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USA: BSL for Albuquerque

ANOTHER DAY, another State, another enactment of BSL. This time Albuquerque, New Mexico is the battleground for the latest plans to introduce Breed Specific Legislation throughout the USA.

Despite alleged threats and other attempts to discourage her from proposing legislation to ban Pit Bulls in New Mexico, Senator Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Albuquerque, intends to persevere.

"I hope I will at least be able to come up with some legislation so the people of New Mexico can be safer than they are right now," said Beffort in a local newspaper report. "The main (goal) is to keep the public safe, especially children."

Nationwide, she said, the village of Tijeras has one of the most successful ordinances prohibiting pit bull ownership. "The Tijeras ordinance has been upheld in court," Beffort added, planning to base her legislation on this ordinance. "That's important when facing objections to my proposed legislation not only from pit bull owners and breeders but from kennel clubs and pit bull rescue organisations."

The Tijeras ordinance, approved in 1984, has weathered challenges in District Court and the state Court of Appeals. It legally applies to any breeds or crossbreeds of dogs having physical pit bull characteristics. It gives the village authority to impound or destroy any ‘pit bulls’ or pit bull crosses found within its limits.

More than a decade has passed since the resolution of the last court case involving the Tijeras ordinance, but Mayor Gloria Chavez told councillors last week that there might be more to come.

As many as four different village residents are currently ignoring the ordinance, Chavez told councillors at an Oct. 12th council meeting.

At least one of the offending residents is breeding pit bulls for sale, she said.

A large part of the problem, Chavez said, lies with Bernalillo County animal control. An agreement between the village and the county gives the county's animal control division enforcement authority within the village. But "Bernalillo County doesn't want to come get the dogs," Chavez said.