ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- Neighbors in one Atlantic Beach neighborhood tell Action News they are living in fear.
Rosalind Hoffman has lived on Magnolia Street for 25 years. She says three pitbulls living in her otherwise family-friendly neighborhood have been terrorizing pedestrians for three years. Fifteen violations have been filed against the dogs in the past six months alone.
"People need to be responsible for their dogs, and my question is, is this not enough?"
On Monday, Hoffman and other neighbors demanded city leaders take action. Mike Classey, the Atlantic Beach Chief of Police, declared the three dogs dangerous in early October, and attended a hearing requested by the dogs owner, Suzanna Leviseur, on Monday. Neighbors asked commissioners to uphold his declaration.
Leviseur claimed she was not aware any complaints had been filed until recently.
"We talked about walking one at a time, we can get get muzzles, we can do all those things," she told commissioners. "These dogs are my daughters children, and she now knows the severity of these violations."
City leaders unanimously decided the dogs can stay in the home if they're safely confined on the property and not walked in the neighborhood. In addition, Leviseur was encouraged to make improvments to her fence.
Classey tells Action News that for a nuisance violation to occur, two incidents must occur within 30 days. Action News found two incidents took place in May, two in July, four in August, four in September, and two in October.
We asked Classey why it took so long for the city to take action. He says some of the neighbors did not report the incidents when they occured, causing it to take longer than 30 days for a violation to come to his attention.
"I think many of the neighbors would like to see more. Many of the neighbors have expressed to me that they want the dogs gone. We don't have the authority under the ordinance to take the dogs right now, but I think the neighbors would feel a whole lot better if they weren't in the neighborhood anymore."
Classey says he does not believe the neighbors' issues are related to the dogs' breed, but rather the owners inability to control them. If another violation is filed, the dogs will be impounded.