Breaking! 24 Cities In Kansas Have Now Ended Unfair Breed-Specific Legislation Giving Pit Bulls A Second Chance

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Victory! After 29 years, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County in Kansas City and their Board of Commissioners voted 6-3 to end their pit bull ban, effective immediately.

The now defunct ban applied to American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and any dogs that happened to have the “appearance or characteristics” of these breeds.

Anyone who violated the ban could have their beloved dog taken away from them, be fined from $300 to $1,000, and spend up to 90 days in county jail.

The problem with pit bull bans and other forms of breed-specific legislation (BSL) is that they single out dogs based on their looks instead of their temperament, or how their owners treat, or mistreat them. BSL punishes well-behaved dogs and responsible dog owners by penalizing the entire breed.

Because BSL is so unfair and has not proven to increase public safety wherever it has been enacted, most major animal welfare groups oppose it, including the Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, American Veterinary Medical Association, Peace 4 Animals, Social Compassion In Legislation and many others.

Not only are breed bans unfair, Kansas City has discovered that they are expensive to enforce. The animal services department told the commission that it spends $246,000, which is almost a quarter of its $1 million budget, on breed-specific services. That money could be put to much better use, Animal Services Director Jennifer Stewart pointed out. The funds should instead be spent on improving animal shelters and adding more staff, including an adoption coordinator.

Making the former ban even more unnecessary, Wyandotte County enacted a dangerous dogs ordinance in 2014 that applies to all breeds. Under the ordinance, owners that have a dangerous or vicious dog, of any breed or mix, may have to pay fines of up to $1,000 and spend up to 180 days in jail. The owner may have to surrender their dog, and in the worst cases, the dog may be euthanized.

Banning pit bulls was “a waste of valuable income and time, and quite frankly, a strain on our community,” Kate Fields, President of The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City said to the commission.

One commissioner who voted to end the ban agreed that it took resources away from more effective solutions, such as leash laws and ordinances based on behavior, not breed.

According to a statement from Care2, news of Kansas City ending its longtime pit bull ban followed last month’s decision by the residents of Liberty, a suburb of Kansas, to end its 40-year-long ban. Since 2008, 23 Kansas cities have lifted their bans.

WAN and it’s charity Peace 4 Animals believes that dogs should not be discrimated against because of their breed and encourages other cities who have Breed Specific Legislation to end their bans.

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