Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is the Mueller Redevelopment Austin's Most Pet UN-Friendly Neighborhood?

When the City of Austin released plans for its own, master-planned community at the old Austin Mueller Airport, a lot of people (including us) had reason to be excited. Mixed-use neighborhoods, parks, wide sidewalks and front porches were promised--- the kind of neighborhood we would all like to be a part of.

But then came the great animal-shelter debate of 2007. The City's shelter management decided it would be best to move the animal shelter away from its prime, central location in the heart of Austin's vibrant downtown in favor of a site in an industrial area on the City's eastern outskirts. At the time, we wondered why the Mueller Redevelopment wasn't being considered for the new shelter because it was city-owned property, being designed as a mixed-use, walkable development. What more could we want for the new animal shelter? Why Mueller was "off the table" was a question we didn't learn the answer to until years later: As is turns out, the leaders of the master plan lobbied the City Council against including the animal shelter in its design. Mueller 1, Animals 0.

If that wasn't enough to be pissed off at those who designed the Mueller Redevelopment, we've now discovered that the leaders of the neighborhood have also decided to ban all owners of pit bulls from the neighborhood. In Section K-2 of the Mueller Redevelopment's Rules and Regulations, there it is: breed discrimination in the worst form. The rules expressly ban ownership of a "pit bull terrier."

It is truly remarkable that in a City as progressive as Austin, the leaders of the City's own master-planned community have fallen to ignorance (at best) when it comes to breed discrimination. Anyone who has taken a moment to do a little research could have learned that pit bulls are among the best dogs you'll ever own, once considered America's Nanny for their calm, steady stewardship of families and children. Mueller 2, Animals 0.

So who would be banned from the Mueller Redevelopment based on its leaders' ignorance? Well, we could start with former Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. Throw in Helen Keller and General George S. Patton. Celebrities John Stewart, Jessica Alba, and Brad Pitt are also banned from living in the Mueller Redevelopment. Geez, come to think of it, I guess we're in good company.