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TX-Justin's Law-Banning Pit Bulls in TX and Nationally


Article published Jul 2, 2009

Posted onThursday, July 02, 2009
http://www.tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs...nr=907020318&Ref=AR&template=printart#Comment http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php

Protesters Find Officials Receptive To Plea For Stronger Dog Control Laws

Staff Writer

HENDERSON -- Impelled by a recent fatal attack on a 10-year-old boy by two vicious pit bull dogs, friends and relatives of the victim began a drive Wednesday for state and national legislation banning pit bull dogs.

Approximately 60 to 70 people upset over two pit bulls mauling to death Justin Clinton as he skateboarded on his way to a friend's house in Leverett's Chapel conducted a "Justice for Justin Rally" on the Rusk County Courthouse steps and lawn.

They carried signs and wore T-shirts displaying various messages, such as "What If It Was Your Child?" and "Outlaw Pit Bull Dogs."

Shortly afterward, many crowded into a special meeting of Rusk County Commissioners Court and spilled over into a hall. They found county officials receptive to their pleas for steps toward enacting stronger dog control laws even though the officials did not do all that the protesters asked.

Citing restrictions in existing laws, county and district attorney Michael Jimerson advised the county judge and commissioners they could not specifically ban pit bulls at this time. "I can't find any authorization that would authorize you to say this breed is prohibited in Rusk County," Jimerson told them.

Under state law, a municipality or commissioners court may adopt ordinances that require dogs to be restrained by their owner.

They can adopt leash laws for portions of the county without a popular vote and not the whole county, Jimerson said in answer to a question from commissioners. An election would be required to approve a law requiring registration of dogs, particularly dangerous dogs, and liability insurance by their owners, the county attorney also advised.

Family members and friends of the boy killed by pit bull dogs a couple of weeks ago asked for a countywide leash law and submitted petitions bearing approximately 200 to 300 supporting signatures, some of people residing outside the county.

The commissioners court instead unanimously adopted a leash law for the Airport Garden Ranchettes in the Elderville community, effective in 30 days, which had been under consideration for several months since residents there complained of aggressive dogs.

Commissioners asked supporters of the boy who was killed in the recent pit bull dog attack to draw proposed boundaries for a leash law strictly for the Leverett's Chapel area that the court may consider enacting in the near future.

Before commissioners can act on a leash law for Leverett's Chapel, a public hearing will have to be held to give opponents and anyone else an opportunity to speak on the issue, the county officials said.

In a further, broader move acceding to a request by an attorney representing the family of the Leverett's Chapel youngster, the county judge and commissioners ordered a resolution placed on the agenda for an upcoming meeting that will ask the state Legislature and U.S. Congress to ban pit bull dogs in the state and nation.

The attorney, Cynthia Stevens Kent, a former Smith County judge, commended Rusk County officials for immediately responding to the difficult pit bull dog issue within bounds of the law.

Urging them on behalf of the boy's family to adopt the resolution and take the lead in the country against pit bull dogs, Ms. Kent asserted the way to protect children from them is to ban that breed.

Approximately five million dog bites are reported per year in this country, with more than 40 percent of severe bitten victims being helpless children under the age of 11, Ms. Kent said. Although there are at least 150 breeds of dogs in the U.S., one third of all dog bites are caused by pit bulls, she added.

Since 2006, there have been more than 15 fatalities from dog bites in Texas and 80 percent were caused by pit bull attacks, according to the attorney.

"Justin is a perfect example of why it is important that commissioners, city councils, the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress look at this issue and ban pit bull dogs," Ms. Kent said, describing the attack on Justin as an "an incredibly senseless tragedy, 100 percent preventable."

The fourth-grader and member of the Kilgore boy's baseball All Star Team was expecting a summer of fun when pit bull dogs killed him and dragged his body down the road until a Good Samaritan beat the dogs off his body, Ms. Kent said.

The boy's family wants justice and "Justice for Justin means changing the law and how we think about animals we keep in our homes," the attorney maintained. "We are going to be asking commissioners courts around the state, city councils around the state, the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress to take a giant step to protect these children (and) ban pit bulls because this is a nationwide problem. It's not just in Leverett's Chapel and Rusk County," Ms. Kent said.

They contacted U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, who is looking at the issue and has agreed to meet with them.

They want new state and national legislation banning pit bulls to be known as "Justin's Law."

