Etowah, TN

Discuss Breed Specific Legislation and local county laws on pit bull ownership.
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Etowah, TN

Postby heather » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:23 am

The alert for Etowah, TN with contact information for city officials can be found at the below link. I spoke with the city manager late Friday afternoon, and he confirmed this issue would be discussed at the Oct. 22 commissioners meeting. ... dy-passed/

Etowah Considers Banning Pit Bulls
By: Drew Bollea

People in one McMinn County town may soon lose their right to own Pit Bull Terriers.

The Etowah City Commission has approved the first reading of an ordinance to ban the breed inside city limits.

Philip Worley and Carolyn Santoni live just outside the city limits with a house full of animals. They already have six dogs and four cats and on Friday, they saved a pit bull from the pound and are excited to pick him up on Monday.

"He is a beautiful yellow coat, full blooded pit," said Worely, " He has pretty yellow eyes."

As pit bull lovers, Worley and Santoni are against a new law that the city of Etowah is proposing.

The ordinance states, that it would be unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog within the corporate limits of Etowah.

Basically, people who live there can't own a pit bull unless they already have one.

"They are taking everything out on one specific breed of dog," said Worley, "and it's not the dog's fault."

While the ordinance won't affect Worley and Santori, they're still speaking up.

"Do something with the owners," said Worley, "fine them."

"They should be screened first to make sure they are going to be able to provide the dog with a good home," said Santoni.

Worley believes its not the breed of dog that causes the issues, but the environment in which they're raised.

"If the owner makes them mean, then they're going to be mean," said Worley.

And while, their new pit bull will be welcome in the county, Worley and Santoni hope for future acceptance of the breed in Etowah.

We received no response after several attempts to contact the Etowah City Manager and Commissioners. The proposal must pass final reading October 22nd to go on the books. ... 2653.shtml

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Re: Etowah, TN

Postby heather » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:05 pm

Group fights pit bull ban

Category: LocalNews
Author: Jennifer Cathey

ETOWAH - A grassroots movement among several local pit bull owners is organizing to protest a proposed ban against the breed inside the city limits.
Stop the Ban, which was organized by Etowah resident Sherri Cooper, will host a \"Pit Bull Walk\" on Friday, Oct. 19, at the L&N Depot. The walk will begin at 5 p.m. Cooper said owners of all dog breeds are welcome to join the group against the ban.
\"We want to promote responsible dog owners; it\'s all in how you raise the dog,\" Cooper said, adding that her group is against any breed-specific legislation, or BSL.
The proposed pit bull ban was approved by the Etowah City Commission on a first reading at its Sept. 27 meeting.
If approved on its second reading, the ordinance would \"prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, the ownership, harboring, or possessing of pit bulls within the city of Etowah,\" and would give the city the ability to convict violating citizens of a civil offense and the citizen would \"be subject to the fine prescribed in the general penalty clause of the Etowah Municipal Code.\"
The ordinance does include a grandfathering system, meaning that current pit bull owners inside the city can keep their pets. However, anyone who currently owns a pit bull would be forced to purchase insurance on the dog and keep it confined to the house or kennel at all times unless it needed medical attention. A muzzle would be required for the dog to leave the house for medical attention.
The ordinance would apply to all American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, \"or any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of any one or more of the above breeds.\"
During that meeting, city officials said that they had been approached by concerned citizens who noticed pit bulls running after children.
Cooper said \"Stop the Ban\" is not in favor of any BSLs, but that laws promoting responsible dog ownership would be welcomed.
"We want them to track aggressive dogs. We want there to be punishment for repeat offenders. We don\'t want our kids to be fearful,\" Cooper said. \"But, it\'s (the dog owners) who are doing it, not the breed.\"
Cooper said the group would be attending the next scheduled meeting of the Etowah City Commission on Monday, Oct. 22, when the proposed ban will come up for its second reading. Cooper said the group is encouraging the commissioners to table the ban until they have the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about it and revise it.
Members of Stop the Ban are planning to meet at Mexi-Wing in Etowah at 5 p.m. before the City Commission meeting, which is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.
"We will have a representative from the group who lives inside the city speaking at the meeting,\" Cooper said.
City Manager Matthew Gravley said city leaders welcome those who want to have their voices heard during Commission meetings.
"This is a matter for the city and its residents,\" he said. \"I\'m glad for these civic participation of these groups; we welcome people to come and participate civically.\"

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Re: Etowah, TN

Postby heather » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:00 am

The Etowah, TN city council will consider an ordinance that strictly regulates the ownership of pit bulls tonight at 6:30 p.m. Council meetings are held at City Hall, located at 723 Ohio Avenue. The council previously voted to reduce the required readings of the ordinance from three to two, which means the ordinance could be passed tonight.

A grassroots effort against the proposed ordinance (Stop the Ban) has made great strides in raising awareness to their cause, and the positive media attention has added to the momentum of the group. ... t-strides/

If you are in the Etowah area, please make every effort to attend tonight's meeting to show your support for efforts of the group. A large turnout at the meeting will send a very strong message to the city council.

