Lawler said his dog, named Karma, is “just a big baby” and a good companion who's never caused any trouble.
“My kids jump on her like she's a horse, and she loves every minute of it,” he said. His kids are 8, 6 and 3.
Melissa Murray owns two dogs, neither of which is a pit bull. But she did own two pit bulls in the past.
She doesn't believe banning any breed of dog is the answer.
“I just worry about what they're going to ban next,” she said.
Murray believes that “all the problems with dogs come on the other end of the leash.”
Before she took ownership of him, one of her pit bulls attended canine kindergarten, a class through the city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
“And he was the star of the class,” she said.
She's known lots of small dogs that were nastier than her pit bulls. She believes all dog owners should be required to pass a dog obedience or canine kindergarten class.
City: Statistics back ordinance
Research shows that pit bulls have played a disproportionately large role in the number and severity of bites in Aberdeen since 2008, Altman said.
Since 2008, there have been 191 dog attack or bite incidents in Aberdeen. Of those, 31 involved pit bulls, 28 involved cats and 25 involved labrador retrievers, according to the city.
There is not a great difference in the pit bull and lab figures, Altman said.
However, “There are approximately nine times as many labs in the community as pit bulls,” he said.
Those statements have nothing to do with Altman's personal opinion, he said. His comments reflect the legal research that he's done as directed by the City Council. There is enough support for the idea that the council feels “that it is worth investing my time in preparing” a legal and constitutional ordinance that regulates pit bulls, Altman said.
In talking about the need for a ban, “I'm justifying the ordinance that I've been told to write.”
Altman does not feel banning any other breeds is necessary.
“Because those breeds are not statistically overrepresented in both number of bites and severity of bites. And the pit bull is,” he said.
Murray is not convinced.
“I think you can have statistics say whatever you want to say,” she said.