Dogs are supposed to be a man’s best friend, but several women defended a particular embattled breed of canine at a hearing in Davenport this week. City leaders are considering banning all pit bulls, but Pamela Arndt, executive director of the Scott County Humane Society, says that’s a bad idea. Arndt says “The breed ban will not solve the problem and would only create a false sense of security for the citizens of this community. Along with all the other issues relating to the effectiveness and fairness of developing a breed-specific ban, it should also remembered that there will also certainly be increased cost in implementing such an ordinance.” Davenport resident Melanie Westphal (WEST-fall) told members of the Animal Hearing Commission that there’s no problem with pit bulls, it’s their owners. Westphal says “Those people who are irresponsible should be held accountable for what they do.” Stephanie Mucha, who runs a pit bull rescue group in the neighboring community of Donahue, also favors stricter punishments for pit bull owners when the dogs are involved in an attack. Mucha says banning the entire breed of dog would be a mistake. Mucha says pit bulls are a breed of dog, not a species, and she claims banning an animal based on its breed would be unconstitutional and would be “opening up Pandora’s box,” a reference to the Greek myth during which all of the world’s miseries were unleashed on humans by the gods. Charlie Stone, also of Davenport, told the commissioners he’d move out of town if they banned his pit bull, which is more than a “best friend” to him. Stone says “My dog is my family. I love it as much as anyone could love their child and before I would let anyone take my dog away from me, I would leave Davenport.” All 38 of the people who spoke at the hearing opposed the ban. The commission will take all of the input from the meeting and pass it along to the city’s Public Safety Committee for a decision.
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