Williston residents speaking up on pit bull dog ban

Local News

According to dogsbite.org, from 2005 to 2019 pit bulls killed 346 people in the U.S.

But a few dog lovers and owners are speaking out in support of them.

KX News spoke with them Thursday as they voiced their concerns and discussed steps to possibly make a change to a 30-year-old dog law.

“This ban is old, it’s dated, it’s very misguided and a lot of misinformation provided,” resident Joe Uzdavinis said.

“It is very discriminatory,” resident Brandy Suckley said.

Under the city of Williston ordinances, it is illegal to own or in any way possess a dog that appears to be a pit bull or a predominant pit bull mix.

“Like this dog right here, by the appearance, it is 100% legal, by appearance. By the DNA makeup, it is 100% illegal by the ban,” Suckley said.

Suckley and other community members believe the rules are unfair and fuel a negative stereotype against one breed of dog.

“They’re basing it off of looks not off of the actions. There are also a lot of dogs in this town and throughout Williams County, pit bulls, straight up 100% purebreds that are absolute babies. They don’t have a mean bone in their bodies,” Uzdavinis said, which is why they’ve decided to take a stand.

“This petition, so far, we’ve been going around and have collected within the last week, probably about 800,” resident Jyl Labertson said.

Their course of action is to collect as many signatures of those who oppose these rules by Aug. 30, then present that number along with their reasonings to the city to possibly have this ban removed.

“I hope what they do is repeal the BSL in an act that’s more reasonable towards an aggressive dog act that is breed-neutral,” Labertson said.

“You can’t just put it on one type of breed you should be just holding bad owners responsible for bad dogs,” resident Rebekah Peer said.

There are already a few places across the state that have lifted pit bull bans, like Berthold, which Chief Officer Al Schmidt of the Berthold Police Department helped remove.

“We came to an agreement that this was the best way to prevent danger to our citizens is to look for and note aggressive dogs instead of just picking dogs that resemble or look a certain way and just plucking them away from their families,” Schmidt said.

Community members say they just hope anyone listening does a little research before assuming.

“Look up the stats. Look up other cities that have appealed their bans and see that it’s not about the breed,” Uzdavinis said.

The group says they will continue to collect signatures and gather support as best they can in order to be ready for the Aug. 30 deadline.

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