Small towns in America are usually somewhere thought of with nostalgic feelings; however, these towns that were once synonymous with being friendly are starting to be anything but friendly to some people. American Bully owners in the small town of Marianna, Arkansas are being targeted by breed specific legislation. The proposal that will ban most "pit bull-like dogs" is set to go before the city council during the July 2012 meeting.
It appears that the city is trying to keep the proposal under wraps. Other than a small blurb in the local newspaper that isn't even accessible online, City Hall officials haven't made any real effort to notify American Bully or pit bull owners of changes that could mean having to move to keep their dogs or get rid of their dogs.
One American Bully owner isn't taking these changes sitting down. Lori Richardson of Diamond State Bullies is getting the word out to other pit bull owners around the country. Through Facebook, she has collected hundreds of pictures that show American Bullies with children, as well as other pictures that show the good-natured side of the American Bully. Mrs. Richardson is an EMT, a volunteer for Make-a-Wish and a regular donor to Locks of Love. Oh, and she happens to own American Bullies. Many of her dogs are Champions or Grand Champions through ABKC.
The truly sad part of the legislation is that the city is willing to allow "pit bull-like dogs" as long as they are active in the show circuit. However, what happens when the dogs retire? Mrs. Richardson has one such Bully who is retired that wouldn't be allowed to stay in the city. In response to the possibility of losing her dog, she states "We are good people & our dogs are family! We will do whatever it takes to keep our family together."
The breed specific legislation in Marianna is discriminatory. According to a vague statement by a City Hall representative who asked to remain anonymous, there haven't been any pit bull attacks in the city, but the proposal is being brought up because of an attack in a city that is over an hour away from Marianna. The dogs in the city haven't done anything to warrant this type of proposal. In fact, after doing some digging, it seems the people of Marianna have more reason to be afraid of some city officials instead of being worried about dogs that aren't doing anything wrong.
Roy C. "Bill" Lewellen is the City Attorney for Marianna, but his shady past calls into question exactly how he obtained that title. In 1998 while serving as a State Senator, Mr. Lewellen was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a sobriety test. Ultimately, his license was suspended for six months and the driving while intoxicated charge was dropped. The trouble doesn't stop there. In March of 2011, he was reprimanded and fined $10,000 by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct.
People who are interested in giving a statement during the July 10, 2012 meeting of the City Council must be on the agenda to speak. Simply calling City Hall at (870) 295-6089 is all that is needed to get onto the agenda. If you have photos you would like to contribute to the collage that shows pit bulls or American Bullies with children that will be shown by Mrs. Richardson during the meeting on the breed specific legislation proposal, you can email those to email@example.com with your contact information.
Maybe before July 10 comes around, Marianna should check with Washington, Louisiana to find out how much trouble BSL can cause in a small town.
Check back for more updates about this story as they develop.