Gainesville has seen four dog attacks in the last six months. A woman was mauled in one and a Gainesville Police officer had to shoot a dog in another.
The Gainesville City Commission addressed the concern of deadly dog attacks during Thursday’s meeting.
The commissioners said they understood this is a safety issue and wants to ensure that the public safety agencies involved are doing everything they can to prevent these issues.
“What I hope for today is that we can make sure that everyone within the city system is charged with keeping folks safe,” Commissioner Harvey Ward said.
The attacks began in September when three pit bulls killed Bella, the beagle-labrador mix.
In December, Fred the pug-beagle mix was killed by a dog.
In February, Tico the chihuahua was killed by two pit bulls.
In March, five pit bulls escaped from the yard of their home and attacked a woman and her dog.
One of the pit bulls was shot by police.
Alachua County Animal Services investigated these incidents and responded to them with Gainesville Police.
Animal Services hopes to create an irresponsible owner clause and update other ordinances to help prevent future incidents. The clause would flag owners whose dogs have gotten loose or have been involved in attacks. Animal services would then monitor those owners.
Mark Sexton, an Alachua County spokesperson, spoke on Animal Services’ behalf at the meeting.
Sexton told the commission there are reports of dog bites every day that are not as the incidents seen over the past few months.
The Alachua County Commission will address the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting, and a community meeting on the issue will be planned soon.
Chris Carney, 49, attended the meeting to talk about the recent dog attacks in the city. He said he has fostered hundreds of animals over the years until they found a permanent home.
“It’s traumatizing. A lot of times when something like this happens, there’s a rush to judgment,” Carney said. “We do something that sounds like an easy fix on the surface, but we don’t see the repercussions that it could have to others in the community that are causing problems.”
Bella, the emotional support dog killed by three pitbulls