Rockaway Beach, Missouri May Consider “Pit Bull” Ban

By Editor
In Breed Ban
Jun 12th, 2013
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Editor’s note:  As we all know, Springfield, Missouri has had a breed-specific law for many years, but Springfield is now considering repealing the breed-specific portion of their ordinance in favor of a dangerous-dog law.  And while Springfield may incorporate AKC and UKC breed conformation standards in their ordinance, AKC and UKC breed standards are not public domain.  They are owned by either the respective breed parent organizations, or by the dog registry.  The American Kennel Club’s registered dog breed standards are owned by their respective parent club.  All of the other dog registries in the United States own copyright to the breed standards of the dogs that they register.  As such, their use in breed-specific legislation is a copyright infringement, and is an illegal usage.

In addition, while Ms. Kettelkamp is certain to mean well, her comment in the Branson Tri-Lakes News that “pit bulls” “Through breeding” are a “sort of bi-polar monster” is patently false.  A real-world example that illustrates that so-called “pit bulls” are not genetic monsters, is the Michael Vick case.  The judge in the Vick case spared all of Vick’s former fighting dogs and almost all of them went on to be rehabilitated and/or fostered or adopted back out as family pets.  Now, if former fighting dogs can be rehabilitated to make perfectly loving family pets, how can it possibly be a breed issue or a genetics issue?  To put that another way, in the old debate about nature versus nurture, it has to predominantly be nurture, or lack thereof, that makes dogs behave in undesirable ways.

Likewise, when so-called “pit bull” attacks are reported by the news, they are notoriously inaccurate, since there is no breed “pit bull” and countless breeds of dog, their mixes, and lookalikes have been mislabeled “pit bulls.”  In order to keep the community safe, dog attacks/bites must be viewed in context, not in terms of breed.  There are always mitigating factors when it comes to dog attacks.  Regardless, it is the owner’s responsibility to contain his/her dog, which is why the incident that occurred in Rockaway Beach with the two so-called “pit bulls” who escaped a man’s car and attacked another man and his dog should be viewed as a containment issue, not a breed issue.  In other words, it was up to the dogs’ handler at that moment to keep the dogs contained within the car by keeping the windows up and/or harnessing the dogs with a canine safety harness.  And while constant containment for specific breeds — including constant confinement in a yard, constant kenneling, and constant muzzling — may seem like an answer, it is in fact cruel to the animal and therefore more likely to bring about the very behavior elected officials are trying to avoid with their ordinance.  So instead of attempting to police one or a handful of breeds, why not address the behavior of all dogs and all dog owners with a dangerous dog (owner) law or escalating penalties for dog owners whose dogs attack?

Please send your respectful letters to the Rockaway Beach aldermen at the following address and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation in any form is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional:

Rockaway Beach City Hall
2762 State Highway 176
Rockaway Beach, MO 65740

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From the Branson Tri-Lakes News:

Rockaway Beach Aldermen said they’ll consider next month a new ordinance that could prohibit or severely restrict residents of the lakeside town from owning specific breeds of dogs.  

Aldermen heard from resident Larry Still at Monday’s meeting.

Still said he was recently the victim of an animal attack and would like to see the city do something so a similar event doesn’t happen again.

Still said he was walking his small dog near the city park recently when a vehicle stopped next to him. The driver asked for directions.

In the backseat, Still said, were two pit bull dogs. The dogs leapt out of the car’s open windows and attacked Still and his dog.

“The public needs to be protected,” he said. “It’s senseless there can’t be some sort of enforcement.”

City Clerk Susan Kettelkamp said in light of the recent events, Aldermen might consider adopting an ordinance prohibiting pit bulls and other breeds deemed vicious.

…Rockaway Beach Police Chief David Flora said even if an outright ban isn’t approved, aldermen could at least consider stricter requirements, such as requiring additional insurance for pit bull owners or requiring the dogs deemed as vicious to be muzzled at all times in public.

…Kettelkamp had harsh words for those of pit bull breeds for the board.

“Through breeding, we’ve created this sort of bi-polar monster,” she said of pit bulls.

Alderman Jerry Simms said he isn’t sure the city should single out a specific breed, however.

“It’s up to the owner to restrain that animal and know that animal’s tendencies,” Simms said.

Aldermen voted to table the discussion until the July meeting.

 
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