Complaints, Bites, Shelter Occupancy Fall
Springfield, MO - The Springfield-Greene Health Department reports that dog bites and vicious dog complaints have fallen since the implementation of the Pit Bull Ordinance two years ago. In 2005, the health department fielded 18 vicious dog complaints, but only eight in 2007. Bites were down from 102 in 2005 to 87 in 2007. Director of health Kevin Gipson says:
"The data speaks for itself. The ordinance is a valuable tool for our animal control staff. It is successfully making our city safer from dog bites and vicious dog attacks."
The ordinance has also resulted in fewer pit bull dogs being impounded at the city animal shelter. In 2005 there were 502 pit bull and pit bull mixes impounded, compared to only 252 in 2007. This is a drop of 50%. Assistant Director Clay Goddard says that because they are impounding fewer pit bulls, the overcrowding at the shelter has subsided.
"It is the natural tendency of pit bulls to fight, so our animal control staff is forced to segregate them in individual pens. When we have several pit bulls in the shelter simultaneously, this severely limits space for other dogs."
The Pit Bull Ordinance was passed by Springfield City Council on April 17, 2006. It prohibited new pit bulls in the city and required existing pit bulls be sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped and registered annually with Animal Control. Owners are also required to restrain dogs in fenced areas, inside a home or on a leash with a muzzle while off the owner's property.
The first year the ordinance was enforced, 284 pit bulls were registered. From January through December of 2007, that number dropped to 91. "The direct result of this ordinance has been fewer pit bulls on our city streets," adds Gipson. "We are a safer and healthier community because of the ordinance and the dedicated Animal Control staff who enforce it every day."