Pro-Pit Bull People Travel to Madisonville Meeting

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Madisonville's city council heard from locals and pit bull owners at Monday's meeting, all in response to the city's ban on dangerous dogs that specifically note pit bulls.

In addition to area residents, about half-a-dozen people from Austin and Bastrop County made the trip to express their displeasure with the city's recently passed ordinance.

"If a particular pit bull is vicious, we have no problem with that, but there's nothing vicious about a pit bull, inherently vicious about a pit bull," said Lydia Zaidman, who is a co-organizer of a pro-pit bull group out of Austin.

Alisha Badillo would agree with that. She, her husband and her kids care for Bruno, Lady and their puppy, Sara.

"Our dogs have never gotten out," Badillo said. " They've never caused trouble. They're not excessive barkers. They've never bit anybody. They've never growled at anybody. Nothing."

It's a family that could be split by Madisonville's new ordinance. To keep their furry friends, they would have to pay a $30 fee, provide the city with two photos of each dog, pay for a $100,000 insurance policy and build a 10-foot-by-10-foot pen with a top and a concrete base to hold the dogs.

"We can't afford that, so we have to hope that they change the law because like everybody else in town, nobody has the money for that," Badillo said.

Zaidman and her friends believe what's happening in Madisonville affects all pit bull owners. It's a fight they're willing to take up with the city, though one they'd like to end peacefully.

"That abuse is at the other end of the leash, and you have to target that end of the leash, or you're never going to solve the problem," Zaidman said. "They're going to move on to another breed of dogs. This isn't the right answer."

Madisonville Mayor Sonny Dean says they will take all comments from Monday into consideration, and that he wants to work with the citizens to make sure no one is treated unfairly.