INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Independence voters won’t decide the future of the city’s pit bull ban. It appears the city council will vote to repeal the ban that’s been in place for 17 years.
City council had one of two options Monday night. By not sending the measure to voters and putting a possible repeal on the ballot, it has no virtually no option but to repeal the ban.
Independence has had a ban on pit bulls since the 2006 mauling of Alan Hill.
Petitioners who collected signatures to have the ban repealed or placed on the ballot say there’s no scientific evidence to prove pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds. Many on the city council said what it comes down to for them is the fact it doesn’t appear the ban is working.
“You would expect that once you ban these animals that we would no longer be bringing them into shelter. We are still taking 140-160 into the shelter every year,” Councilmember Dr. Bridget McCandless said.
Monday, Independence City Council voted 5-2 against putting the ban on the ballot for the public to decide. The special election would have cost the city an estimated $200,000.
“The first time they did the ban, it was not brought to the vote of the people,” Susan Knittle said.
Now with all indications city council will repeal the ban at its next meeting on June 5, discussions are already underway about improving the city’s ordinances, governing all dogs in 3 tiers, aggressive, dangerous and vicious.
Monday, they discussed possible strategies, including requiring microchipping, spaying or neutering, tethering limits or adding training.
Health and Animal Services Director Christina Heinen shared stats showing its four animal control officers are already taxed fielding more calls than Kansas City.
Some council members said they’d favor muzzling certain breeds of dogs in public, others said more focus should be on owners with repeat offenses. Instead of current practices to require dogs that cause serious bodily injury to be moved out of the city, there was a recommendation to requires them to be euthanized.
“We do need to be serious about this. I know we are in the land of second chances but second chances in a place where personal injury is involved can be a dangerous place to be,” Councilmember Dan Hobart said.
Likely the only debate on repealing the ban in June will be whether it goes into effect immediately or if they give time to put some of these new dangerous dog measures they are discussing in place.