• December 18, 2014

Council members, candidates say Killeen should discuss policy after dog attacks

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 4:30 am

Dogs attacked people in Killeen three times since February, including a March 1 incident that left 2-year-old Raymane Camari Robinson Jr. dead.

Killeen City Council members, as well as candidates seeking election, agree it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone said she is no stranger to dog attacks. She was attacked last summer while walking her dog on her street.

“I’ve been following all of these attacks very closely,” she said. “It’s a real scary thing, and it’s something that concerns me a lot.”

Blackstone said city officials should discuss hiring more animal control officers.

“I would like to see us have some animal control people on duty after 5 p.m. and on the weekends,” she said. “That’s going to be one of the issues I bring up when we start talking about budgeting.”

Councilman Jonathan Okray, who chairs the Animal Advisory Committee, said the issue concerns him and he plans to put it on the committee’s May 15 meeting agenda.

“It’s something that we need to look at,” he said. “Three times in three months — is this a microcosm of something that’s happening or is there a bigger picture?”

Councilman Wayne Gilmore, who also sits on the committee, said the issue is “on everybody’s minds,” and the committee should examine it.

Councilmen Jose Segarra and Terry Clark both said the council needs to find a way to approach the issue so a solution can be found.

“I have to find out as a council member what we are allowed to do and what we cannot do,” Clark said. “I’m concerned, but what we are allowed to do versus what we want to do are two different things.”

Councilman Steve Harris said he believes the council needs to evaluate each situation and find out where the break in the system occurs.

“We know what happened in the instance where the dog ran out of the garage that was left open,” he said, referring to the attack that killed Camari. “With the latest (incident) of the three dogs attacking, I think we need to find out what happened there. We need to find where the break is in the owners keeping their dogs in their yards. Then we need to go back and look at what needs to be changed.”

Councilman Jared Foster didn’t return a call for comment.

Blackstone, Foster and Okray are seeking re-election May 10.

Municipal candidates

Candidates running for mayor and council at-large seats also shared their thoughts on how the issue should be approached.

Mayoral candidate Dick Young believes the city’s existing vicious dog ordinance needs to be re-examined. He said he reached out to Camari’s parents and offered them assistance.

“No child or person should walk the streets of Killeen or the sidewalks in their neighborhoods fearful of being attacked by a vicious dog,” he said. “I know that we are somewhat hampered by state law on what we cannot do, but maybe our enclosure laws are not as restrictive as they should be.”

Scott Cosper, also running for mayor, said the security of residents is “absolutely top priority.”

“It falls under the vicious animal ordinance, and we certainly need to be looking at that and reviewing it and looking for ways that we can improve that ordinance,” he said.

Mayoral candidate Hal Butchart said more focus should be put on owners, not the dogs.

“Trying to ban dogs based on their breed ... it’s an artificial standard,” he said. Some dogs are “trained to be aggressive” and “the owners should be punished.”

State law prohibits any municipality from implementing breed restrictions.

Council candidate Randy Doyle said the council needs to explore the issue but “it’s a tricky situation.”

“We need to do something tangible that will fix the problem with dogs running loose,” he said.

Council candidate Juan Rivera said he believes it all begins with the pet owner.

“Sometimes owners misuse animals and sometimes they treat them very gently,” he said. “It all begins with the pet owner. I do think that we can go back and examine the policy and see if there is something better we can do.”

Council candidates Gary “Bubba” Purser Jr. and Doris Mims-Owens could not be reached for comment.

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6 comments:

  • faded_glitter posted at 8:22 am on Tue, Apr 22, 2014.

    faded_glitter Posts: 5

    What you don't see on the Facebook page is that she blocks and deletes anyone who suggests ways to help that do not align 100% with her views, even when that suggestion is meant to be helpful and is made in a polite and respectful manner. She is not interested in effective and meaningful solutions -- it is propaganda pure and simple.

     
  • Eliza posted at 6:22 am on Mon, Apr 21, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 896

    In Bell County ,This should be put before the people to vote on.
    Too many are now ending up being badly injured or killed.

    Someone said earlier that a mussel OR leash for certain should be put on the dogs when out side.

    I have saw CHILDREN ,Allowed to be out and about this these specialty bred killers. And that's what they are 9Not due to their own fault, But bred that way by man) Children can not control these animals.

     
  • Eliza posted at 6:11 am on Mon, Apr 21, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 896

    @@@ These dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be fighters

    The above statement is the real point of many having the Pit Bull.
    They were being used for fighting even in this county.(along with chicken fighting) and Then There are those who think this type dog also make them look as tough and strong as their dog. If you notice, 'everyone' started showing up with a Pit Bull.
    These dogs wee breed to control other animals and as another person said to put on fights for the 'entertainment' of some people who are 'sick' enough to enjoy things like this.

    They do not need to be the family pet.
    They even have attacked their masters or the masters children.
    We have had several killings of small children and attacks on children and adults.
    These attacks have NOT been provoked !!!

    Who has more of a right to be on the public sidewalks of the country,
    Humans or beast?
    .

     
  • missbea posted at 7:19 pm on Sun, Apr 20, 2014.

    missbea Posts: 1

    These fighting/dangerous breed pets kill and maim so fast, how would putting on more AC officers, or having them work after 5 be able to prevent this? It is armed police that put a stop to most of these attacks anyway, with AC just taking the animal away on a catch pole. It doesn't matter how many Ac officers there are if the laws are set up to allow this to happen everyday. If nothing will be done to single out fighting breed dogs, then all dogs will eventually be restricted or eliminated in order to get rid of the them.

     
  • Marilynn posted at 9:18 am on Sun, Apr 20, 2014.

    Marilynn Posts: 1

    Watch the $ here. Pit bull advocacy groups have a lot of money and lobby for their agenda. Check who is donating to these candidates and see who they are more concerned about. The dog owners' rights or the safety of the citizens. It seems like a no brainer to me. People can still be dog owners, just pick a less dangerous breed. A breed that won't put some innocent victim in the hospital or the morgue. And don't believe their irresponsible rhetoric that all dogs are the same. Sure, they all bite and some bites may require a bandaid, but how many bites will be followed by multiple reconstructive surgeries? With the ACA in effect, we are all paying for the extensive medical costs, life flights, rehab costs, etc. Watch the $!!!

     
  • Eliza posted at 8:24 am on Sun, Apr 20, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 896

    Councilmen Jose Segarra and Terry Clark both said the council needs to find a way to approach the issue so a solution can be found.

    The people /tax payers have been led to believe for their payment of tax, they have the ultimate in protection .From the killings,the robberies, and the vicious dog attacks. This is not the truth.
    Now the citizen tax payer takes the chance on getting attacked at any moment by 2 or 4 legged animals in their homes or on the street .
    Meaning, there seems to be no safe environment for those who pay tax money to be so.
    Someone on the council always states when a bad situation happens , We are going to hire More police ,or now its more Animal Control, But when they are hired (if they are) they have to be out on the street ,where the danger and stray dogs may be. Not sitting inside an office building.
    I blame the main people in charge for this.