Brent alone in his stand to protect Yazooans
Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. appears to be the only elected official in Yazoo City with the courage to address the issue of the threat of pit bulls in this community.
Ineffective politicians are often reluctant to act on issues that might upset some of their constituents. This is one of those issues.
Much like walking around with your pants hanging halfway to your knees, having a mean looking pit bull on a chain has become an increasingly obnoxious trend. The obvious difference is that sagging pants are just offensive and gross. Pit bulls can (and may) hurt or even kill you.
Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at some recent headlines:
Aug. 28, 2012
“Vicious pit bull attacks on two children in separate incidents spark calls for a ban.”
– British Columbia
Aug. 27, 2012
“Deputies say an 84-year-old man was injured when a pit bull attacked him while he was mowing his lawn. Julius Arwich had dog bites on the head, neck, arms and legs and lost a tremendous amount of blood during the attack.
– Cheifland, Fla.
Aug. 7, 2012
“A pet owner was arrested after his off-leash pit bull dog attacked a U.S. Park Police officer’s horse at Crissy Field.”
– San Francisco, Calif.
June 15, 2012
Eight-year-old Ymanii Wright, badly mauled last month by a pit bull in the Old Hill neighborhood, returned to school last week for the first time since the horrific attack. She required more than 400 stitches to close wounds on her arms and legs and endured hours of surgery following the attack
– Springfield, Mass.
May 15, 2012
A woman walking with her daughter was attacked by three pit bulls. The mother stood between her daughter as the animals bit her lower body.
– Riverside, Calif.
April 26, 2012
Sitting on her grandmother's couch nine days after a pit bull attacked her on the street and bit her more than 100 times, 8-year-old Lyric Jones breathed deeply and hung her head. She recalled how fearful she was that the dog would kill her.
– Convington, La.
This is just a sample of news items. There are many, many more.
I pray that there is never a news article like one of these in The Yazoo Herald, but the odds are that there will be.
There is a serious problem in this city with pit bulls that are not adequately secured. We’ve had to deal with the problem of a pit bull running loose right here on our own doorstep. Numerous others have complained about close calls. Our city leaders know the problem exists, but they have failed to take action.
City attorney Sarah O’Reilly Evans brought examples of ordiances from other cities months ago that offered reasonable measures to protect the public. All the board had to do is copy the parts of those ordinances that they liked.
A good ordinance would simply set guidelines that would protect the public. Requirements on the type of pen or fencing are clear needs, and I suggest adding a liability insurance requirement.
People who want to own dogs that have a reputation for being dangerous should have to assume the responsibility of protecting their neighbors.
So far that’s been too much to ask in Yazoo City.
When it came time to speak up for the people on Monday, Mr. Brent was the only one who found his voice.