A resident of Ottawa, Kansas is encouraging the city commission to repeal its breed-specific ordinance that prohibits pit bulls within the city limits. Jason Berve has addressed the city commissioners three times to present his case, and at the commissioners meeting in early November, he had a near-capacity crowd of supporters behind him.
Mr. Berve is seeking to repeal the city’s breed specific ordinance in order to make Ottawa safer for the entire community, people and animals. He told council members that the problem with breed specific legislation is that it focuses on the wrong issue, a dog’s appearance, instead of the irresponsible and negligent owners who create and/or encourage problem behavior. The failure to focus on the truly dangerous dogs and their reckless owners puts the community at risk.
The Ottawa Herald, the local newspaper following Mr. Berve’s progress on this matter, points out in a recent article that Ottawa is one of many cities in Kansas that has breed specific laws. What the article fails to point out, however, is that several cities in Kansas have repealed or decided against breed discriminatory ordinances recently, including Osawatomie, which repealed its 20 year-old pit bull ban in June of this year.
At their last study session, the city commissioners agreed to hold a public hearing to allow residents the opportunity to voice their opinion with respect to repealing the city’s pit bull ban. The hearing is set for January 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory Street.
According to Mayor Sara Caylor, the purpose of the hearing is to get input from residents on both sides of the issue. She is encouraging those residents who cannot attend the meeting in January to submit their comments via email.
While a hearing has been set, city officials say no action is planned thereafter. That being said, if the majority of Ottawa residents support repeal, the odds the city would move forward and take their wishes into consideration is very likely.
Ottawa residents, your city officials want to hear from you. Please take advantage of this opportunity and encourage them to repeal their pit bull ban and replace it with a breed-neutral dangerous dog ordinance that will protect the entire community.