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Dunn police chief to ask city for pit bull ban

Dunn police have handled dozens of complaints of aggressive pit bull terriers in the last year, prompting Chief B.P. Jones to request a citywide ban on the breed.

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DUNN, N.C. — Dunn police say they've handled dozens of calls about aggressive pit bull terriers in the last year, prompting Chief B.P. Jones to request a citywide ban on the breed. 

"We've got a problem, and it's increasing," Jones said Wednesday.

In 44 calls about the aggressive dogs, no serious injuries were reported, Jones said, but pit bulls are still a dangerous breed. They are quick to bite, often turn on their owners and have even tried to attack police officers, he said.

Veterinarian Guy Beretich said many pit bulls are bred to be fighters, but others, like his dog Duke, lack that trait. In fact, Beretich said, Duke is the farthest thing from an aggressive dog.

"He's a wuss – a wimp," Beretich said.

But Jones, who plans to discuss his proposal for a pit bull ban with the City Council this weekend, said owners of the breed don't take the necessary precautions to protect people from the dogs.

"They treat pit bulls like any other dogs, but the pit bull dog is different from other dogs," he said.

He wants the city to model an ordinance after Rockford, Wash., which bans pit bulls because of their breeding.

"The breeds have been universally and historically selected and bred for dog fighting," the Rockford ordinance states. "The breeds are unique among dogs in that they possess characteristics of aggression, strength, gameness, viciousness, unpredictability and savageness."

Other cities, such as Denver, Colo., have similar laws.

Beretich said banning the breed isn't the solution.

"Any time you start painting everybody with the same brush, it's unfair," he said.

Jones acknowledged that a full ban might be a tough sell, but said he hopes it will lead to tougher rules for pit bull owners.

"If you're going to keep a pit bull in the city, you've got to have a covered pen that, not only has a top, but a bottom, so the pit bull can't get out," he said.

In December, an animal shelter in nearby Cumberland County considered halting adoptions on "bully breeds," including pit bulls, rottweillers and chows.

There aren't any pit bull bans currently on the books in North Carolina, but the town of Edenton in Chowan County requires owners to register pit bulls, rottweilers and chows. The law also requires owners to properly contain the animals and post "Beware of Dog" signs.