CRAB ORCHARD — City commissioners in Crab Orchard are considering possible legislation concerning pit-bull-type dogs within city limits after receiving many complaints and one report of a dog biting a girl in the face.
Mayor Billy Shelton said there are dangerous dogs being kept by multiple people in city limits and the dogs are sometimes given too much freedom to run around or are chained up outside while children are out playing.
"I don't want to take anyone's dogs away from them, but we've got a lot of complaints," he said. "We really don't want to (adopt a new law) but if we feel we need to, we will."
Commissioner Juanita Pettit said there has been one instance of a dog biting a girl in the face. That dog was subsequently put down, she said.
Commissioner Phyllis Adams said she is aware of one dog kept chained to a bench near where children play, and the dog is capable of pulling on its chain and nearly getting to the children.
One option being considered by the commission is an ordinance that would provide four definitions for what a "pit bull" is considered to be and regulate dogs that fall under those definitions.
City Attorney Jonathan Baker said the definitions include Staffordshire Terriers. Under the ordinance, dogs could be "held" while the district court decides what will happen, Baker said.
Shelton said he loves dogs and used to raise setters himself.
"Not all pit bulls are bad. It's the way they're raised," he said. "I'm sure if we had to, we could adopt an ordinance against them."
Shelton said he would like to see people just use "common sense" in caring for their dogs and keeping dangerous ones off the street and safely restrained rather than passing a new ordinance and getting into people's personal business.
"We're not in the business of bringing civil suits or fixing somebody's problem with their neighbor," he said.
More than 20 Crab Orchard citizens showed up at the commission's Thursday night meeting, many of whom were interested in getting answers about $1,000 worth of lawn equipment that was stolen a few months ago.
Some in the audience said they think a city employee took the equipment, because locks protecting the equipment weren't broken.
Shelton said he told Sheriff Curt Folger about the theft, but didn't have any serial numbers to give him and he doesn't think the case will go anywhere.
"It (the equipment) was took," Shelton said. "That's all there is to it."
Shelton said the city does not currently have any cameras recording the area where the lawn equipment is stored, but would like to install cameras there if it's logistically feasible. The location is apparently too far away from city hall, where Crab Orchard's current closed-circuit camera system is located, to wire new cameras into the same system, commissioners said.
One man in the audience seemed largely unsatisfied with the mayor's and commissioners' responses and said he has heard there was misuse of city property by a city employee and that city commissioners didn't want to do anything about it.
Shelton said there was "truth" to the claim that a city employee misused city property, but the matter is "ongoing" and commissioners certainly aren't against dealing with it.
The man said he believes if there isn't action taken to fire the employee, "there would be some replacements coming next election because you all are entrusted with the city's money."