Great Bend, Kansas Acknowledges Free-Roaming Dog Problem; May Steer Away from Breed-Specific Ordinance

Editor’s note: Committeeman Reggie Kern said it best that Great Bend isn’t “just dealing with vicious dogs,” Great Bend is dealing with “irresponsible dog owners.”   Or another way you could put that is, irresponsible owners create vicious dogs.   As mentioned in a prior post, the dangerous dogs issue is an issue of nurture, or lack thereof, not nature.   It is well known that free-roaming dogs of any breed can become a menace because of the pack mentality that is formed.   It looks like Great Bend is on the right track.   Hopefully they continue to consider reasonable options — like better enforcement of their existing laws, which includes better police or Animal Control response, and escalating fines — over unreasonable options like breed-specific restrictions or an outright ban.  

From the Great Bend Tribune:

 …The [committee formed to study banning pit bulls] was empaneled by Mayor Mike Allison to study banning pit bull terriers, seek public input and present ideas to the Council. One of the things we want to do is to try to decide what the issues are and make recommendations, [city attorney] Bob Suelter said.

But, as the 90-minute meeting went on, it was clear the many of the nine committee members and the all nine community members in the audience thought the dog problem in Great Bend went beyond one type of dog. Discussed were better enforcement of existing vicious dog ordinances, more costly fines, new and stronger ordinances and more funding for Golden Belt Humane Society operations.

There are other vicious dogs in Great Bend, not just pit bulls, said Bobbi King, humane society director and committee member. Her facility faces a growing number of stray dogs and limited space to house them.

I think were going to get to that point and we may not end up with a breed-specific ordinance, Suelter said. But, he was hesitant to expand the scope of the mayoral mandate right out of the gate.

Its more than a matter of canines, said at-large committeeman Reggie Kern. Were not just dealing with vicious dogs, were dealing with irresponsible dog owners.  

King agreed. She stressed the importance of basic obedience training and socialization of the animals…

Licensing fees for and restrictions on breeding, stronger emphasis on spading and neutering and the use of microchip tracking devices were suggested. There was also discussion of rescue operations in which dogs are moved from shelter to shelter for adoptions.

…There was talk of humane and effective containment of dogs, the use of tethering and about pit bulls being consider family members. Some in the crowd also criticized law enforcement for its unwillingness to take dog complaints.

…They set their next meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at the City Council chambers, 1209 Williams. An evening time was selected to make it more accessible for those who might have to work during the day. We want people to show up and speak their minds, Suelter said.


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