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TX: Justin's Law-Banning Pit Bulls in TX and Nationally

Discussion in 'Breed Specific Legislation' started by Vicki, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Article published Jul 2, 2009

    Posted onThursday, July 02, 2009

    Protesters Find Officials Receptive To Plea For Stronger Dog Control Laws

    Staff Writer

    HENDERSON -- Impelled by a recent fatal attack on a 10-year-old boy by two vicious pit bull dogs, friends and relatives of the victim began a drive Wednesday for state and national legislation banning pit bull dogs.

    Approximately 60 to 70 people upset over two pit bulls mauling to death Justin Clinton as he skateboarded on his way to a friend's house in Leverett's Chapel conducted a "Justice for Justin Rally" on the Rusk County Courthouse steps and lawn.

    They carried signs and wore T-shirts displaying various messages, such as "What If It Was Your Child?" and "Outlaw Pit Bull Dogs."

    Shortly afterward, many crowded into a special meeting of Rusk County Commissioners Court and spilled over into a hall. They found county officials receptive to their pleas for steps toward enacting stronger dog control laws even though the officials did not do all that the protesters asked.

    Citing restrictions in existing laws, county and district attorney Michael Jimerson advised the county judge and commissioners they could not specifically ban pit bulls at this time. "I can't find any authorization that would authorize you to say this breed is prohibited in Rusk County," Jimerson told them.

    Under state law, a municipality or commissioners court may adopt ordinances that require dogs to be restrained by their owner.

    They can adopt leash laws for portions of the county without a popular vote and not the whole county, Jimerson said in answer to a question from commissioners. An election would be required to approve a law requiring registration of dogs, particularly dangerous dogs, and liability insurance by their owners, the county attorney also advised.

    Family members and friends of the boy killed by pit bull dogs a couple of weeks ago asked for a countywide leash law and submitted petitions bearing approximately 200 to 300 supporting signatures, some of people residing outside the county.

    The commissioners court instead unanimously adopted a leash law for the Airport Garden Ranchettes in the Elderville community, effective in 30 days, which had been under consideration for several months since residents there complained of aggressive dogs.

    Commissioners asked supporters of the boy who was killed in the recent pit bull dog attack to draw proposed boundaries for a leash law strictly for the Leverett's Chapel area that the court may consider enacting in the near future.

    Before commissioners can act on a leash law for Leverett's Chapel, a public hearing will have to be held to give opponents and anyone else an opportunity to speak on the issue, the county officials said.

    In a further, broader move acceding to a request by an attorney representing the family of the Leverett's Chapel youngster, the county judge and commissioners ordered a resolution placed on the agenda for an upcoming meeting that will ask the state Legislature and U.S. Congress to ban pit bull dogs in the state and nation.

    The attorney, Cynthia Stevens Kent, a former Smith County judge, commended Rusk County officials for immediately responding to the difficult pit bull dog issue within bounds of the law.

    Urging them on behalf of the boy's family to adopt the resolution and take the lead in the country against pit bull dogs, Ms. Kent asserted the way to protect children from them is to ban that breed.

    Approximately five million dog bites are reported per year in this country, with more than 40 percent of severe bitten victims being helpless children under the age of 11, Ms. Kent said. Although there are at least 150 breeds of dogs in the U.S., one third of all dog bites are caused by pit bulls, she added.

    Since 2006, there have been more than 15 fatalities from dog bites in Texas and 80 percent were caused by pit bull attacks, according to the attorney.

    "Justin is a perfect example of why it is important that commissioners, city councils, the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress look at this issue and ban pit bull dogs," Ms. Kent said, describing the attack on Justin as an "an incredibly senseless tragedy, 100 percent preventable."

    The fourth-grader and member of the Kilgore boy's baseball All Star Team was expecting a summer of fun when pit bull dogs killed him and dragged his body down the road until a Good Samaritan beat the dogs off his body, Ms. Kent said.

    The boy's family wants justice and "Justice for Justin means changing the law and how we think about animals we keep in our homes," the attorney maintained. "We are going to be asking commissioners courts around the state, city councils around the state, the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress to take a giant step to protect these children (and) ban pit bulls because this is a nationwide problem. It's not just in Leverett's Chapel and Rusk County," Ms. Kent said.

    They contacted U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, who is looking at the issue and has agreed to meet with them.

    They want new state and national legislation banning pit bulls to be known as "Justin's Law."

    The boy's mother, Serenia Clinton, said, "I want justice for my son. I want these dogs banned, but I also want people to realize how bad these dogs are, how immediately they can turn on you. They don't have to be provoked. It was just an innocent child that wanted to play was all it was."

    Her husband, Kevin Clinton, added, "We hope to get a start today and we hope to finish up by getting them outlawed completely."

    Just having a leash law does not always take care of the problem of vicious dogs, county Judge Sandra Hodges said. The attorney agreed, pointing out there have been cases where a pit bull dog broke loose from a leash and mauled a child. Although it is controversial, Ms. Kent said she hopes that through legislation and court action, pit bull dogs will be defined as dangerous dogs and banned.

    Municipalities have more authorization than counties with regard to ordinances and a number of cities including Tyler and Richardson have enacted ordinances dealing with dangerous animals, Ms. Kent said. "It's been contested and upheld that they do have authority to protect people in their municipality."

