JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Neighbors in one Northside community are fighting back against a woman looking to move in. She's the president of Pit Sisters, an organization that rescues and adopts out pit bulls to find them loving homes.
The neighbors have taken the fight to City Hall and city leaders are now getting involved.
"I think it's great what you're doing but you need to do it somewhere else," said neighbor Ricky Kerr.
Kerr and his wife built their American dream -- a new house on a quiet street. They're upset to learn Pit Sisters President Jen Watson wants to move in.
Action News reached out to Watson. She said she intends to move into the property with her own dogs. She said she plans to foster a couple pit bulls at a time - this will not be Pit Sister's headquarters.
The organization's mission is to provide voices, homes and love to the animals and to remove the stereotypes associated with the bully breeds.
Councilman John Crescimbeni said there is nothing wrong with her owning dogs at the location. The problem arises if she adopts them out from there for a fee.
"If someone wants to move in with 50 pit bulls as personal pets, no, there's nothing neighbors can do about it. If somebody moves in with 50 pit bulls that they're fostering with every intent and subsequently adopting them to people and charging a fee, yes, they can do something about that," he said.
Jennifer Coscia runs a similar cat sanctuary and rescue across the street. She's been there for years and says her mission is now on the lline, too. It is a price she said she is willing to pay to keep her neighborhood pit bull-free.
"If I have to close my doors because every rescue will be targeted, I will do that. It'll be a shame," she said.
Coscia stressed it is nothing personal, she and the neighbors appreciate what the Pit Sisters are doing for the dogs.
Crescimbeni said he now wants to reevaluate the city's zoning process because there are some 200 pet adoption facilities run privately like this across the city. He wants them all to continue what he calls an important mission.
Pit Sisters released this statement Thursday on Facebook:
"Official Pit Sisters Statement: We have been made aware that there are rumors of us moving our headquarters into a residential area in the city. That is completely false. The President of Pit Sisters is trying to buy a primary residence in a residential area. The neighbors (which include another animal rescue) are opposing because "pit bull" type dogs are going to be there. The city of Jacksonville and Duval County do not allow for breed specific discrimination and we will not stand for this type of discrimination. Please be on standby to help with phone calls and emails if needed. This is someone trying to buy a home and she is being given a hassle because she happens to be our President and she happens to have "pit bull" type dogs. We appreciate your support and will keep you posted as things progress."