If you're an owner of a pit bull living in Springville, you'd better get out your muzzle, leash and wallet. City officials have made it clear that they don't like pit bulls in their city.

During this week's City Council meeting, council members unanimously approved an ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bulls. The ordinance is strict and will be costly to owners of pit bulls. But council members say they like it that way because they hope it will discourage residents from owning pit bulls."In a city that has a lot of children like ours I just don't think it's good to encourage people to have pit bulls as pets," said council member Matt Packard.

The ordinance establishes licensing procedures and fees and stipulates the requirements for housing pit bulls. Each pit bull must be confined in a secure or enclosed building. Before housing a pit bull in an exterior yard secured by a fence, the fence must first be approved by the city. All entrances to the property must be posted with a city-approved sign warning visitors that a dangerous dog is kept on the premises.

Any pit bull removed from its area of confinement must be securely leashed, with a leash no longer than 6 feet long, and must be securely muzzled.

The ordinance also contains strict enforcement policies for those who fail to abide by the ordinance. If a pit bull is allowed to run loose, police officers or any authorized city officials are allowed to "take whatever action is necessary under the circumstances to properly secure and restrain any loose pit bull, including the immediate destruction ofthe pit bull."

"Pit bulls are considered dangerous dogs and potentially hazardous to the residents of the city," the ordinance says.

Asked why the licensing fees were set so high, City Attorney Harold Mitchell said the fees are intended to discourage ownership of pit bulls.

"These dogs are not intended to be pets, they are intended to be fighters," Mitchell said.

Springville police have received only two reports of pit bull attacks, one about two years ago and one about two months ago. The injuries in both cases were minor. But even though pit bulls are not currently a problem in the city, officials say the ordinance will ensure that they don't become one.

If pit bull owners try to fight the ordinance, Mitchell said the city is prepared. The ordinance is the same as one adopted by a county in Pennsylvania that was recently upheld in the courts as being constitutional.

"Let them fight it. We've researched this thing well," he said.

The city will inform pit bull owners of the new regulations either through a letter mailed from the police department or through a personal visit from a police officer. Mitchell said he is aware of three residents who own pit bulls.

The ordinance defines a pit bull as a Straffordshire, terrier, American pit bull, pit bull or any dog that fits into the American Kennel Club's definition of one these breeds.


(Additional information)

Pit bull ordinance

Springville pit bull license fees:

- One pit bull - $500

- Two pit bulls - $1,000 (total)

- Three pit bulls - $3,000 (total)

- Each additional pit bull - $3,000

- Any pit bull over 6 months of age must be licensed.

- Pit bull owners must also post a $20,000 bond for each pit bull.