MEAD, OK-We told you last week about one Oklahoma senator who wants to allow communities to ban certain breeds of dogs. If passed, cities could prohibit any breed they consider dangerous.
Mead residents are still shaken nine months after 92-year-old James Hurst was attacked and killed by two pit bulls in his front yard. Monday night, one of Hurst's neighbors tell us this bill could help prevent tragic incidents like the death of his friend, but there's also another issue that needs to be addressed.
Levi Duncan will never forget seeing his friend attacked by two pit bulls last April.
"I was with him when he passed and them two dogs actually eat him," he said.
Duncan said it's not any one breed of dog that poses the biggest safety issue. Any dog can be dangerous and there are plenty of them running loose in their community.
"Yeah we have a lot of dogs that do run loose in town, but that's basically the problem. They just don't put them up, they just let them go," he said.
Neighbors, Robert Cowan and Earl Boone, agree.
"That lady who lives behind us over here, they had her pinned up here in the corner. I was working my shop over here so I had to go down there and help her to get the dogs away from her," said Boone.
Oklahoma State Senator, Patrick Anderson, is proposing to pass a bill that allows cities and communities to ban any breed of dog they believe is dangerous.
Cowan thought the proposal could help.
"Yes, I definitely do depending on the type of dog they want to ban. It's okay with me," he said.
But Duncan said it's not a solution.
"I don't really feel that banning a breed of dog will serve the purpose of what the problem is, you know what I'm saying? I mean you get rid of one breed of dog, another breed will come in so it's all the same," he said.
"I know prevention is what's being aimed at with the ban, but I think if we prevent to just ban a breed but don't prevent the behavior. I don't think we're gonna get where people hope we're gonna get with that."
Oklahoma Spay Network's Ruth Steinberger said the dog's behavior is a result of how they are treated.
"There are certain breeds that are very disproportionately involved in these incidents. But then again they don't generally come out of the clear blue. They're very often dogs that are themselves victimized," she said.
And Boone agreed.
"It's the owners that are responsible for their dogs and owners around here need to start to be responsible for their pets. And that's what happened to Mr. Hurst, they weren't keeping their dogs contained which we have a city ordinance but we don't have law enforcement to enforce it," he said.
"I think we can create a more humane environment by banning tethering, mandating spay neuter and dealing on the prevention side," said Steinberger.
The proposed senate bill is an Emergency Bill, which means that if it's approved by lawmakers and signed by Governor Mary Fallin, it becomes law immediately.
Oklahoma's legislative session starts February 4th.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 54th Legislature (2013)
SENATE BILL 32 By: Anderson
An Act relating to municipalities; authorizing governing boards of incorporated municipalities to restrict ownership of any breed of dog by citizens within municipal limits; providing for codification; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:
SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 22-115.2 of Title 11, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
Any incorporated municipality of this state may upon approval by its governing board, restrict the ownership of any breed of dog by citizens residing within the limits of the municipality.
SECTION 2. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.