Garden City, KS: Officials to review, possibly repeal, pit bull ordinance

At the Garden City, Kansas city commissioners meeting on December 3, 2013, Luci Douglass, a local attorney, asked city officials to remove the breed specific language from the city’s vicious dog ordinance.

The ordinance, passed in 2002, specifically identifies pit bulls as vicious, and defines a “pit bull” as any American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed, or mixed breed that has the appearance of being predominantly one of those three breeds.

Douglass argued that the current city code has a vicious dog provision that addresses any vicious dog, and there is no need to include a specific reference to pit bulls.

In her presentation, Douglass advised the commissioners that the hype about pit bulls being more prone to attacks or biting has been proven wrong over the years.  She conducted her own research on fatal dog attacks and found 28 dog-related fatalities from 1999 to 2002 documented by news reports, and just two were pit bulls.

Douglas also told the commissioners that there is no scientific evidence that pit bulls are more dangerous than any other large dog, but that there is substantial evidence to support that chained, unsocialized dogs become territorial and are prone to attack.

Upon completion of her presentation, the city attorney, Randy Grisell, said he would have no objection to reviewing the ordinance, and that he’d previously talked with the police department about amending it.  Mr. Grisell speculated that the breed specific language had been added to the ordinance because of the way “certain individuals in town were using pit bulls at the time,” but that the city is able to regulate and address those types of situations through other law enforcement means.

The city manager agreed that it would be fair to evaluate whether the breed specific language is necessary since the changes were made more than 10 years ago.

Mr. Grisell will bring an amended draft ordinance for the commission to consider at an upcoming commissioners meeting.

If you live in Garden City, Kansas, please reach out to your city officials and thank them for considering the removal of the breed specific language in the ordinance, and encourage them to move forward and strike the provision related to “pit bulls” from the current city code.  I would also suggest visiting the Garden City Telegram’s webpage where the article  discussing the December 3 commissioners meeting is found, and leave comments encouraging the city to repeal the breed specific language.

I just have to say that I am so impressed with all the grassroots efforts we’ve seen over the past few months!   The determination of advocates to make positive change is paying off in Kansas, as well as across the country.  Education and truthful public relations can make an incredible impact, and we are beginning to see our efforts pay off, resulting in laws that create safer communities that benefit ALL members of the community!

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