The Leflore County Board of Supervisors made a good move Monday when it passed an ordinance requiring owners to meet certain regulations for the care and housing of pit bulls.

The action by the Board of Supervisors came after a pit bull attacked an Itta Bena woman last week and a 3-year-old was killed by a pit bull in Jackson.

The regulations drafted in the ordinance are stiff, as they should be. It addresses how a pit bull should be housed. It requires a sign saying “Dangerous Dog.” It also puts an age limit on who can own pit bulls, and it requires they register with the Leflore County Humane Society and have a $100,000 insurance policy or post a $100,000 cash surety to pay for any injuries a dog may cause.

These steps are necessary to protect the citizens of Leflore County against vicious animals. We commend the board for stepping forward and taking such action. It is long overdue. Supervisors had worked on an ordinance in January and February of 2007 but had never finalized it.

With this latest incident, it was evident that action needed to be taken immediately, and the board addressed it in a timely fashion.

Supervisors Preston Ratliff and Robert Collins may be correct in their assessment that the ordinance could be difficult to enforce. There are hardly enough law enforcement officers in the county to patrol as it is, and the ordinance would require people who can’t even afford car insurance to purchase a $100,000 insurance policy on a dog. That’s unlikely to happen. However, the ordinance does give those who may be the victim of an attack legal recourse against the dog and its owner.

The county also built cages at the Leflore County Humane Society that can securely house pit bulls. Again, this is something that is long overdue. The action came after the dog that attacked the Itta Bena woman escaped from a 9-foot cage at the Humane Society shortly after being caught. That dog is still on the loose.

Aubrey Whittington, president of the Humane Society, praised the board for its action as well. She said the board has taken a “giant step” in showing that it cares for the welfare and safety of Leflore County citizens.

But the county may soon have to consider whether it wants to take the safety of its citizens a step further and ban pit bulls altogether, a move that many people would applaud.

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