Osawatomie, KS considering repeal of 20+ year-old breed ban

The city of Osawtomie, Kansas is considering repealing their pit bull ban which, according to a city council member, has been in place for over twenty years.

Article 2, Section 211 of the Osawtomie city code states that it is unlawful for any person to keep, harbor or maintain any pit bull dog within the city.  Section 212 defines a “pit bull” as the following:

(a) Bull terrier breed of dogs;

(b) Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dogs;

(c) The American pit bull terrier breed of dogs;

(d) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dogs;

(e) Dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than above listed which breeds or mixed breeds are known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers;

(f) Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breed of bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier;

(g) Any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers; or a combination of any of these breeds.

The move to repeal came at the request of Malcolm Davis, an Osawtomie resident, whose boxer-mix dog, Kai, was identified as a pit bull by a police officer while the two were out on a walk.  Kai’s DNA test indicated she was 17% pit bull terrier and, therefore, the city’s breed specific ordinance prohibits her from living within the city limits.  Once informed his dog was banned, Mr. Davis complied with the law and removed Kai from the city limits, but he also searched for assistance to get her back home with him.  Little did he know he would find that help through city councilwoman Tamara Maichel.  She brought Kai’s plight, and a panel of dog experts, to the last city council meeting to see if some changes might be made to allow Kai back in her home.

After hearing statistics that show pit bulls are not more dangerous than other breeds, that media reports of pit bull bites tend to go national and other dog bites remain local news, a veterinarian’s testimony that dispels the rumor of pit bull’s locking jaws that clamp and will not release a victim, and further testimony that blamed bad owners for turning good dogs vicious, the city council agreed to give the breed ban a second look.  In fact, the mayor stated that since the ordinance was passed long before any of the current members of the city council were sworn into office, it was time for a review.

Councilwomen Maichel and Karen LaDuex were appointed to a committee to study the issue and bring back recommendations.  Maichel wants to take time on the issue and give their constituents a chance to voice their concern or approval.

Maichels said she plans to bring recommendations to the May 9 council meetings, with hope that at the May 23 meeting the council will be able to vote on a new ordinance.

The story published in the Osawatomie Graphic is very positive, and I encourage you to read and comment on the article, being sure to thank and encourage city officials for discussing and moving toward repeal.

Osawatomie is a small town of less than 5,000 people.  Considering residents, local animal welfare advocates, and city officials are working well together on this issue, in my opinion, outside intervention is not necessary at this time.  Certainly if you live in the area, I would encourage you to reach out to your city officials and let them know you support this move.  I have no doubt that if outside support is needed, we will be asked to make our voices heard.

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