Zeus acts as an unofficial therapy dog for his owner, O’hara Owens of Moreauville, La., who has neck problems and must use a wheelchair.
“I can sit here if I’m in pain. He comes up there and he notices it before I even make any noise,” Owens told KALB.
But Owens and her family may soon have to say goodbye to Zeus, who happens to be a Pit Bull. At a town council meeting in October, Moreauville officials voted to ban the breed, as well as Rottweilers, because they are “vicious.”
According to a letter sent to owners of these two breeds, they must re-home their beloved pets by Dec. 1. Otherwise the dogs will be taken away for “further disposition,” meaning they will be killed.
(Appalled? A similar ban in Denver has been in effect since 1989. Thousands of Pit Bulls — many of them family pets — have been killed since then.)
Owens told KALB she has never had trouble with Zeus. “The breed is not vicious. It’s the owner,” she said. “It is the way that you raise them.”
She added that she will fight to keep her beloved dog. “Like I told them, they’re going to have to take him from my cold, dead hands before they get a hold of him.”
Moreauville alderman Penn Lemoine told KALB there have been dog attacks in the town, “but I don’t think they’re documented. We had several residents that were complaining about not being able to walk along the neighborhoods because these dogs were basically running along town.”
Lemoine, who has a German Shepherd, said the ban, as well as Moreauville’s plan to kill Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, are perfectly legal.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL), which includes bans like these, is legal in some states, including Louisiana. But because it is so unfair — not to mention costly to enforce and proven to be ineffective in increasing public safety — it is opposed by President Obama and virtually all major animal welfare organizations: the ASPCA, AVMA, HSUS, etc., etc. For these reasons, the trend has, fortunately, been to repeal useless bans instead of create them.
Lemoine did say that if the public outcry against the ban is strong enough, it may be reconsidered.
A Moveon.org petition asking Moreauville officials to drop the ban has nearly 50,000 signatures as of late Saturday afternoon — that’s quite a public outcry.
“This is amazing y’all!!!” Owens wrote earlier today on the Saving Zeus community page she created on Facebook (which currently has more than 11,000 “likes”).
“I’m reading comments and yes, I must admit the amazing support and words of encouragement have turned the waterworks on! I’ve now gone from a roll of toilet paper to a towel! Ya’ll rock and as the voice for Zeus we love ya’ll.”
The next Moreauville council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 8. To sign the petition, click here.
Photo via Facebook