Last night as the world lit candles, held vigils and thought of Lennox (the dog in Belfast, Ireland) I glanced over at my own dog and wondered just how I would handle it if someone took him from me. I tried to put myself in that place and immediately I was overcome with so much darkness and despair that I became physically ill. The fat “Pitbull/Boxer/Whatever breed of dog that decided to fornicate together” looked over at me as he stood wagging his tail. For one moment the distraction of his jiggling ass removed me from the sadness that I felt. I reached over and pat his head and thought to myself that the only threat my “bully breed” dog would pose would be to a donut laying on a counter. Okay, so if you have seen him you would agree that it’s probably not a threat he would pose but more likely a promise. Yesterday I caught Bowser standing outside of his dog house (that he hasn’t used in 2 years because that would require being outside for more than 2 minutes), working on something. When I called him up on the deck he was hesitant but finally walked up the first story of the deck towards where I waited on the 2nd story. It was then that I noticed that he had an old, hard piece of bread stashed in his mouth. What was so hilarious was that my obese dog was trying to “play off” the fact that he was hiding old food in his mouth. By the time he reached the deck and where I was standing, he was still acting like nothing was going on. Curiosity got the best of me and I walked down the stairs to see where Bowser got the bread. There, stashed in his dog house, was the last 2 weeks worth of bread that I had thrown to the birds. He apparently had been collecting it all of this time and storing it away somewhere he knew I would never look. With a smile on my face, I walked back up the stairs and made Bowser sit on the deck for as long as possible just to see if he would crack and chew up the bread in front of me. After 5 minutes, I gave in and let him inside. He immediately went to his couch (yes, he has his own couch) and sat there, stone faced with wet pieces of bread falling out of the sides of his mouth. Still, he didn’t cave. 5 more minutes passed as I stared at Bowser sitting stone-faced on his couch while he ignored me. Larry showed up and I told him to hurry in and stare “sternly” at Bowser and even with his dad standing there, Bowser still wouldn’t eat that stolen bread. Yup, my dog is only a danger to human food.
While I live in a town that does not have BSL, were Bowser ever to run 1 block from my house, he would be in Liberty, a town known to have it. Okay, so if you don’t know animal rescue you probably don’t know what “BSL” is. Well, all you need to remember is that BSL is B.S.! BSL stands for “breed specific legislation”. Cities and counties have laws regarding what kind of dog you can have in their area and what you are required to do as an owner of those dogs. For instance, Pitbulls are allowed in Kansas City but there are strict rules in place. Get ready because I am sure you are going to skip over the pink parts but if you do read them, you get “brownie point”. These points can be utilized for absolutely nothing! Anyway, KCMO’s ordinance says:
Sec. 14-60. Pit bulls.
(1) Pit bull” means any pit bull that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any pit bull displaying the physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any pit bull exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics that conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club (“AKC”) or United Kennel Club (“UKC”) for any of the above breeds.
(2) If an owner, keeper or harborer is unsure as to whether an unspayed and unneutered dog is a pit bull, then the owner, keeper or harborer of the dog may make an appointment with the supervisor of animal health and public safety for the purpose of the supervisor making a determination as to whether or not such dog is a pit bull. If the pit bull owner, keeper or harborer wishes to appeal the determination that the dog is a pit bull, then within five business days of the supervisors determination such owner, keeper or harborer may request a hearing before the director of neighborhood and community services. The hearing shall be held no more than thirty days after the supervisor or animal health and public safety receives the request. The hearing may be informal and the rules of evidence not strictly observed. The decision of the director is final.
(b) Mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bulls; exceptions.
