A Pit Bull Advocate Pawn
Springfield, MO - Back in April, the Springfield-Greene Health Department reported that dog bites and vicious dog complaints had 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 (about a 15% drop).
This type of reduction (after one year of passing the ordinance) is on par with other cities that have implemented a "new pit bull ban." The Springfield ordinance forbids new pit bulls and requires existing pit bulls be sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped and registered. Owners are also required to restrain dogs in fenced areas and muzzle them when off property.
The biggest difference occurred in Springfield's shelter occupancy rate. In 2005, before the law went into effect, 502 pit bulls and their mixes were impounded, compared to only 252 in 2007. This is a 50% drop. One can place 4 pugs into a single kennel, but one can only place 1 pit bull per kennel. Due to their genetic animal aggression, a pit bull is likely to injure or kill a kennel mate.
Councilman Doug Burlison says the law isn't working.
Burlison says he's been against the pit bull ordinance since before he ran for city council last year. He says the law is wrong because it singles out one specific breed, pit bulls. To quote directly from the article, "Pit bull owner Betty Browning says her five pound Chihuahua is the dog with the bite, not her pit bulls." Apparently, Burlison has bought into Browning's ridiculous story.
The Springfield ordinance has been effective period. This cannot be argued. Burlison wants to "get more council members on his side" before creating a formal proposal to repeal the ordinance, so that public safety in the community can be reduced and so that shelter occupancy rates by pit bulls can skyrocket (again), thus reducing the chance of "adoptable" pets finding a home.
Questionable goals to be sure.
DogsBite.org applauds the Springfield-Greene Health Department, the city council members that passed this law and the animal control department that enforces this law. The actions of these departments is part of a positive nationwide trend, and the community of Springfield is a leader in this. As one DogsBite.org reader put it, "Stand your ground Springfield!"
09/14/08: Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results
04/14/08: Springfield, Missouri Pit Bull Ordinance is Working
01/30/08: A Two Year Review of Aurora, Colorado's Pit Bull Ban