“I’m not using dogs as a way to get rid of people I don’t like downtown,” Pryor said. “That’s not my goal here.”
Councilor Emily Semple voted against the ban because she said, “It does exclude homeless people because they have nowhere to leave their dog.” Dogs, she added, give the homeless “companionship, protection and warmth.”
In one downtown incident, a dog attacked another dog owned by a city library employee, killing the employee’s dog and injuring the employee, said Councilor Betty Taylor.
She called the incident terrifying but voted against the ordinance.
“We don’t ban a whole class (of people) just because something bad happens,” she said.
The ordinance does not apply to service dogs for disabled people, police dogs and dogs inside motor vehicles.
It also exempts an area in front of a downtown location that serves hundreds of free lunches four days a week.