GARDENDALE, Ala. — Dog owners in Gardendale now have the freedom to choose any breed.
The city council voted to repeal an ordinance forbidding any person from owning a pit bull on Monday night.
Dr. Ted Hankes is a veterinarian who remembers when the original ordinance was passed. Dr. Hankes told ABC 33/40 some of the owners of patients he sees at All Creatures Pet Hospital in Gardendale were often concerned before the ordinance was repealed.
"They might have some relief," says Dr. Hankes.
Tammy Beasley doesn't live in Gardendale but calls herself a proud pit bull owner.
Beasley told ABC 33/40, “I think it’s a great thing. Pit bulls get a bad rap.”
Dr. Hankes says the ordinance was never strictly enforced.
“initially when they first passed it a lot of people were coming in and asking questions," says the pet doctor.
Now the city relies on "Emily's Law" which is a state law passed in 2018.
Emily Colvin was killed and attacked by dogs outside her home in November of 2017.
The law focuses more on holding owners accountable for a dog's behavior if someone is injured or killed.
Greater Birmingham Humane Society CEO Allison Cornelius said in a statement: "GBHS is pleased that the Gardendale City Council voted to repeal the ban on the ownership of pit bulls and pit bull-mixes in the city, reinstating residents’ right to adopt any breed of dog they choose."
Although Dr. Hankes says not all breeds are the same. He believes the original ordinance, that is now repealed, was not all that bad.
“Honestly probably was a good idea because some animal breeds we know can be dangerous to people. Most are not. Most pit bulls are not. But there is a list of breeds that tend to attack people and sometimes even kill people. Your pit bull, your bull mastiffs, your chow, your German Shepherd sometimes can," he says.
Beasley says she can't believe an ordinance was ever targeting certain breeds.
“I don’t think it was right. We as dog lovers that do own them, love them, and treat them right. Like they are supposed to be treated,” she says.
Under "Emily's Law", if someone files a sworn statement saying a dog is dangerous then an investigation can begin.
From there, if an investigator determines a dog is dangerous the case goes to municipal court.
And if the court finds the dog to be a threat, seriously injured, or killed a person, it will be put to sleep.