Overland Park unanimously repeals pit bull ban

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park repealed its ban on pit bulls Monday. The outright breed-specific ban has been in place for 15 years.

Starting in the 1980s pit bull owners and their dogs in the city had to meet certain guidelines.

In 1989 the fight to try to overturn those regulations went all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court in Hearn vs Overland Park When that fight failed, Overland Park’s regulations became the standard for other community’s bans around the nation.

The decades long battle was perhaps why there were cheers inside Overland Park’s Council chambers as the city repealed it’s breed-specific ban on pit bulls.

Since 2006 Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, and dogs with physical characteristics of a pit bull have been banned by city statute.

In the last five years, six area cities have lifted bans on pit bulls, including three in Johnson County. Earlier this summer Overland Park’s Public Safety Committee decided to reconsider whether pit bulls are inherently dangerous.

“They talked to animal control officers zthey talked to animal behaviorists they talked to the subject matter experts,” Glenn Golden said.

“This enables more animals to be adopted into more cities so it’s great,” Tam Singer, Great Plains SPCA CEO, said.

“Targeting all breeds of dogs and having animal control resources focus on dogs regardless of what they look like based solely on their behavior makes the public so much safe,” said Katie Barnett, an animal law attorney who worked on the ban’s repeal.

Several other rules affecting pet owners also changed as part of the latest revision.

  • A $20 licensing fee for an animal that is not spayed or neutered.
  • A $10 licensing fee for an animal that is spayed, neutered or microchipped.
  • A $5 licensing fee for an animal that is spayed or neutered, and microchipped 

Current city code limits tethering of a dog between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Now dogs can’t to be tethered for more than 30 minutes at a time without supervision would become a code violation. 

Dogs cannot be tethered without access to shade when temperatures could potentially cause the animal to overheat or shelter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

Dogs cannot be tethered in an open space where the animal can be provoked by people or other animals. 

Dogs cannot be tethered in a space where dirt is exposed and the owner isn’t taking precautions to prevent the space from becoming muddy. 

Wolf-hybrids, wolf-mix and Tundra Shepherds were added to the list of dangerous animals.

New rules and changes to the ban will be published September 28 and expected to go into effect October 1.

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