For the last several months, a resident of Ottawa, Kansas has been working to repeal the city’s pit bull ordinance that targets American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Bull Terriers, as well as mixes of those breeds.
Jason Berve asserts that the current ordinance, enacted in 1987, does nothing to protect residents from the real problem: irresponsible and negligent dog owners. Its worth noting, though, that the city DOES have a mechanism in place that targets the true problem. Ottawa has a generic vicious dog ordinance which, according to the police chief, is rigorously enforced. If that’s the case, the generic vicious dog ordinance adequately addresses ALL vicious dogs (and their irresponsible owners) and renders the city’s discriminatory breed specific ordinance unnecessary and cumbersome.
At their November 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 breed ban. According to Mayor Sara Caylor, the purpose of the hearing was to get input from residents on both sides of the issue, but she went on to clarify that no further action on the ordinance was planned thereafter.
Mr. Berve addressed the commission at the public hearing on January 8, 2014, once again with a full chamber of supporters behind him.
While the commissioners stopped short of saying they would consider lifting the ban at the public forum, some of their comments seemed to indicate they were not inclined to repeal the language specific to “pit bulls.” However, keeping in mind the mayor’s position that no further action would be taken, it is a positive sign that the city commissioners agreed to revisit the matter at the next commissioners meeting on February 5, 2014.
Ottawa residents, please take advantage of this opportunity and encourage your city officials to repeal their breed specific ordinance and simply use their generic vicious dog ordinance – a law that the Ottawa police are already enforcing and that will protect and better serve the entire community.