Pit bulls now have a place in Dodge City thanks to action taken at the City Commission meeting Monday evening.
Pit bulls now have a place in Dodge City thanks to action taken at the City Commission meeting Monday evening. Commissioners voted to pass Ordinance No. 3560 which allows, yet still regulates, the ownership and possession of pit bulls within city limits. The ordinance repealed an existing ruling challenged by pit bull owners earlier this year which prohibited the dogs' presence in Dodge. And although the breed is no longer banned, strict regulations as to its ownership are still in effect. The new ordinance is still breed specific and mandates all pit bulls in Dodge City to be spayed or neutered and allows only one per household. In agreement with the previous ordinance, pit bull owners still must adhere to rules on indoor and outdoor confinement which mandate the dogs be locked in a structure or pen with a key or combination lock. But now, in addition to leash regulations requiring owners to secure their dogs with a leash no longer than 6 feet, the ordinance orders pit bulls to be muzzled when out of their pens. According to Jane Longmeyer, director of public information for the city, the rest of the rules outlined in the repealed ordinance still exist. The change in the ordinance was prompted by concerned residents who defended the breed. "Pit bull dog," as defined by the ordinance includes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and any other breed commonly known as a pit bull. Dogs with the appearance or characteristics of those breeds are also included. But what about other breeds of dog, or cats for that matter, in Dodge City that have shown aggression? There's now an ordinance regulating those animals as well. The commission also passed Ordinance No. 3561 Monday which prohibits the ownership of any aggressive animal with city limits. The ordinance states that if any animal presents a clear and present danger to the public's health or safety, it is the duty of an animal control officer or law enforcement officer to immediately impound the animal. The ordinance, which became effective April 1, includes any animal with a tendency to injure or threaten human beings or domestic animals as well as those that approach any person in an aggressive or threatening manner. Animals that have, when unprovoked, attacked or bitten another animal or human and animals urged by their owner to do so are included as well. And according to data taken by local animal control supervisors within the last year, the ordinance is applicable to a number of animals in Dodge City. And most are not pit bulls. A record of reported domestic animal bites in Dodge City since 2008 showed the pit bull breed having been the culprit in only two (4 percent) of the 43 reported bites in 2012; Chihuahuas accounted for seven bites, shepherd breeds accounted for four, and poodles were listed four times. In 2008, 2010, and 2011, no pit bull bites were reported. All pit bulls in Dodge City are subject to the following mandatory requirements: -a special annual permit at a fee of $50, -a leash requirement when outside of a pen, -indoor and outdoor confinement stipulations, -a microchip, -"beware of dog" signs posted at the residence, -a special collar issued by the city, -identification photographs, -public liability insurance in a single incident amount of no less than $100,000. Pit bull owners who fail to comply with the ordinance can be punished by a fine of $2,500 or a year in jail. Each day the violation of the ordinance continues constitutes a separate offense.