KCMO considering changes to some animal codes; seeking public input

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leaders in Kansas City are working to overhaul the city’s animal ordinances.

It’s been more than a decade since some of the city’s animal codes have been updated.

“This is something we’ve been talking about for quite a while,” city spokesman Chris Hernandez said.

The city wants to possibly modify six current animal ordinances and wants to get the public’s input.

“With the effort to build a new animal shelter, which is currently under construction, we thought this was a really good time to take this another step forward to determine what the public wants in terms of updated ordinances about animal health and safety,” Hernandez said.

The proposed changes include:

  • Harsher restrictions on tethering dogs
  • Clarity on what’s an “adequate shelter” for dogs
  • Add a trap neuter and return program
  • Increase the number of animal’s residents can own (four is the max right now)
  • Repeal the mandate on spaying and neutering pit bulls
  • Make it mandatory for all dogs and cats to be spayed and neutered

“We’re hoping that with these ordinance changes, along with outreach and education that we will be able to help all the pets in our community,” said Tori Fugate with KC Pet Project.

KC Pet Project is the largest no-kill shelter in the metro and takes in more than 10,000 animals every year. They’re one of several stakeholders working with the city to address animal issues.

“We have a lot of work to do as far as lowering the pet population,” Fugate said.

KC Pet Project supports all of the proposals with the exception of the spay and neuter mandate on all cats and dogs.

“On paper, spay and neuter sounds like a fabulous idea,” Fugate explained. “What it does is the opposite of what you’d expect. It fills up shelters. That leads to more euthanasia, and it really puts a burden on these owners if it’s enforced.”

The city has been holding public hearings on the matter since July and is now taking the conversation online.

“The city staff is working hard to get as much public input at the very beginning of this process, so that we can make sure that as we update these ordinances we’re addressing the needs of the community,” Hernandez said.

The city will take the feedback from the public and work with KC Pet Project and other stakeholders to draft new ordinances that will eventually go before city council.

If you'd like to voice your opinions about the modifications, the city is gathering feedback on the Nextdoor app or click here.