Fall River families fight to get dogs back

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 --- 9:40pm

Fall River, in Columbia County, isn't that big. It has less than 2000 residents. But, a few families there are making sure their voices are heard and speaking up for those who can't.

The Schwartz family has been down one member since April. It all started when their youngest, Sophia, got bit by the neighbor's dog. The neighbor got fined, but so did the Schwartz family

"He (the police officer) handed us a ticket for $187 for our dog” says Jon Schwartz.

The Schwartz's dog, Bailey, is a pit mix. “Our friend's son could pull on her tail, pull on her ears and she'd lick him” says Jon.

The problem is that pit bulls are banned in Fall River, so Bailey was forced to leave the village immediately and now lives with a relative in Illinois. “It's really like having to give up a kid you've had" Jon tells NBC 15.

It's a feeling Maddie Buchda knows all to well. Buchda also lives in Fall River. She too had to give up, not one but, two pits, after getting hit with double the fine.

"We don't have pure bred dogs. And what we had we didn't think was a problem” says Buchda.

According to a village ordinance, residents are prohibited from having any pit bull, even if the dog just looks like or acts like a pit bull.

"It was basically 'hey we heard you have a dog that looks like this, here's a ticket'” says Buchda.

So now, Buchda, the Schwartz family and one other local family, who was also forced to give up their pit, have teamed up to overturn the ordinance. They're pushing for a breed-neutral ordinance.

NBC 15 has reached out to the village and is awaiting comment.

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