Losing a Friend

One of the bad things about moving to a new community is not knowing the laws.

When we moved in, we put Molly outside again. She had been stuck inside our apartment for nearly 7 months. (Molly was our 2 year old Labrador/Pitbull mix.) She was extremely happy to be out again. Because we had no fence yet, we put her on a stake with a 20 foot cord to allow her to run. The length allowed her to move, within our property, with a good deal of freedom, but stopped her from roaming the neighborhood, or running away.

Apparently, it also put her too close to the sidewalk. Now understand, there is construction going on all around us. So the sidewalks are covered with mounds of dirt, rock, construction materials and vehicles. So no one in the their right mind would be walking on the sidewalks. But someone thought that she was too close to the sidewalk anyway. They anonymously called the Springville Police Department. They dispatched one of the city’s animal control officers.

The officer first noticed that Molly violated some city ordinance that she was to close to the sidewalk. OK, so let us know and we will move her. Next, the officer took note that she looked to thin and wanted to fine us $300 for abuse. Well, she was recovering from Pancreatitis. And had lost a great deal of weight. (She was treated by a veterinarian, with paper work to prove it.) They agreed to dismiss that charge. But finally, they said that she was some part pitbull. Which apparently the city has outlawed. (Searching the city’s website, I was unable to find anything to indicate that you could not own a pitbull. [UPDATE: Apparently, the city's search engine does not index PDFs....how lame. Ordinance 3-7-116])

We were not home when they first came by to look at her. They told Adrienne (I was at Brainshare when this all occurred) that Molly was an extremely vicious dog. Um, OK. You mean the dog that has grown up around our kids (Ages 5 to 1). The one that would sleep in the same bed as my kids while we lived in the apartment. The one that my two year old daughter would ride around on like a horse. And lay on the floor and cuddle with. The one that would let my one year old son crawl all over her. Yeah…sure…she is vicious.

Adrienne, asked how the officer could tell she was part pitbull, to which the animal control officer responded, “She has white paws.” Yes, crawl back in your seat since you fell out of it because that dog siting next to you, which you know is not a pitbull has white paws. I began to wonder what kind of people had the city hired to do animal control. Exactly what are their credentials? Oh, yeah, they might have high school diplomas and they gave them a badge and now they are experts.

They left a copy of the city ordinance with us. And agreed to let Molly stay until, I had a chance to say goodbye. So the next morning the city arrived to take her away. We had the kids all come out and say goodbye, just to prove how gentle she was with them. Molly knew something was up as I lead her to the kennel on the officers truck. We asked about the ordinance (Springville is the only city in all of Utah, County that has a ban against pitbulls.) He explained that the city had enacted the ordinance because of a single attack. Not because there had been several attacks. All on the national hysteria and a single attack moved them to ban the breed.

Now the city does provide a way to have a pitbull if you want. First you make an application to the city ($50). Then, if approved (The city has approved only two pitbulls, and the animal control officers had already guaranteed us that Molly would not be approved because they believed her to be vicious.) you can pay a yearly license fee of $100 (per dog, limit two. Other breeds pay $15 per dog, also limit of two.). You must also get an additional $50,000 dollars of insurance. These requirements and the officer’s already stated opposition to Molly, lead us to the tough decision of needing to let her go. After they took her, we thought about trying to fight this, but decided that loosing Molly again would be to traumatic of an experience to try.

The kids often talk of Molly. Taylor drew a picture of her today at school. I asked why and he said because he missed her. Olivia has named one of her stuffed dogs Molly, and sometimes asks to go out and see “Her Molly”. We will all miss her. She was a good dog and friend. So if you have a pitbull, don’t think about moving to Springville, Utah. We thought it would be a nice place for our family (which we considered Molly apart of), it has thus far proved to be not that great. Maybe it will be so in the end. But I know that at least it will be a good place to teach the kids about bad laws.