On Friday, KSPR (ABC) 33 did a story on the Springfield pit bull ordinance five years later. Even though the number of dog bites remains the same (actually slightly higher), Springfield, Missouri animal control supervisor Randy Barnts says the ordinance has been successful in reducing vicious dog attacks. Really? Isn’t the main purpose of an animal control ordinance to create and maintain safer communities? If dog bites haven’t been reduced, the community is not safer, thus the ordinance IS NOT working.
The one thing Springfield’s ordinance is successful at, however, is killing pit bulls and pit bull mixes, as once impounded, they cannot be adopted or released to rescue organizations. Moreover, in Springfield, the determination of “pit bull” or “pit bull mix” is based on nothing more than a “subjective call” of animal control officers. Quick grammar lesson folks:
Subjective: (1) of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc: subjective views; (2) existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself
What does this mean? Of the more than 1,500 dogs euthanized in Springfield over the last five years due to the “pit bull ordinance,” how many were really “pit bulls,” and how many were dogs that an inexperienced, untrained and/or biased animal control officer simply thought looked like a “pit bull?” Even more frustrating, how many were simply innocent victims of an ineffective and inhumane law based on ignorance and fear? In my subjective opinion, I’d say fairly close to 100%.
Since 2008, City councilman Doug Burlison has been trying to get the city to repeal the current breed specific ordinance and pass a generic vicious dog ordinance. The most recent attempt for change came this past July. http://blessthebullys.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/springfield-mo-to-review-pit-bull-ordinance/
I strongly encourage Springfield residents to support Councilman Burlison in his efforts to move in this direction, and to keep encouraging him to make this an issue.