(1) No person may own, keep, or harbor any pit bull that the person in possession knew, or should have known, was a pit bull that has not been spayed or neutered unless:
a. The pit bull is under eight weeks of age;
b. The pit bull cannot be spayed or neutered without a high likelihood of suffering serious bodily harm or death due to a physical abnormality. A veterinarian must certify such a condition and determine the time frame after which the pit bull can be spayed or neutered. Within thirty days of the operative date of this ordinance, or within thirty days of taking possession or ownership of an unspayed or unneutered pit bull, the owner, keeper or harborer must submit such documentation to be verified by the supervisor of animal health and public safety;
c. The pit bull has been present in the City for less than thirty days;
d. The owner, keeper or harborer has obtained, or has submitted an application for a commercial animal establishment permit;
e. The determination of the breed is under appeal pursuant to subsection (a) above; or
(c) Penalties for failure to spay or neuter. Any person who violates the provisions of this section requiring that a pit bull be spayed or neutered shall be subject to the following:
(1) A first violation shall be an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and the impoundment of the pit bull by the supervisor of animal health and public safety. In order for the owner, keeper or harborer to reclaim the pit bull from the supervisor of animal health and public safety, in addition to paying the other charges and fees set out in this chapter, one of the following must occur:
a. The supervisor of animal health and public safety shall have a veterinarian spay or neuter the pit bull. The pit bull owner, keeper or harborer shall pay a deposit of $100 prior to the procedure and will be charged the fee for such services consisting of the actual expense incurred as established by the supervisor of animal health and public safety.
b. In the alternative, the owner, keeper or harborer shall arrange for another veterinarian within the City to spay or neuter and shall pay the supervisor of animal health and public safety a fee of $60, which shall cover the Supervisors costs of delivering the pit bull to a veterinarian of the owners, keeper’s or harborers choosing. The supervisor of animal health and public safety shall deliver the pit bull to the veterinarian, and the veterinarian shall release the pit bull to the owner, keeper or harborer only after the spaying or neutering is complete.
c. At the discretion of the supervisor of animal health and public safety, the supervisor may release the pit bull to the owner, keeper or harborer provided that the owner, keeper or harborer signs an affidavit swearing or affirming that such owner, keeper or harborer will have the pit bull spayed or neutered within two weeks and will provide documentation verifying that the spaying or neutering occurred upon completion. If the owner, keeper or harborer fails to have his or her pit bull spayed or neutered as agreed in the affidavit, the supervisor of animal health and public safety shall have the authority to impound the dog, and the owner, keeper or harborer may be charged with a second violation of this section.
d. In the event that the supervisor of animal health and public safety determines that payment of any fees by the owner, keeper or harborer of a pit bull which is impounded or otherwise taken into custody would cause extreme financial difficulty to the owner, keeper or harborer, then the supervisor may, at his or her discretion, waive all or part of the fees necessary for compliance with this section.
(2) A second violation of this section by the owner, keeper or harborer, shall be a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed six months or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. In addition, a second violation shall result in the supervisor of animal health and public safety impounding the pit bull and disposing of the pit bull in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(d) Permit for the breeding and transfer of pit bull offspring.
(1) No person shall cause or allow any pit bull to breed or give birth without first obtaining a permit as described in this section.
(2) Keeping an unaltered male adult pit bull together with a female pit bull in heat in the same pit bull run, pen, room, or any other space where the two dogs are allowed contact with one another that would allow the pit bulls to breed is considered prima facie evidence of an owner, keeper or harborer’s intent to allow the pit bulls to breed.
(e) Granting or denying a permit.
(1) Requirements of permit. An owner or keeper of a pit bull may annually obtain a nontransferable permit. If more than one owner, keeper or harborer is involved in the breeding process, each party must apply for and be granted a breeding permit. The permit may be obtained from the supervisor of animal health and public safety if all of the following conditions are met:
a. The applicant has submitted the appropriate forms and fees required by the supervisor of animal health and public safety in order to seek consideration for a breeding permit.
b. The applicant has a space in which to breed pit bulls and raise the offspring that the supervisor of animal health and public safety is satisfied will contain the animals as well as provide them with safe, sanitary, and humane conditions, appropriate for breeding pit bulls, which satisfies all applicable provisions of this chapter.
c. The supervisor of animal health and public safety has evaluated and reached a positive conclusion regarding the suitability of the particular pit bulls to be bred, including consideration of their lineage, age and health condition. The supervisor of animal health and public safety shall utilize the following guidelines in making a determination:
1. The owner, keeper or guardian shall provide verification that any pit bull to be bred is registered as an American Pit Bull Terrier, an American Staffordshire Terrier, or a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, with the appropriate registry for its breed (American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, American Dog Breeders Association (“ADBA”)) or any other valid registry as determined by the supervisor of animal health and public safety.
