Topeka A proposed ordinance being considered by the Topeka City Council would change the city’s ban on specific breeds of dogs and implement a program to reduce the population of wild cats.
A Topeka City Council committee discussed the proposal Thursday. The council is scheduled to consider it at a meeting next Tuesday.
Currently, Topeka prohibits anyone from owning pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers or an American Staffordshire terrier.
The proposed ordinance would replace that ban with a more general regulation on dangerous dogs. Dogs declared dangerous after a court process would have to be spayed or neutered.
Another section would allow the capture of feral cats, which would be neutered, vaccinated and returned to their original locations.
Assistant city attorney Kyle Smith said the proposal is intended to improve public safety, protect animals and save the city money.
He said scientists have determined that pit bulls aren’t any more dangerous than most other dog breeds.
“Yes, they are a big dog, but there are others,” Smith said. “If it’s a good dog, just because it’s a certain breed doesn’t mean it needs to be kicked out of the city or put down.”
The proposed ordinance would target animals with a “known propensity, tendency or disposition” to attack or cause injury. Dogs declared dangerous through a court process would be have to be spayed or neutered.
The ordinance also would allow private groups to trap feral cats, which would be neutered, vaccinated and have their ears cropped to for identification before being released into their original locations. The process could be funded by private groups, Smith said.
Such programs have helped other cities reduce their stray cat populations, Smith said.
While most of those at Tuesday’s meeting supported dropping the ban on specific dog breeds, some expressed concern over the provision concerning stray cats.
Resident Evelyn Davis said wild cats shouldn’t be returned to the areas where they are found because they prey on other wildlife.
“They catch birds and other native animals,” Davis said. “I don’t think you’re looking at valid science for the trap-neuter-release program.”
The ordinance also would not allow dog owners to leave their animals tethered without supervision for more than 15 minutes.