- Associated Press - Monday, May 29, 2017

CARAWAY, Ark. (AP) - A Caraway man is trying to help families and dogs affected by the city’s upcoming pit bull ban.

Help Caraway Pit Bulls is trying to find homes for pit bulls before a citywide ban goes into effect on June 5. The group was started by Caraway resident Tim Knott in an effort to keep the dogs from being destroyed after the city council on May 11 deemed them dangerous.

“I have always had a passion for pit bulls,” Knott said. “I’ve had pit bulls my whole life. No animal of mine has ever been put down for an attack. I’ve never had my animal attack another animal. There is a need, so I am doing what I can.”

The most unfair aspects of the Caraway ordinance, Knott told the Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/2qUgZbX ), are that it was apparently based on only a few incidents and it does not allow responsible owners - those whose animals have not caused any problems - to keep their pets.

“I understand the Caraway residents have a problem with owners letting their dogs get out and not keeping them contained,” Knott said. “There is more than likely one or two dogs that have done that, but it makes the whole breed look bad. And they have a stigma about them - a bad public image.

“But with this ordinance, the way I see it being unfair is that they are not allowing any dogs be grandfathered in,” he added. “That is the main thing that I am seeing as unfair. There is no exception to the rule.”

Knott has been working with local shelters and individuals in an effort to keep the dogs from being impounded and destroyed. On Monday he was driving a family of pit bulls to a home in West Memphis.

“I literally just dropped the dogs in off in West Memphis - three pit bull puppies three months old and one pit bull mamma,” Knott said. “They just needed help, so, so far we have been able to help four dogs and one family.”

After a stay in Minnesota where he helped abused or neglected farm animals recover and find homes, Knott returned to Caraway to be closer to family and learned residents were being forced by the city to surrender their pets.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping them,” Knott said. “I volunteered with the West Memphis Animal Shelter before, and I saw how bad it was with animals being abused, mistreated and having to find homes - passive, friendly animals having to be put down because there was no home for them to go to.”

City officials said the ban was needed after a Caraway boy was attacked in April while riding his bike near the intersection of Kentucky Street and Lynn Avenue. Police Chief Pete Hicks on Monday said every time there was a dog-related incident in the past year in Caraway, a pit bull was the culprit.

“Every time its happened here the last year or so, everybody who’s been jumped on by a dog or bit by a dog, it’s been a pit bull,” Hicks said. “People say they are going to keep them in their house and everything, but every time one of them open the door, it comes out on somebody.”

When asked to provide incident reports on all pit-bull related attacks in the city in the past six months, two were provided.

Police completed an incident report April 9 after a 6-year-old girl was bitten on Lynne Street. However, the bite did not break the skin and medical attention was not sought. The dog was impounded for 10 days and returned.

An April 9 report detailed the young man riding his bicycle when he was bitten. The young man’s family did not call emergency medical services or take him to the hospital, but instead sought treatment at a doctor in Jonesboro. The dog in that case was also impounded for 10 days and returned.

The Caraway ordinance determines pit bulls to be any “Bull, Staffordshire, American Pit Terrier or any mix of those.” Under the new ordinance, the animal control officer will determine if a dog satisfies the definition of being a dangerous animal.

Hicks said after June 5, anyone caught with a pit bull will be issued a summons and the dog taken to the pound.

“If we see the dogs, they will be issued a citation,” Hicks said of the owners. “We are not going to actively go to their house and start knocking on doors or anything like that, but if we find out you have a pit bull, you will receive the citation.”

If found in possession of a pit bull or dangerous animal, the ordinance states residents could face a maximum $2,500 fine or 90 days in jail. Impounded animals can be destroyed after five days under the new ordinance.

“The dog will be taken probably,” Hicks said. “Then they have five days to show proof of where they are taking it to get it out of city limits.”


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide