Legislation filed to allow bans on certain dogs - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Legislation filed to allow bans on certain dogs

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

(KFVS) - New efforts are underway that would allow all southern Illinois communities ban certain breeds of dogs.  This comes as a young boy still recovers from a dog attack last summer. But not all appear in favor of the recent bill filed.

Some regulars stop by the Back Door Lounge in Hurst, which just opened. It's empty now, but a few months ago many filled the lounge to raise money for young Winston Bankston. Police say he was attacked by pit bulls while he played in the Bush city park.

"A lot of people, are just they, feel for the family naturally, for the little boy," said Robyn Hart, who works at the Back Door Lounge.   

The Village of Bush is just a few miles from Hurst. Police Chief Ronald Harvel says the attack shook his community. Since then, Harvel says they've stepped up enforcement of leash and other animal laws already on the books.

 "We've raised the fines from $40 to $150 and on a second violation of the animal being out of the animal owner's control results in the animal being taken," Harvel said.   

Harvel says they'd like to do more, but due to currently Illinois law the community can't ban certain breeds of dogs. Something State Representative John Bradley (D-Marion) wants to change.

"I don't want to see this kind of thing happen again in southern Illinois," Bradley said.

Bradley says right now only some communities in Illinois can ban breed specific dogs. But he wants to give that power to all towns regardless of their form of government.

"All we're trying to do is just give these local communities the ability to governor themselves and if a community wants take drastic steps, in order to protect their communities from vicious dog attacks, then we need to look as a legislator to give the local communities the ability to do that," Bradley said.  

Still at the Back Door Lounge not all agree a ban is the best way to solve the problem.

"I don't see how you can ban a specific dog it's like banning a specific person white or black," Hurst Resident Dale McIntyre said.  

"I'm a firm believer it's the way you raise you animals just like your children. It's how you treat them," Hart added.  

Bradley just filed this bill so it still has a long way to go before it becomes law.  But even it does become law, communities will still vote to ban a specific breed of dog.

Meanwhile, Bankston's family says his wounds are healing better than expected. They add, he's moving in the right direction toward recovery.

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