    Judy Rothrock, who spoke in favor of the leash law for the Airport Gardens and Airport Gardens Ranchettes area in Elderville, said signatures on a petition seeking the law represented 76 of the 116 homes in the community.

    The signers were concerned about dogs running loose and chasing residents, Ms. Rothrock said, describing several cases.

    The leash law is a start to help protect communities, she said. "If people refuse to take responsibility for their pets � then for the protection of all we need at least an adequate and enforceable leash law," Ms. Rothrock asserted.

    No one spoke in opposition to the leash law.


  2. CoolHandJean

    CoolHandJean Krypto Super Dog

    RIP to Justin, and prayers to his family.

    As for the BSL, if this goes national, I have no clue what I will do.
    Where is another good country to live? I want to keep my guns and my dogs. Grrr.

    It's up to you Texans to fight this, and we will help you the best we can as well! If anyone can stop this, it's the Texans.
  3. Galadriel

    Galadriel Good Dog

    Leash law, YES!!!! Punishment and enforcement for irresponsible owners (of ALL breeds) DOUBLE YES! Ban dogs based on their breed? HELL NO!
  4. ronaldrose

    ronaldrose Little Dog

    rip justin. i gotta agree with the 2 previous post.
  5. APBTlover09

    APBTlover09 GRCH Dog

    RIP justin and prayers to family.

    i agree with ya'll. i will seriously blow up if this goes nationally. :(
  6. Miakoda

    Miakoda GRCH Dog

    Uhhh.....those dogs were NKC registered American Bulldogs! How about getting the facts straight before a bunch of blind, stupid folks go ranting and raving about banning pit bulls!

    Kind of like how in Louisiana 3 Boxers killed a 4-yr-old boy so now people want a statewide ban on all pit bulls. WTF?
  7. Galadriel

    Galadriel Good Dog

    It's becoming all too common. Every medium sizes, short haired dog with any sort of square jaw is a pit bull, even if there's proof that it's no more pit bull than a toy poodle.
  8. Elliehanna

    Elliehanna GRCH Dog

    I hope it does not go national, I know that the SPCA is totally against BSL so I hope they speak up. I also think we should do something to help like maybe an in depth description of the breed in front of our legislators or something before this has a chance to go national, and all the news stories that are good about the breed, and maybe even all the gange info about how they used and abuse them to prove its not the breed its the owners. I think if we sit around talking about it to long and do not get heard by the right people it will be to late.
  9. APBTlover09

    APBTlover09 GRCH Dog

    ditto!! :mad: this make me soo f**king angry! what a bunch of dumbasses! :mad:
  10. Pennsooner

    Pennsooner Little Dog

    They try a national ban it will be over my dead body. I'd do a hunger strike.
  11. simms

    simms Good Dog

    I thought I read in another thread on another board that the boy had let these dogs out of their yard. When he tried to put them back into the yard that's when he was mauled? Correct me if I'm wrong here.... Those parents should be looking at child endangerment charges if that's the case. It's always easier to be the one that points the finger.

    Poor kid! I hate that, that happened regardless of the breed or type.
  12. newpupmama

    newpupmama Puppy

    To Justins family my deepest sympathy.BUT, I don't agree with a Ban of the Breed .I will do my part as a Texan ,a voter and proud APBT owner to ensure that this does not happen.To all the other Texans out here I encourage you to do the same to protect our beloved family members!
  13. Jeira

    Jeira Puppy

    RIP Justin.

    I have a real problem with the following quote FROM THE MOTHER:

    "The boy's mother, Serenia Clinton, said, "I want justice for my son. I want these dogs banned, but I also want people to realize how bad these dogs are, how immediately they can turn on you. They don't have to be provoked.
    It was just an innocent child that wanted to play was all it was."

    Wanted to play?
  14. APBTlover09

    APBTlover09 GRCH Dog

  15. Jackson115

    Jackson115 Little Dog

    I wondered about that as well. More to the story on what he was doing with the dogs I'm thinking...

  16. APBTlover09

    APBTlover09 GRCH Dog

  17. Kane's momma

    Kane's momma Puppy

    RIP Justin... you are in my prayers
    If this really happens i dont know what i'll do....they will have to admit me into the nut-house...
    I 2 think there is more to the story w/ the boy wanting to play, the parents obviously weren't around...
    What i don't understand is why do they want to punish the good owners and dogs that dont do anything wrong! And how sum1 who's never owned 1 can say what they will and won't do!:mad:
    I live in Texas, but dont know what to do as far as trying to speak up and to who?....if any1 can tell me plz tell me what i can do to help....:(
  18. Mollie's Nana

    Mollie's Nana Krypto Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I agree completely.... it's a sad thing for this kids family, but where are the idiots that can't identify a dog correctly and put all of us in jeopardy of losing our dogs due to incorrect identification and ignorance. :mad:
  19. Deniselynn

    Deniselynn Banned

    Any updates?
  20. T-Bone

    T-Bone Puppy


    Well I live in texas and we just got a baby, T-Bone so this does concern me. I think its a combination of irresponsible owners and closeminded people who know nothing about the breed they are trying to condemn. I will be watching for more info to see if there is anything I can do in my area. Thanks for the info.

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