1. It is unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull.
2. Exceptions. The prohibition in Subsection 1 of this section shall not apply in the following enumerated circumstances.
A. The Administrative Official or a properly authorized agent may temporarily harbor and transport any pit bull for purposes of enforcing the provisions of this chapter.
B. Any non-profit animal welfare organization lawfully operating an animal shelter in the City may temporarily hold any pit bull that it has received or otherwise recovered.
C. A person may temporarily transport into and hold in the City a pit bull only for the purpose of showing such pit bull in a place of public exhibition, contest or show sponsored by a bona fide dog club association or similar organization, where the event sponsor provides sufficient evidence of a valid liability insurance policy for the event, providing $1,000,000.00 in liability coverage to the members of the attending public and the City. However, the sponsor of the exhibition, contest, or show must receive written permission from the Administrative Official, must obtain any other permits or licenses required by City ordinance, and must provide protective measures adequate to prevent pit bulls from escaping or injuring the public. The person who transports and holds a pit bull for showing shall, at all times when the pit bull is being transported within the City to and from the place of exhibition, contest, or show, keep the pit bull confined in a secure temporary enclosure, as defined in Section 56.01 of this chapter.
D. Except as provided in Paragraph C above, the owner of a pit bull may temporarily transport a pit bull continuously through the City, only if such pit bull is being transported either from a point outside the City directly to a destination outside the City, or between a point outside the City to an airport, train station or bus station within the City. During such interjurisdictional transportation, the owner may only stop in the City where such stoppage is necessary and solely related to the continuing ability of the owner to continue said transportation, including (but not limited to) the refueling or repair of a motor vehicle. The pit bull must be maintained at all times inside a secure temporary enclosure, as defined in Section 56.01, which may include inside of the passenger compartment of a private motor vehicle, with all accessible windows closed.
E. The owner of any pit bull which received certification or other formal recognition as an emotional support animal from a licensed medical (M.D. or D.O.) or mental health professional on or before November 19, 2018, the date on which the third reading of the ordinance codified in this section was passed shall be allowed to keep such pit bull within the City consistent with the following terms and conditions:
(1) The pit bull when not in a secure temporary enclosure as defined in Section 56.01 and outside any residence shall at all times be on a leash of no greater than six feet in length measured from one end of the leash to the other when said leash is laid out flat. Leashes that may be extended to greater lengths, even if maintained at six feet, shall not be permitted due to the risk that said leash may suffer a malfunction and unintentionally extend to a greater length. Any person put in control of a pit bull under this exception on a leash must be physically capable of controlling, managing, and restraining as necessary said pit bull. In the event said person loses control the Administrative Official may make a finding that the pit bull was at large and take appropriate action hereunder.
(2) If the pit bull is moved to a home outside the City limits the pit bull may not return at a later day to the City limits.
(3) If a pit bull is determined to have bitten any person, documented or not, whether in the household of the owner and whether or not within the City limits, the exception granted herein shall end and the pit bull shall be removed from the community permanently within seven days of the owner being given notice of the required removal by the Administrative Official.
(4) This exception is for the current pit bull owned by the owner and shall not apply to any replacement pit bull or additional pit bull. No additional or replacement pit bull will be allowed as an exception to the pit bull ban.
(5) If at any time the pit bull for which this exception is granted is found or allowed to be at large in the community the owner shall be cited and subject to fines and/or other monetary penalties. If the pit bull is found to be at large a second time the exception granted herein shall end and the pit bull shall be removed from the City limits permanently within seven days of the second occurrence of the animal being at large.
(6) The owner must provide proof that they have insurance coverage for the pit bull in the minimum amount of $500,000.00 per covered occurrence and must provide it to the City Clerk's office on an annual basis. Any lapse in coverage shall result in the end of the exception made herein and the pit bull must then be removed from the City limits permanently within seven days' notice from the Administrative Official.
(7) The pit bull must be spayed or neutered at owner's expense with proof provided to the City Clerk's office unless a licensed veterinarian states in writing that a pit bull is unfit to undergo the required surgical procedure because of an extreme health condition of the animal. Such extreme health condition shall include, but not be limited to: severe cardiovascular compromise, bleeding disorder, respiratory disease and hepatic disease. The old age of an animal shall not, of itself, constitute an extreme health condition for purposes of this section.
F. The Police Chief is authorized to immediately impound any pit bull found in the City which does not fall within the exceptions or meet the requirements listed in Subsection 2 above. The owner shall be assessed all fees associated with the impoundment. Any owner so impacted shall be given appeal rights substantially consistent with the following Paragraph G.
G. When the Police Chief has impounded any pit bull dog pursuant to this section, and the owner of such dog disputes the classification of such dog as a pit bull, the owner may request that the City collect a DNA sample to be used for genetic testing purposes. While waiting for genetic testing results, the owner shall continue to follow all requirements set out within Subsection 2 above. If the genetic/DNA results indicate any percentage of pit bull the owner will be directed to remove the animal from the City limits within seven days. The owner may request a hearing by the filing of a petition, same to be filed no later than seven days after their receipt of genetic testing results from the Administrative Official. The petition shall be filed with the Police Chief. Such petition shall include the name and address, including mailing address, of the petitioner. The Police Chief will then issue a notice of hearing date by mailing a copy to the petitioner's address no later than seven days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The hearing will be held before a panel of at least three City Council members and the Police Chief. Any evidence the petitioner wishes to be considered shall be submitted under oath or on affirmation either in writing or orally at the hearing. The panel shall make a final determination whether the dog is a pit bull as defined in Section 56.01. Such final determination shall be considered a final order of the City subject to judicial review pursuant to the applicable rules of legal procedure. The procedures in this paragraph shall not apply and the owner is not entitled to such a hearing with respect to any dog which was impounded as the immediate result of an attack or bite as defined in this chapter. In those instances, the dog shall be handled and the procedures governed by the provisions for dogs involved in a bite or attack. If a hearing is not requested and the animal is not removed from the City, the Police Chief may see to the removal of the animal by impoundment and shall assess all fees related thereto to the owner.
H. If the dog is found not to be a pit bull, the dog shall be released to the owner, if not having been allowed to remain in the owner's possession during DNA testing. If the dog is found to be a pit bull, it shall be immediately removed from the City limits, and in no case later than seven days and the owner shall reimburse the City for all costs associated with DNA testing.
I. A DNA test will not be required and impoundment not made under the following circumstances:
(1) The owner voluntarily executes a waiver to an administrative hearing on the classification of the dog as a pit bull, pursuant to Paragraph F above.
(2) The owner produces credible evidence that the pit bull is to be permanently taken out of the City, maintained at a specified lawful location, and the pit bull will not return to the City illegally.
(3) Where the owner or owner's immediate family has committed a prior violation of this section, or the pit bull had been previously identified as a pit bull and/or impounded and released pursuant to this subsection, the following provisions shall apply:
a. The owner shall pay a non-refundable payment of $250.00 for the costs of the administrative review of this matter.
b. The owner shall submit a petition in writing only, and any factual claims shall be supported by sworn affidavits of witnesses.
c. The pit bull may be released only where the owner is able to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the presence of the pit bull was either legal, due to circumstances that amount to a lawful exemption as listed in Subsection 2 above, or the pit bull's presence in the City was not due to a voluntary act or the failure of the owner to take reasonable efforts to prevent the violation, such as the fact the pit bull was stolen or taken without legal authority by a known party.
d. The negligence or recklessness of the owner or the owner's agent, in causing or allowing the violation of this section, will not amount to sufficient cause for the pit bull's release.