2. Any pit bull to be bred must meet the pit bull breed standard, as defined by the appropriate registration agency (AK, UKC, or ADBA), for physical conformation as well as temperament.
3. The registered pit bull has participated in at least one approved pit bull show during the previous 365 day period or the owner, keeper or harborer has given written notice to one of the pit bull registries listed above stating his or her intention that the pit bull will participate in an approved pit bull show. A pit bull show is defined as an event that is sanctioned in writing by one or more of the pit bull registries listed above.
4. Any pit bull to be bred shall have the appropriate health screenings for its breed. For pit bulls this is, at a minimum, the following health tests: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (“OFA”) or University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (“PennHIP”) certification on hips, OFA on heart by a certified cardiologist and must have passed the American Temperament Testing Society temperament test.
d. Breeders shall not allow female pit bulls to have more than one litter per year.
e. Upon approval of an application, the applicant must pay the $100 permit fee.
(2) Permit denial. The supervisor of animal health and public safety shall automatically deny the permit if one or more of the following occurs and the supervisors decision shall be final:
a. The applicant fails to pay the permit fee within two weeks of notification that the application has been approved. The applicant may reapply for a permit after ten months.
b. The applicant has a history of allowing dogs to run loose or escape, has otherwise been found to be neglectful, has a pit bull identified as a nuisance, or has previously been determined to have violated provisions of this chapter.
c. The applicant has applied for a permit within the last ten months.
(3) Inspections of the premises.
a. The supervisor of animal health and public safety may on one or more occasions for up to one year after issuing the permit, perform an inspection of the pit bulls living quarters to ensure that the standards required to receive a permit are met. The supervisor of animal health and public safety will give the owner, keeper or harborer a twenty-four hour notice and will conduct such inspection at a reasonable time when the owner, keeper or harborer is present. The owner, keeper or harborer shall allow the supervisor of animal health and public safety access to conduct the inspection.
b. If the property does not meet the required standards, or the owner, keeper or harborer cannot be contacted for an inspection within two weeks of the supervisor’s initial attempt or the owner, keeper or harborer fails or refuses to allow an inspection, then the supervisor of animal health and public safety shall not issue a permit.
(f) Revoking a permit.
(1) The supervisor of animal health and public safety may, after conducting a hearing, revoke a breeding permit for a violation of the provisions of this section. Within five days of the supervisor’s knowledge of any such violation, a hearing officer designated by the supervisor shall give notice to the owner, keeper or harborer of the pit bull in writing that such owner, keeper or harborer is in violation of this section and is subject to the revocation of his or her breeding permit. Unless the hearing is waived by the owner, keeper or harborer of the pit bull, or the hearing is scheduled on an agreed-upon date, the hearing officer shall fix a time not less than ten or more than thirty days from the date of the violation notice. The hearing officer shall fix a place for said hearing and cause all parties to be notified, not less than five days before the date of such hearing. The hearing may be informal and the rules of evidence not strictly observed. Within fifteen days following the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue his or her decision to all parties. The decision of the hearing officer is final. Upon a finding of a violation, the hearing officer may revoke the permit. Any violation of this section may also be considered in future permitting decisions.
(2) After the supervisor of animal health and public safety has issued a permit, such permit may be revoked pursuant to procedures set forth in this section if a subsequent inspection of the premises reveals the area to be below the standards required for the permit, or if the owner, keeper or harborer cannot be contacted for an inspection within two weeks of the Department’s initial attempt, or if the owner, keeper or harborer refuses the supervisor of animal health and public safety access for an inspection. If the pit bull is already pregnant or the pit bulls offspring is born, the supervisor of animal health and public safety may, pending a hearing, impound the pit bull or its offspring in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. After a hearing, the supervisor of animal health and public safety may permanently confiscate the pit bulls offspring and dispose of them in accordance with this chapter.
