Emotions Run High During Second Animal Hearing
The second public hearing conducted by the Animal Control Working Group was cut short Thursday evening.

The group was formed under the direction of previous Mayor Sal Garza after the tragic death of 7-year-old Ryan Maxwell - who was killed by a pit bull earlier this year.

Many of the same individuals were present for the first hearing were also in attendance Thursday night for the second hearing where issues surrounding current enforcement, the possibility of new ordinances, and personal stories was discussed.

The meeting was abruptly ended after Maxwell's Grandfather, Tom Mead, explained what he thought was the perfect murder and then proceeded to throw a stack of papers against the wall.

"If I want to get rid of a person I don't like: kill them, get rid of them, this is what I'd do," says Mead. "I'd go down to the humane society, pick me up a pit bull, chain him up in my backyard, not feed him for three or four days, invite that guy over, put him in my backyard and introduce him to that dog and let that dog rip him apart."

For less than an hour, speakers and task force members alike showed their frustrations.

13 individuals in total, with a few repeat speakers, addressed the task force Thursday night.

Among the current, and past, discussion has been the possibility of introducing a breeder's ordinance for consideration. Resident Ned Anderson says dogs should not be chained up for extended periods.

"I think that we should not allow breeding in the City unless they are a licensed breeder, registered with the City or a kennel," says Anderson. "That way you can get some control over these pit bulls, and over other dogs, that are being bred for, quite frankly we understand, it's money."

Enforcing the current ordinances was, yet again, a point of concern for many residents who addressed the task force members. Rick Hulick, who spoke to the group, says the City isn't just experiencing a pit bull problem.

"If people are protecting these vicious dogs, then why are they serving on these committees and allowed to conduct decisions and investigations when they don't really have the criteria to do that?" says Hulick.

Comments regarding the enforcement of current ordinance were so consistent throughout the meeting that animal control officers began to defend themselves and their work.

The Animal Control Working Group will be holding another meeting in the next two weeks to review the comments made by the public and perform their own research.

The task force is made up of City representatives, animal care providers, as well as City and County law enforcement.

Group members will be conducting research on vicious animal attacks and comparing notes with neighboring communities before making a recommendation to the City Council.

A proposal is expected in the next three months.
05 16 13 by Newsroom
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