Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Dodge City Commission bans pit bulls

Ordinance opponents say cruel owners, not dogs, should be punished

November 3, 2004

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— Dodge City is banning pit bulls, although city residents already owning one of the dogs can keep it if they register it properly.

The ordinance banning the breed was approved by the City Commission on a 5-0 vote Monday. It will take effect Feb. 1, with current pit bull owners having until March 3 to get their animals licensed with the city.

Registration requires a $50 fee, and the dog owners must have show proof that they have $100,000 in liability insurance. They also will need to have a special locked pen or kennel, or the animal must be kept indoors.

During the summer two small dogs were killed by a pit bull, which was later destroyed. City Manager John Deardoff said there had been at least two other pit bull attacks since then, including one over the weekend in which a woman was bitten on the arm.

Opponents of the ban said that pit bulls were being unfairly maligned, and that the real issue was owners who handled dogs of any breed improperly.

"Go after the people. Punish them for making mean dogs," said Sandra Staats, who presented a petition to the commission bearing the names of 202 people opposed to the ordinance.

City officials have cited a 1989 Kansas Supreme Court ruling upholding an Overland Park ordinance. The ruling described pit bulls as "uniquely dangerous" animals more capable of savage behavior than other dogs.

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