Pit Bulls Banned in 1987
Midwest, OK - City officials say they will seize the unauthorized bull terriers of Carol and Jerry Stuckey if they spot the animals in a public space. Authorities say they’re authorized to do so under an ordinance that bans four types of dogs, including the bull terrier. Enacted in 1987, the ordinance also applies to the Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier.
Katherine Bolles, city attorney said, "To our city council, it’s a matter of public safety. There’s anecdotal evidence again and again that pit bulls and bull terriers are just a different breed of dog. While other dogs may bite more frequently, they don’t bite as viciously. Pit bulls and bull terriers will target prey they can kill, and they bite with the intention of killing their prey."
Although state law currently prohibits cities from enacting breed-specific dog bans, Bolles said that Midwest City is a "home-rule charter city," which allows it to pass ordinances that may not be in accordance with state law. "If it is a matter of purely local concern, then a home-rule charter city can enact laws that are different than state law," Bolles said.
Bolles said the city will take the Stuckey’s dogs if they’re spotted in public but is not authorized to go into the couple’s home or fenced back yard to seize them. Ideally, Bolles said she would like to see the couple give the dogs away to someone who lives outside the city limits. "We will do everything in our power not to destroy the dogs ... they just can’t be in Midwest City," she said.
Meanwhile, the Stuckeys have hired an Oklahoma City attorney, Scott Adams, who is seeking an injunction that would prohibit the city from seizing the animals and rule the city ordinance unconstitutional. Despite the constitutional legality of Midwest City's ban and the violent, dogfighting history of bull terriers, Adams told reporters:
"They don’t have the right to ban a specific breed, but they’re actually doing more than that. They’re banning any dog with the name ’bull’ in it,” Adams said. "The bull terrier has never been shown to be a vicious dog. You might as well ban poodles.”
09/22/08: Oklahoma: One State's Struggle with a Breed-Specific Prohibition