Savannah City Hall explores violent dog petition and ordinance

Published: Jul. 28, 2011 at 9:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2011 at 11:40 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The City of Savannah is taking a long hard look at a possible violent animal ordinance, specifically meant for dogs.

Last week, WTOC first told you about a Savannah woman who marched into city hall with a petition in hopes of getting tougher restrictions on dog owners.

The city manager, legal counsel and the city clerk are all studying the petition, which focuses on not just pit bulls but all breeds.

The woman, Cheryl Labon,  ran into city manager Rochelle Small-Toney in the lobby of city hall last week and hand delivered a petition with a thousand signatures supporting a tougher ordinance. One of the requests is for all dogs in certain downtown areas be muzzled. Another issue is for certain breeds to be registered with neighborhoods.

This all stems from an attack earlier this month involving two pit bulls who attacked 7-year-old Javon Roberson on a playground, leaving him hospitalized for several weeks and undergoing operations to save his life and repair his face.

Mayor Otis Johnson says city council will wait for a recommendation from the city manager and then they will discuss the possible ordinance as a council. However, he already has some strong opinions on the matter.

"From the beginning I believe owners have a responsibility for their dogs and when dogs cause harm like this pit bull did to this young man, there should be some consequences to that," Mayor Otis Johnson, City of Savannah, told WTOC.

Small-Toney spoke with WTOC briefly Thursday morning and said she would not be addressing the issue with council until her team has had a chance to take a closer look at the petition and possible ordinance.

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