It looks like we've diverted back to the 1950s in Little Rock this week. On May 20, the city of Little Rock began enforcing its breed specific legislation that requires all owners of "pit bull" type dogs to license (at a $150 fee), microchip, vaccinate, spay/neuter their dogs, and keep them confined by a fence or in a structure. In part because of the high cost of compliance (the first year cost was going to run in the neighborhood of $400, assuming you already had the fencing), the city didn't get a lot of people to register. So now, the animal control department is going door to door looking for "pit bull" dogs -- with the police and media in tow.
Meanwhile, it doesn't look as if they are exactly following the proper legal procedure to do this. If you watch the video in the upper right corner on this link you can see the animal control officer with his media posse out confiscating dogs. At the very end of the clip, they show a house that they had just confiscated a dog out of the back yard, however the reporter says they saw three more dogs inside, but didn't have the authority to confiscate them. Well, did they have a warrant or not? Just because the dog is in the back yard where police can access them, does NOT mean that they have the authority to confiscate the dog without a warrant. And if they had a warrant, they would have been able to seize all the dogs (depending on how the warrant was written). Seems like someone isn't following the illegal searches and seizures polices set forth in our Constitution.
I've got to say, I'm just stunned at the amount of resources that are going into enforcing this stupid law. Police, aninmal control and a media circus surrounding the seizure of these dogs -- most of which don't appear to be a problem (even if several of them aren't kept as well as I'd prefer). Meanwhile, they show video of these "potentially dangerous" dogs happily wagging and greeting enforcement officers, strangers, and people with video cameras as they come onto the dog's property? THIS is what we're "protecting" people from?
Meanwhile, in other Arkansas News, apparently the Helena/West Helena mayor decided that their animal control facility was in such bad shape that he felt the dogs would be better off living in the nearby national forest than in the animal shelter. So the mayor turned 10 dogs loose into the National Forest to fend for themselves. What!?!?! One commenter notes that dumping animals is considered animal cruelty in the State of Arkansas...wonder if the good mayor gets brought up on felony animal cruelty charges...