Aurora City Council Candidates Speak To Dog Politics On Breed Ban
- Now about Aurora - dog owners in Colorado and as far away as Halifax, Nova Scotia are watching local elections there with great interest. That's because dog owners, unhappy with a lack of representation on local town councils, are for the first time looking at local politics in a different light - and asking the question..........
In the wake of the recently enacted breed ban in Aurora, DogPolitics.com dialed up each and every Aurora City Council candidate in the race to pulse them on their views of the recently enacted breed ban. Our readers - especially those outside of Colorado - wanted to know each candidate's position on the ban.
DogPolitics.com conducted short phone interviews with the candidates and asked the following questions:
- What was your position on the ban prior to it's enactment?
- If elected, would you support the ban, or oppose the ban and work to overturn the ban in favor of breed neutral dangerous dog legislation?
- What should our readers know about you or what message do you have for them?
(If we were not able to reach a candidate, we left a phone number and an email address so they could send us a response. Those who have not yet responded may do so up until Monday evening, 10/31.)
Wanna know what the Aurora City Council candidates said? I thought you'd never ask...............
The Burning Issue
For dog-owning voters, the city council election may come dog to a single issue - the breed ban. Now it's my understanding the Aurora election is nonpartisan to begin with - and that's all well and good.
But for dog owners - those directly impacted by the ban, and those who stand in solidarity - - and even citizens who don't own dogs but disagree with the ban - a candidate's stance on the Aurora breed ban will dictate how they vote. Here's what the candidates did or didn't say regarding their stance on the breed ban:
The Candidates Speak (Or Not):
- Kim Harrell - Kim is not a fan of the breed ban. She supports strengthening dangerous animal laws as well as enforcing local leash, noise and sanitation ordinances with respect to dogs. If elected, Kim pledges to work with organizations such as the American Dog Owners Association and local dog interest groups to gather information necessary to revise the ordinance. As a council member, she feels she will be responsive to the needs of her constituents.
- Larry McElvan - No contact information available
- Pat Tudor - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Deborah Wallace - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Phillip R. Freeman - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Ron Girard - Ron positions himself as a "citizen legislator" in contrast to professional career politicians. He's opposed to the breed ban and feels the city government followed Denver's lead. In Ron's view, Aurora's ban is poorly designed and punishes responsible owners, and that the ordinance will drive good owners underground or out of the city. Ron is not in favor of banning any breed and would vote to overturn the ordinance in favor of breed-neutral dog law and the effective enforcement of dangerous dog law. Ron is a cancer survivor and a dog owner. Ron feels his dog saved his life by alerting a neighbor during his illness.
- Renie R. Peterson - Renie feels it is unfair to ban specific breeds. Her position is that owners, not breeds, are accountable, and that any dog of any breed can bite. She feels that owners of targeted "pit bull" breeds have been unfairly picked on. She would vote to overturn the breed ban. Renie is the owner of a Lab.
- Duane Senn - While Duane is not a dog owner, he doesn't believe in breed bans. Duane says that Aurora already has vicious dog law on the books and thinks it needs to be enforced and tightened. He believes in a "One bite & you're out" policy, as well as in spay/neuter (he's involved with his sister's feral cat rescue organization, The Cat Care Society ) and supports shelter adoptions and having pets spayed through shelters. If elected, Duane would vote to repeal the breed ban in two years ( he feels that as a new council member, fighting the breed ban prior to the two years would not be productive) when it comes up following the study period. Duane feels strongly that "you don't punish pets for owner behavior."
- Larry Beer - Larry favors breed-nuetral dog laws and feels individual dogs should be judged according to their individual behavior. Larry is the owner of "Charlotte", a Springer Spaniel, and "Daisy", a 5 month old yellow Lab.
- Marsha Berzins - Marsha would have voted "No" on the breed ban, and thinks "it's wrong." She favors stricter enforcement of existing dog laws and that owners should be responsible. She's running as a "concerned citizen" and wants voters to know she is not a "slick" politician. Marsha says that the current city council "didn't listen to us" and she would work to revise the breed ban. She expressed dismay about the choice affected dog owners face -"license or move". Her message is that citizens need to keep bringing the issue up - "keep it in front." Marsha is the owner of a mixed-breed (poodle/terrier) shelter dog and rabbits. She says, "I really care."
- Lawrence D. Grandison, Jr. - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Duane Martin - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Bob Fitgerald - Bob was the original proponent of the Aurora breed ban, and proposed the legislation following the ruling in Denver upholding the breed ban there, as well as the subsequent passage of similar legislation in Commerce City and Castle Rock. Bob says he was moved to create the ordinance following "two bad pit bull incidents". In the first incident, Bob recounted a situation where a neighbor was a bad owner and the second incident, where his son was at the hospital and another man - a pit bull owner - came in to be treated as he was attacked by his own dog. Bob states he did not want Aurora to become the repository for pit bulls following breed bans in other communities, and feels it is a public safety issue. He has heard from mothers and older people in support of the ban. The ban does not have a "sunset provision" as is commonly thought, but a "2 year study provision", during which time data will be collected concerning the ban. Bob is the owner of a Huskie, an Chihuahua and an "alien".
- Steve Hogan - Steve feels that the breed ban ordinance is unneeded and poorly drafted piece of legislation. He says the requirements are almost impossible to meet (for impacted dog owners) and that it should be overturned.
- Francis Peter Ma ks, Jr. - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Sum G. Nguyen - Left message on voice mail - no response yet
- Carol D. Wilkins - Carol says that at first, she favored the ban. However, she started talking to people during the course of the campaign and has changed her mind. She says she watched the council hearings on TV and feels strongly the council "had their minds made up" prior the the public hearings. She doesn't think they listened to the people they are supposed to represent. Carol says the when she's elected, she will not wait the 2 yer period to start working on revised the ban. She also feels that the ordinances licensing requirements and fees are too much money. She is also against mandating dogs to be muzzled in public. Carol states she will do all she can to overturn the breed ban and favors strict enforcement of dog laws, regardless of breed. Carol is the owner of a Beagle, and has in the past owned a Chow and a German Shepherd.
Dog owners - this is your wake up call. As a dog-owning citizen - you owe it to yourself, to every other dog owner in town, and to American dog owners across the country to vote in your local election.
Here's the question on everyone's mind..........
Will Aurora Council Candidates Wake Up & Smell The Dog?