The work session began with a discussion between the City Council and Police Chief. The Council had some questions for the Police Chief about citations and staffing.
Community Development Director Mark McGrath introduced the Strategic Planning Process. The Council will be meeting for a retreat on Nov. 19, 2011. At the beginning of the year, that process will be opened up to the public to spell out the priorities for the city. The Strategic Plan articulates the city's priorities and helps elected officials decide which projects, goals, and objectives should receive funding and identifies time frames.
Kelly Davis from the Taylorsville/West Valley Animal Services alliance gave his quarterly report. Several council members asked Mr. Davis on items such as response time, phone process, and whether they give West Valley priority over Taylorsville. Mr. Davis spoke about some recent Pit Bull calls.
Layne Morris, West Valley City Community Preservation Director, gave a presentation on K9 Breed Specific Restriction. He started by giving a history of bull-baiting and selective breeding.
About half the dogs in the shelter are Pit Bulls. U.S. dog bite fatalities from 1979-1998 show that 32 percent are Pit Bulls and 18 percent are Rottweiler.
Other breeds cause greater damage when they bite (Akita, Chow, Wolf Hybrid). Pit Bull bite strength is similar to those of other large dogs. The notion that pit bulls have a locking jaw that keep them from letting go, is not true.
Currently in Taylorsville they estimate there are 13,000 dogs, but only 2,800 dogs are actually licensed. Between 2008-2011 there were 603 dog bites that were reported to the Taylorsville/West Valley Animal Shelter from both Taylorsville and West Valley City. At least 19 percent of bites were from Pit Bulls and 15.3 percent were Labrador bites.
Some of the options Mr. Morris presented as possibilities were a) an outright ban, b) legal declaration of "vicious" and things like higher license fees, mandatory spay/neuter, mandatory microchip, fence, sign, etc., c) ownership restrictions - ownership prohibition for convicted felons, prohibition from public areas, d) require conditions for public presence (muzzle or chain, AKC canine good citizen test, etc), or e) limit the size of a dog by pounds.
For information on both sides, you can visit this website which is against Pit Bulls or this one that is for Pit Bulls.