The Wellsville City Council voted 4-1 to keep an ordinance banning Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers from the city limits during its Wednesday meeting at city hall, 411 Main St., Wellsville. Councilmen Dave Edwards, Cory Cunningham, Jared Eggleston and Dave Rogers voted in favor of keeping the ban, with Mike McAfee the lone vote for dropping it.
Council members had discussed putting the issue on the ballot, but McAfee noted it would take 40 percent of the registered Wellsville voters signing a petition to make it happen. Bill Lytle, Wellsville mayor, said a ballot question also could be “fairly costly.”
The city’s pit bull ban dates back to 2004, Lytle said during the discussion, mentioning the city has not had an issue with it since then.
“It was a big enough problem that the citizens and the city council at that time felt it fitting to put that ban in,” he said. “I’m going to say this, animals have rights, but so do our citizens. They have the right to think that they can walk down a sidewalk safely. They have a right to ride a bicycle in town safely. They have a right to believe that they aren’t going to move in next to a dangerous animal. We haven’t had any problems since 2004.”
Lisa Roberts, rural Wellsville and registered veterinary technician, previously presented information to the council about breed-specific legislation during the council’s May 28 meeting, and was present to hear the council’s final decision.
“My point being is why are we targeting one breed?” Roberts asked.
McAfee asked Drew Spisak, licensed veterinarian at Wellsville Veterinary Clinic, 614 Main St., Wellsville, if it is in the breed’s nature to be vicious or if an owner is responsible. Spisak was among the crowd at city hall during the meeting.
Councilmen Edwards also spoke up during the meeting and said he had received calls from two or three Wellsville residents who were against removing the ban.
“I’ve heard all the arguments about how individuals have had peaceful [pit bulls], and that’s great, but can you say that accounts for a majority of the animals?”