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Pit-bull issue elicits strong emotions
Hinesville officials considered banning owners of pit bulls from having them in the city after attacks on children in the area, but have since dropped the idea. - photo by Stock photo

A proposed ordinance to ban pit bulls in Hinesville was among 38 issues considered by city leaders during their recent planning workshop, but it quickly was shot down by all five council members, Mayor Jim Thomas and other city officials.
But despite being reported in the Courier’s Sunday edition that the proposal was rejected, Sherry Strickland, secretary for Thomas and City Manager Billy Edwards, responded Monday to several calls and at least one visit by a local resident about pit bulls.
“I’ve had several phone calls, and a soldier came into my office about the pit bull issue,” Strickland said. “(The soldier) said he was in the barber shop and was told that (Hinesville) police officers are going door to door, and if you had a pit bull, the officer will seize the dog. He said he had just spent $1,500 for a pit bull, and if this was true, he was going to find out how to run for mayor and take over the city.”
Strickland told the resident there was no ban on pit bull ownership, nor was a ban approved. She said he calmed down some but still seemed to be a little angry that such a ban was considered.
Edwards said it was obvious the issue was an emotional one for some residents, given the feedback his office had gotten.
He laughed, though, saying he wondered if the soldier thought about where the police department would to put all those dogs it allegedly “confiscated.”
Edwards said the issue is one city officials at least had to address, but no one wants to ban pit bulls or any particular breed. He and City Attorney Linnie Darden will look at the ordinance and see if there is a better way to deal with vicious dogs, making no distinction of dog breeds.
Several other changes to city ordinances seriously were considered, he said. Among them was a new ordinance dealing with businesses that buy precious metals. The leaders decided a new ordinance is needed that limits licensing of precious-metal buyers to those businesses with a fixed location.
Tied with that is a new ordinance requiring the electronic submission of pawn tickets and reports for selling and purchasing second-hand materials, he said. Councilman Jason Floyd called the new requirement a great tool for law enforcement.
“My focal point is to remove the incentive to buy or sell stolen items and create a system to track down items reported stolen,” Edwards said, explaining charitable organizations like Goodwill likely would not be affected as there was no incentive for someone to steal something then give it away.
Edwards said his staff also will look into changes to ordinances regarding delinquent personal-property taxes and renewal of business licenses. The changes would require businesses applying to renew their business license to first pay any delinquent personal-property tax.
Another ordinance change would deal with alcoholic-beverage licenses for special events, and still another change would look at conflicting language in the ordinance for business-license renewal, he said.
Language changes regarding the ordinance stipulating requirements for a peddler’s permit and transient merchant license also are being considered.
Two proposed policy changes also will be examined by Edwards’ office. These include changes to the personnel policy and procedures regarding the qualifications of grievance committee members, and a proposed new policy for minority and women business enterprises.

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