in its front yard with its owner, Taylor said.
Edmond City Attorney Steve Murdock said if deemed vicious, the judge can impose several restrictions rather than euthanizing the animals.
The Taylors can be fined up to $500 and required to pay all impound fees. They could be required to confine the dogs to a locked kennel, and muzzle and leash them when out, the ordinance states.