Wednesday, June 07, 2023

'Ugly' and family relocate outside city limits

by Canda Harbaugh & Western News
| February 11, 2009 11:00 PM

Ugly the pit bull – or American bulldog, depending on who you ask – is living a quiet life now after gaining local fame last fall from his owner’s dispute with the City of Libby over a pit bull ordinance.

Barbara Turner and her family moved out of the city limits to a home with three acres of land for Ugly to trounce around in, though he’s not much for exercise.

“He’s obese and I can run faster than he can,” said Turner, “so as much as he’d like to chase something down the road, he can’t.”

Turner received her first citation for owning a pit bull or “dog which has the appearance of a pit bull” in June. She took the matter to the city council. The council denied a variance after she provided veterinarian documentation that Ugly is actually an American bulldog – a breed allowed within the city.

City Attorney Chuck Evans determined it was illegal for the city to grant an exception to a city ordinance and that it is up to the court system to decide whether or not the dog violates the ordinance.

Turner retained lawyer James Reitsma, but only consulted him once.

“I didn’t want to spend the money (on a lawyer) so as soon as I got a chance to move, I did,” Turner said. “I didn’t want to fight with the city anymore.”

Turner and her family were able to pull out of their rental lease a month early and move before the Dec. 18 court date. The city dropped the charges.  

Ugly will celebrate his seventh birthday next month with the kids he grew up with since he was a puppy.

“He came to us as a stray,” Turner recalled. “His nose was still pretty pink when he showed up at our door.”

At the time, Turner’s youngest child was an infant and her oldest was 3 years old.

Turner believes the ordinance would be reversed if she took it to court, but in the end, all she really wanted was to keep her dog.

She said she has no hard feelings.

“We didn’t get run out of town,” Turner said. “People were very kind to us.”