The boy's mother, Serenia Clinton, said, "I want justice for my son. I want these dogs banned, but I also want people to realize how bad these dogs are, how immediately they can turn on you. They don't have to be provoked. It was just an innocent child that wanted to play was all it was."

Her husband, Kevin Clinton, added, "We hope to get a start today and we hope to finish up by getting them outlawed completely."

Just having a leash law does not always take care of the problem of vicious dogs, county Judge Sandra Hodges said. The attorney agreed, pointing out there have been cases where a pit bull dog broke loose from a leash and mauled a child. Although it is controversial, Ms. Kent said she hopes that through legislation and court action, pit bull dogs will be defined as dangerous dogs and banned.

Municipalities have more authorization than counties with regard to ordinances and a number of cities including Tyler and Richardson have enacted ordinances dealing with dangerous animals, Ms. Kent said. "It's been contested and upheld that they do have authority to protect people in their municipality."

Judy Rothrock, who spoke in favor of the leash law for the Airport Gardens and Airport Gardens Ranchettes area in Elderville, said signatures on a petition seeking the law represented 76 of the 116 homes in the community.

The signers were concerned about dogs running loose and chasing residents, Ms. Rothrock said, describing several cases.

The leash law is a start to help protect communities, she said. "If people refuse to take responsibility for their pets � then for the protection of all we need at least an adequate and enforceable leash law," Ms. Rothrock asserted.

No one spoke in opposition to the leash law.




Well-Known Member
Funny how NKC registered American Bulldogs kill a boy, that was reportedly trying to play with them even though they weren't his dogs, and the mom wants to ban and badmouth "pit bulls".


Well-Known Member
Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.



Well-Known Member
Well, when "Pit Bulls" are banned, I guess any dog maulings will be quicker for the victims since those who irresponsibly owned "Pit Bulls" are bound to go for bigger, stronger more aggressive dogs.

Sometimes I have a really difficult time not wanting to knock heads over sheer, blind, willful stupidity.

And "defenseless?" I've seen some very young kids try to do some heinous things to dogs on purpose -- while their parents watched and laughed.


New Member
i got a question if this new law goes into affect what happens to those of us that already own pit bulls. I refuse to put down my pit bull i have had forever cause that is basicly what we will end up having to do. Do to the fact that there is nothing else can we do with them if you ban then from being allowed here in the state of texas we can't find some one else to take her cause all my family and friends live here in texas i think it is wrong to blame an entire breed because of a few dogs that are bad. My pit has been raised around my son who is almost 2 and i have been raised around them and rotts my entire life and we have never had a problem my pit takes naps with my son all the time and i have slept with one in my bed since i was 4. Also will this law also apply to pit bull mixes or just pure breed pit bulls. cause my mom owns both so does my brother. not all pit bulls are dangerous it all depends on how there were raised if yall really wanna do some thing about dangerous dogs then yall should do something about that piece of crap guy that abused and miss treated all those dogs by forcing them to fight instead he is still allowed to be a celeberty of sorts playing in the NFL like nothing ever happened it is those sort of people that cause certain breeds of dogs to be concidered dangerous when not all dogs are like that


New Member
Look to the parents of Justin. Im tremendously sorry for your loss. I know that nothing or none can ever bring your little boy back. But Im Sorry I do not agree with the banning of pittbulls in texas. A dog is a special animal known for a mans best friend. Pitts used to be one of the most loved dogs in movies and everywhere. So for that pitts started getting used for the wrong thing by there owners. Started getting used for fighting and anything else. It is not the dog. It is the person that owns them. Put the person in prison for training there dog to be a killing machine. I love pitts they are my everything I wouldnt feel safe with out them. I think that if this law gets passed then texas has really stooped low. For the fact that last I heard America was a free country and they just keep putting more and more laws and what you can or cant have. Just imagine what this law will do to everyone that has pitts to every little boy or girl out there that has a little pitt puppy. It will crush there world. All this law will do is be a waste of a beautiful animal and will make a lot of people mad and those who love their dogs so much to move out of the state before they let someone take their best friend away. SO AGAIN I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS LAW WHAT SO EVER


New Member
Irresponsible owners are the problem here, these dogs could've been Rotts, Dobes, Boxers etc And the result would've been the same, Dogs are not people they are dogs and they should NEVER be allowed to roam out in public with out a leash. There is a need for legislation but it needs to target the owners not the dogs.