BSL ALERT: Gardner City, Kansas

Gardner City Councilman Fotovich has requested the city code be revised to ban “pit bulls.” The city previously had a breed specific ordinance before moving to the current breed-neutral vicious dog ordinance. Representatives from the police and animal control departments have voiced their positions that breed specific ordinances are too difficult to enforce. In addition, it appears the majority of the council are against BSL, as well.

It was determined that the proposal to ban pit bulls would be placed on an upcoming agenda, most likely on the September 5th agenda.

Please take the opportunity to send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE letters in opposition to an ordinance that would regulate and/or restrict the ownership of pit bulls, and encourage city officials to keep the breed-neutral ordinance already in place.

Mayor and City Council,,,,,

City Clerk
Doreen Pesek
120 E. Main
Gardner, Kansas 66030

The Gardner City Council meets the first and third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Council Agendas and Minutes:

Councilmember Fotovich requested that a change to the City Code that would ban “Pit Bulls.” The City of Gardner had a pit bull ban in the past, but moved to the “Vicious” animal ban in 2007. According to Captain Jim Moore of the Gardner Police Department, “When the breed specific ban was in place these dogs were registered as a ‘boxer-mix’ or some other ‘mix,’ but not as a pit bull.” Much of the discussion centered around how to determine if a specific dog is indeed a pit bull.

Animal Control Officer, Jason Willis stated, “When I first came to the City all of the loose dog calls came in as pit bulls because the public believed that we would only respond to pit bull calls. Most often it was a boxer or some other breed.” Council President, Kristi Harrison asked, “If we enact a breed specific ban, how would that work?” Captain Moore responded to her question with the following response, “On complaint, just as we do now.”

Councilmember Fotovich brought up the following points:

• Many insurance companies will not cover pit bull liability on homeowner policies.
• Pit Bulls have a higher rate of bites than other breeds.

Officer Willis pointed out that there are 4 different breeds that are classified as pit bulls. He also suggested that a higher percentage of pit bull bites are reported to the police and that nips and bites from Chihuahuas and Spaniels are less likely to be reported to the police. According to the US Humane Society website at least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S. during the 20 years studied.

According to Joe Oldham, State Farm agent in Gardner, “We do not approve or deny coverage based upon breed, we look at the history of the individual animal.” According to research conducted by Dr James Serpell and reported in the Journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, The top three breeds for dog bites are Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russell Terriers. Dr Serpell reported that research into canine aggression has almost exclusively involved analysis of dog bite statistics. But these were potentially misleading as most bites were not reported. Big dogs might have acquired a reputation for being aggressive because their bites were more likely to require medical attention.

Following extensive discussion on the issue, it was determined that a proposal to ban pit bulls would be placed upon an upcoming agenda. The ordinance change will probably appear on the September 5th agenda. Items discussed in a work session and placed on the agenda typically have the consensus support of the Council. In this case, however, it appears that the Council has placed the proposed change on the agenda in order to take a formal vote on the issue. Based upon questions and statements made during the discussion, a majority will most likely vote against the proposal.


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