Pit Bulls Banned, Neighbors upset

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Some Petersburg residents are gearing up for a "dog fight." Pit bull owners living in the Green Acres Mobile Home community are being given, what they call, an unfair ultimatum-- get rid of your dog or get evicted.

For more than a decade neighbors at the mobile home park have been allowed to have pit bulls on the property -- despite signing a lease that says otherwise.

Now, there's new management at the property who's decided to enforce the pit bull ban. Marie Madore adopted her pit bull, Buddy, 10 years ago.

"One of my friends passed away and they were going to put him down so I took him in," said Madore.

Madore and more than a dozen other pit bull owners living at Green Acres have a tough decision to make -- remove the dogs from the property or face eviction.

"I was angry and hurt because I have to explain to my children that we have to get rid of the dog," said Ariel Lilly.

Management sent letters to pit bull owners on the property stating it's a lease violation to have the animals.

In a rules and regulation policy booklet,  that management says was signed by every tenant,  states management has the right to ban any breed of dog from the community.

"The rules are there are no pit bulls. No dogs over 40 pounds," said property manager Matt Foster.

Neighbors don't dispute signing a lease banning the animals but say, that portion of the lease agreement wasn't enforced in the past and shouldn't be enforced now.

NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

"If a tenant agrees to abide by certain rules then its the right of the landlord to enforce those rules if they decide to," said Benjamin.

The pit bull owners say they're not giving up their pets or their homes.

David Phillips: "If he wants to take me to court we have to go."
Nicole Bell: "So you plan to fight?"
David Phillips: "Oh yes."

The owners have until February 29th to get rid of the pit bulls or find a new place to live. Many of the animal owners say they don't have the financial means to move.

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