Overland Park bans pit bulls from city
By BRAD COOPER and BRIAN BURNES
The Kansas City Star
The Overland Park City Council voted Monday to ban pit bulls despite pleas from animal welfare advocates who said the animals should not be singled out from other dogs.
After more than 2 1/2 hours of debate and public testimony, the council voted 8-4 in favor of the ban. It does not affect pit bulls now registered in the city. The law takes effect July 27.
We know these dogs are vicious. We know their bites are brutal, said Councilman Dan Stock. I dont think they have any place in our community.
Pits bulls were an equally hot topic Monday night in Independence, where the City Council - in the wake of serious attacks in recent weeks - toughened its dangerous-dog ordinance and debated a measure to ban pit bulls.
The Independence council unanimously approved toughening the current law, including language to regulate the confinement and restraint of dangerous dogs. A ban on pit bulls was put off for further study.
In Overland Park, the proposal to ban new pit bulls appeared to be headed for defeat when some council members who had previously supported the measure changed their minds at the last minute.
Councilwoman Terry Happer Scheier led the committee that unanimously supported the ban. She voted for the ban twice. But Monday night, she changed her mind in favor of a moratorium on new pit bulls while other measues, such as increased fines, were studied.
I kind of think what we have in place right now has been working, she said before introducing her moratorium idea.
Other council members, such as Terry Goodman, said they did not see an overwhelming problem that warranted a Draconian measure.
I dont see that theres any compelling reason to depart from the citys ordinance that has served us so well for 20 years, Goodman said.
The measure approved Monday updates a law on dangerous animals that Overland Park passed in 1987. Among other things, it required pit bulls be registered.
When outside a pen, the dogs were required to be muzzled and on a leash no longer than 4 feet. Owners also were required to post warning signs.
Under the old law, owners of pit bulls were required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. The measure approved Monday raises the required coverage to $300,000 for pit pulls remaining in the city.
There are about 20 pit pulls now registered in Overland Park. Under the new ordinance, if one of the dogs gives birth, her puppies will have to be removed from the city in six weeks.
In Independence, the ordinance approved Monday tightens restrictions on dangerous dogs. For instance, it outlaws transporting a dangerous dog in the open bed of a truck.
A first offense could bring a fine of at least $350 and up to 90 days and jail. A second could mean a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
Spectators filled the Independence council chambers for the meeting. Eight people spoke, most of them addressing a possible pit bull ban.
A proposal to ban pit bulls was read for the first time, but no action was taken.
After acrimonious debate, the council voted 5-1 to study the matter further and consider a pit bull ordinance in late August.
The most recent pit bull attack in Independence was Saturday, when a 7-year-old girl suffered injuries to her face and chest. She was treated at a hospital and released.
Independence animal control officers took two pit bulls into custody after the attack.
In May, three pit bulls attacked three men, one of whom remains in a hospital.
To reach Brad Cooper, call (816) 234-7724 or send e-mail to [email protected]
. To reach Brian Burnes, call (816) 234-7804 or send e-mail to [email protected]