Back in February, I was contacted by a resident of El Dorado, Kansas with news that her city commissioners had agreed to entertain discussions on repealing the city’s pit bull ban. She asked for support in encouraging her city leaders to replace their breed specific ordinance with a law that deems dogs dangerous based on their behavior, and targets irresponsible and negligent owners whose create problem dogs in a community.
The current ordinance, Title 6 § 20.040, enacted in 1988, states as follows:
It is unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the city any pit bull dog as defined by administrative regulation; provided that pit bull dogs properly registered with the city by March 1, 1988, and kept within the city continuously since that time, may remain within the city subject to the requirements set forth in Section 6.20.060 of this chapter.
When I spoke with the City Manager’s assistant in February, she confirmed that the commissioners would be to holding a work session geared toward collecting, distributing and discussing information that will help the commissioners conduct their due diligence on the issue, and it was considered a positive sign that the commissioners agreed to take up the twenty-six year old ban.
However, the optimism residents felt was replaced with frustration when we learned in April that the city commission tabled the discussions on repealing the ban on pit bulls and, instead, actually began researching additional breeds to be regulated by the city. At that time, the public works director indicated that up to 12 dog breeds were being researched, including Doberman Pinscher, chow, German Shepherd, Rottweiler and others.
At this week’s commissioners meeting on Monday, August 4, dozens of residents voiced their strong opposition to the proposal to not only retain the current breed specific law, but to implement regulations including an annual registration fee, mandatory microchipping, sterilization, and liability insurance for additional breeds the city deemed “dangerous.”
Fortunately, the opposition to the establishment of a “dangerous breed list” wasn’t limited to residents. Some commissioners said they, too, did not support the list created by city staff because it doesn’t acknowledge the dogs who actually are problematic but, instead, punishes all dogs.
An alternate proposal of city staff is a three-strike system where pet owners would be required to pay significant fines for the first and second incident before the animal is removed from the city, as well as good registration programs, altering, or microchipping.
No decisions were made on Monday night, and the commissioners advised they will continue to research the matter.
Please continue to reach out to the El Dorado city commissions to (1) thank them for considering repealing the city’s long-standing pit bull ordinance and (2) encourage them to replace the existing ordinance with a breed-neutral law that has a strong focus on irresponsible dog owners, and deems dogs dangerous based on their behavior, not their breed.
El Dorado City Commissioners:
Bill Young: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chase Locke: email@example.com
Nick Badwey: Nbadwey@cox.net
David Chapin: firstname.lastname@example.org
City of El Dorado
220 E 1st Street
El Dorado, KS 67042
Fax: (316) 321-6282