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Some neighbors fighting to keep pit bulls out

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Updated: 10/18/2013 12:41 am
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."

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BlueMan1991 - 10/31/2013 12:25 AM
1 Vote
This is absolutely outrageous!!!!!!!!!!! All because of a TYPE of dog, excuse me but that is unforgivable. that is the same as saying "OH MY GOD YOU ARE NOT MY RACE , NO YOU CANT LIVE NEAR ME" Really !!!!!!!!!!! Some people should not be allowed to breathe. much less procreate. What is this world coming to ? Losing more faith in humanity every day !!!!!!!!!

Mellymel40 - 10/30/2013 11:39 PM
0 Votes
Approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered. If I am not mistaken rescues, including this one, spay and neuter all the dogs before they are adopted out. So guess that would eliminate her dogs from this statistic, which anyone could look up online before spouting opinions as facts. Also, Approximately 25% of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs - any self respecting pit owner/rescuer would never do this, so guess that eliminates her dogs from this statistic as well. Also, approx. 2,000 children are killed every year by their parents/caretaker. Guess we should outlaw parents from moving in too huh? Another little known fact: according to the Humane Society of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Veterinary Medical Association, no one dog breed is more likely to bite than others. And last but not least from the 2012 Report on Dog Bites from the National Canine Research Council: "Dog bite related fatalities are exceedingly rare. In 2012, thirty-four (34) fatalities occurred within avhuman population of more than 310 million and a canine population estimated at over 70 million.The interactions between dogs and humans are so numerous and complex that no one factor can possibly be considered, in isolation from any other factors, to be the sole cause. There is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely to injure a human being than another kind of dog." - These are facts people. More facts Pit Bulls have never been accused of molestation, rape, drug dealing / trafficking, stealing, breaking and entering, grand theft auto, etc...can you people in this neighborhood say the same thing about each of your neighbors or the children, parents, family members, friends, guests, visitors, etc...I would worry more about the 2 legged threats than the 4 legged ones!

Sophie Cairns - 10/21/2013 12:35 PM
0 Votes
Perhaps the best way to handle this is to do what other communities do: LIMIT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DOGS ON ANY PROPERTY.... PERIOD. no more than 4-6.... The amounts of poop and pee are prodigious and should NOT be inflicted on the community.... and Pit owners are notoriously bad neighbors in this respect... not counting keeping dangerous dogs on the property. The city/community has a right in insist on insurance to at least cover the damages if these dogs 'accidentally' get loose and wreck havoc.

maxgold20 - 10/21/2013 6:24 AM
0 Votes
I would be annoyed too if some pitbull nutter wanted to move next door to me. How pit bulls aren't outlawed is beyond me, as it stands currently pitbulls killed more human beings than all other dog breeds combined. And their are well over 400 breeds of dog, the majority of which have NEVER killed anybody. Currently, pitbulls kill someone every 14 days, and these fatalities are now inevitable thanks to an aggressive and sociopathic pitbull advocacy. These sick freaks think that every citizens Universal Human Right to safety & security is rendered null and void because they desire to possess a fighting breed of dog such as a pitbull. Suggesting that lobbying for Breed bans as unfair discrimination is akin to suggesting that drink drivers are being discriminated against by Drink Driving legislation. Just like drink driving, pitbull ownership presents an unacceptable actuarial risk to innocent citizens. Consider owning a non fighting breed of dog as akin to driving while sober (acceptable actuarial risk) and owning a fighting or dangerous breed of dog as akin to driving while intoxicated (unacceptable actuarial risk). Just as drink driving laws aren't about if every drink driver will harm or kill someone, the pitbull issue isn't about if every pitbull is dangerous. The whole issue is the amount of actuarial risk you expose other people too by your choices and actions! The only way you can be opposed to BSL, is if you DENY or IGNORE the fact that pitbulls regularly maim, maul and kill innocent people and animals. These inevitable and regular attacks aren't because the breed is popular, it's because they were deliberately bred to fight too the death, it comes as no surprise that the recent study 'Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs 2011' concluded If the risk of fatal attack is normalized to Labrador Retrievers (the most common registered dog in the States), the relative risk of death related to pit bull attacks is more than 2500 times higher.

Patty - 10/19/2013 11:28 PM
3 Votes
I'd welcome them in our neighborhood. People who have compassion for animals usually make good neighbors.

daleeff - 10/19/2013 11:15 PM
2 Votes
All people hear about pits are the ones that have been trained to attack or trained to fight other dogs. If the pits are socialized around other people and animals while its a pup growing then its no different than having a poodle. When people raise any dog around no one or no other animals then yes it can be aggressive no matter what breed they are. I know because I have had poodles and rotties and even raised some pit bulls. Used pit bulls as hog hunting dogs and we CAUGHT the hogs which means the dogs never bit the first one they would just chase them back to us. I so wish news etc would show the good ones as much as they do the bad ones.

Pitt Lover - 10/19/2013 10:23 PM
3 Votes
I don't see the problem with this woman moving in here. I have 3 Pitt Bulls, all are very loving animals just like any other animal. Not all Pitts are the mean stereotype that the close minded American public think they are. If you raise them right they are big cuddle buddies. My grandbaby crawls all over my Pitts. They have never once tried to harm her , even when she has accidentally hurt them. I am a responsible Pitt owner, as I'm sure this woman is. I keep my dogs in my yard. I would never want to see them hurt anything, but lets face it, ANY dog who finds another animal in it's space will most likely respond in an aggressive way. Therefore keep your animals out of their yard, don't allow your children to tease ANY animal and stop discriminating against this woman and this particular breed of dog because of your ignorance of the breed.Shame on all of you towns people involved in this shenanigan, she has made it very clear this will not become their headquarters, therefor all of this is unnecessary and very mean spirited!

freycinet - 10/19/2013 8:00 PM
2 Votes
Translation.. I have been in this neighborhood for a long time with my colony of cats. You cannot move in here with your pack of dogs because they are not welcome. They threaten my cats ability to roam the neighborhood unimpeded. In fact they will prevent my cats from using your yard as a kitty litter box at their leisure and that is definitely an infringement on their kitty rights.

taco1 - 10/19/2013 2:23 PM
2 Votes
Any Animal Can Attack..... Look At What Some Of The Human Animals Are Doing Right Now.... Shame On You Who Are Uneducated About This Wonderful Breed Who's Descendants Might Have Nanny Dogged Your Grand Parents, Great Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, And So On.... They Were And Still Are One Of The Most Loyal Loving Breed On The Planet... Don't Hate Them Because Bad People Taught Them To Do Bad Things...

Kresaera - 10/19/2013 1:57 PM
1 Vote
@aeroheadjo - There won't be 30 pit bulls living next to them. She isn't moving the rescue there, she's buying the house for herself! It's very sad that people can't see past the horrible stereotypes of these dogs. I have raised my children with pit bulls and my husband and his sister were both raised with pit bulls. They can be just like any other family pet, only more loyal and usually more loving!
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