ALBANY — Albany City Commissioners plan to convene the city's Citizens Advisory Committee to discuss a new dangerous dog ordinance that would come with more teeth.
Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta proposed adding an element to the city's current ordinance that puts restrictions specifically on owners of the pit bulldog breed.
"That is a breed that has a proven propensity to bite," Marietta said. "We haven't seen a whole lot of it around here, but there are news items from all over the country of little kids being mauled by pit bulls.
"I have constituents who feel they have a legitimate safety concern, and they've asked us to look into doing more to protect them from these dangerous dogs."
City Attorney Nathan Davis said the city's current ordinance categorizes an animal as a "dangerous dog" if it bites someone or causes injury. He said he's already begun work on an updated ordinance that would, among other things, require pit bull owners to register their animals, provide specific enclosures for them and require the owner to maintain insurance or a surety bond against the possibility of a pit bull attack.
"The (state) Legislature has authorized (local governments) to enact more stringent ordinances against dangerous dogs," Davis said.
The commission voted to approve Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff's suggestion that the Citizens Advisory Committee discuss the issue and make a recommendation. Marietta asked if the language of any new legislation should mention specific breeds.
"It should apply to all dangerous dogs, including poodles," Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell said.
The commission opened its Tuesday session with a special called meeting to vote on requests for one-day alcohol license applications by Mack's Miracles Inc. Saturday at the Albany Civic Center and the Lily Pad SANE Center Thursday at the Merry Acres Event Center. Both were approved, as was an alcohol license application for the Gas Up business at 1400 N. Jefferson St.
Shirley Ingram with the city's Community and Economic Development department recommended local Community Development Block Grant funding for the top five-scoring applicants, among them: Open Arms Inc. ($15,000), a year-round YMCA program at Martin Luther King Elementary School ($10,000), Alzheimer's Outreach Center of Southwest Georgia ($10,000), Mt. Zion Community Reinvestment Samaritan Clinic ($25,000) and Liberty House ($15,000).
Postell accused the YMCA of using "discriminatory" practices in selecting MLK for its program, but Economic Development officials said the school was the only one to apply for the funds.
The commission also tentatively approved funding for an annual contract with the Albany Humane Society ($246,365), janitorial work at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport by LRL Ventures & Management ($43,543.45), 15 Albany Police Department Dodge Police Interceptors ($342,675) and equipment packages for the vehicles ($70,064.55), a Public Works sewer inspection camera system ($171,997.95) and equipment and training for an Albany Fire Department-sponsored dive team (56,785.)