I will be taking the long drive to Etowah this afternoon, and I hope to see you there.


crossposted from bless the bullys

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Re: Etowah, TN

Postby heather » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:07 pm

I was present at Monday's meeting in Etowah, and details of the events of the night can be found at this link: ... ordinance/

There is also a poll along with the Times Free Press article asking if you agree with the ban. Please vote!

Etowah passes pit bull ban despite opposition campaign

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

The City Commission in Etowah, Tenn., approved an ordinance banning pit bulls by a 3-2 vote at its meeting Monday night, despite a campaign by pit bull owners against the measure.

The ordinance, which the City Commission already approved once in a first reading, singles out pit bulls as a particularly dangerous breed with a strong fighting and chase instinct. Some of the characteristics that make them dangerous, according to the ordinance, include a diminished tendency to warn they're going to attack, a tendency to "fight to the death" and to tear flesh "which has resulted in grotesque injuries to human victims."

Commissioners who voted for the pit bull ban were Mayor Jim Bull, Vice Mayor Matt Goodin and Commissioner Jim Swayne. Opposing the ban were Commissioners Dennis Morgan and Burke Garwood.

Under the ordinance, City Code Enforcement Officer Dave Mason said, "Any new dogs coming in are banned."

The ordinance grandfathers-in existing pit bulls. But owners would have to take a variety of steps, including registering animals with identifying photos, posting "beware of dog" signs, obtaining $100,000 in liability insurance, keeping the dogs muzzled on short leashes when outside of the home and keeping them confined indoors or in a locked pen or kennel at home.

Under the ban, any puppies born to registered dogs would have to be removed from city limits within six weeks.

Etowah resident Sherri Cooper led the campaign against the ordinance, including creating a Facebook page, "Stop Etowah TN from Banning Pit Bulls" that had 1,066 "likes" as of Monday afternoon.

"It's singling out one breed, and it's not a breed problem. It's how you raise your dog," Cooper said. "What this is, this is taking the good dogs and the good owners and it's punishing them."

She and her husband, Scott, own two pit bulls, Rocky and Sugar.

"They're just big babies," Cooper said.

Her pit bulls were playing with children and other dogs at a pro-pit bull walk in downtown Etowah on Friday night that Cooper helped organize.

"We had 30 dogs at the walk, most of them from town," she said.

Cooper hoped that, instead of banning pit bulls, the City Commission would approve an alternative ordinance that isn't breed-specific to pit bulls and applies restrictions only to dogs that are deemed vicious through a process spelled out in the ordinance.

While the proposed pit bull ban generated a lot of interest, the City Commission planned only to hear comments from four people -- two from each side of the issue -- to prevent Monday night's meeting from lasting for hours.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at or 423-757-6651 . ... n-despite/

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Re: Etowah, TN

Postby heather » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:43 pm

Citizens discuss dog ban

Category: LocalNews
Author: Jennifer Cathey

News Editor

ETOWAH - Concerned residents, panelists and city officials came together on Thursday evening at the Etowah Community and Wellness Center to discuss Etowah's Pit Bull ban.

Sherri Cooper, president of Stop the Ban, advised all those in attendance to keep their questions and answers polite and respectful to all speakers.

"This is an emotional issue," she said.

Jodi Preis, founder of Bless the Bullys and a paralegal, was invited to speak about her research on the issue of breed-specific legislation.

"The ordinance wasn't thought through," she said.

Preis suggested looking at cities such as Calgary, Canada, which, she said, had laws that were designed for "owners and not the dogs."

She added BSL enforcement can be difficult because it is not always possible to identify a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix on sight alone.

"A law is only as good as its enforcement,\" Preis said.

Etowah Commissioner Burke Garwood attended the meeting and also offered thoughts about the ban. He said as soon as the ordinance began costing the city money, he would continue bringing it up before the Commission.

"I'm the one who asked how much this would cost," he said.

Garwood, along with Commissioner Dennis Morgan, voted against the ban, which passed by a vote of 3-2.

Several in the audience said the ban was the result of "small town politics.\"

City Manager Matthew Gravley also answered questions from audience members about the ban. Most of those were centered on how the ban would be enforced, who is responsible for the enforcement and how long Pit Bull owners would have to comply with all the ban\'s requirements.

"It's up to the people in the community who have a problem (to contact city officials)," Gravley said.

The city manager added that there has been some good come from the new requirements - the number of dogs inside the city limits being registered has increased. All dog owners who live inside the city are required to register their dogs no later than Dec. 1.

"We want all the dogs inside the city to be registered," Cooper said.

Gravely said the city was still working to determine an adequate period of time to ensure that the city\'s current Pit Bull owners had time to comply with the new ordinance. Checklists with information about the ban were available at the town hall meeting.

Emilee Self, an Etowah resident, said she felt like her Pit Bull, Scout, was being punished.

"I love that dog to death," she said. "I also love children, and I would never have anything that would hurt a child."

"I feel safe with him," she added.

Self questioned whether it\'s fair to punish responsible dog owners for the breed they choose to own.

"It feels like I'm not being respected," she said.

The full text of Etowah\'s Pit Bull Ban can be read online at


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