(g) Transferring or selling the offspring of a pit bull.
(1) Any owner, keeper or harborer who offers any pit bull offspring under six months old for sale, trade, or adoption, shall prominently post such owners, keepers or harborers valid breeding permit number with any offer of sale, trade, or adoption. The permit number shall also be supplied in writing to the person, corporation or entity that acquires such pit bulls offspring. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to the supervisor of animal health and public safety or to a not for profit animal welfare and rescue organization that seeks adoptive homes for pit bulls
(2) The breeder shall not remove a pit bulls offspring from the litter until such offspring are at least eight weeks of age, are fully weaned, have their first set of vaccinations, have been be de-wormed and are in good general health.
(3) Within three weeks of the time that the litter is whelped, the breeder shall give notice in writing to the supervisor of animal health and public safety of the number of offspring that were born alive. Within three weeks after the breeder transfers physical possession of each of the pit bulls offspring, the breeder shall notify the supervisor of animal health and public safety of the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner, keeper or harborer of each such offspring.
(h) Penalties for failure to permit, post or report.
(1) Any person owning, keeping or harboring a pit bull without a required permit in violation of this section and who has not been previously been found to have committed such violation shall be deemed to have committed an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
(2) Any person owning, keeping or harboring a pit bull without a required permit in violation of this section and who has previously been found to have committed an infraction for the same such offense shall be deemed to have committed a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed six months or by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by both imprisonment and fine. No person shall be charged with a misdemeanor pursuant to this subsection until at least thirty days have passed since any previous similar infraction or misdemeanor charge was levied.
(3) Any person owning, keeping or harboring a pit bull who fails to include a prominently posted permit number when transferring pit bull offspring pursuant to this section shall be shall be deemed to have committed an infraction punishable by a fine of $100 for the first violation, $200 for a second violation within a year of the first offense, and a $500 fine upon the third and any subsequent violations within a year of the second offense.
(4) Any person owning, keeping or harboring a pit bull who fails to provide the supervisor of animal health and public safety with notice of the number of offspring born and information about a new owner, keeper or harborer of each offspring pursuant to this section shall be deemed to have committed an infraction punishable by a $100 fine for the first violation, a $200 fine upon a second violation within one year of the first offense, and fine of $500 for the third and subsequent violations within one year of the second offense.
Okay, if you are still with me, that is just one example of one major city that everyone knows. Say you go to Independence, Missouri? Here is what their law says about Pitbulls:
“SEC. 3.03.006. KEEPING OF PIT BULLS PROHIBITED.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over,
maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull.
A “pit bull,” for purposes of this Section, is defined as any dog that is an American Pit
Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog
displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or
any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to
the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any
of the above breeds.
A “secure temporary enclosure,” for purposes of this Section, is a secure enclosure used
for purposes of transporting a pit bull and which includes a top and bottom permanently
attached to the sides except for a “door” for removal of the pit bull. Such enclosure must
be of such material, and such door closed and secured in such a manner, that the pit bull
cannot exit the enclosure on its own or have the capacity to bite any person in close
proximity to the enclosure.
C. Exceptions. The prohibition in subsection A. of this section shall not apply in the
following enumerated circumstances. Failure by the owner to comply and remain in
compliance with all of the terms of any applicable exception shall subject the pit bull to
immediate impoundment and disposal pursuant to subsection E. of this section, and shall
operate to prevent the owner from asserting such exception as a defense in any prosecution
under subsection A. 2
1. The owner of a pit bull on or before the date of passage of the ordinance enacting this
section, who has applied for and received a pit bull license in accordance with subsection
D. of this section, and who maintains the pit bull at all times in compliance with the pit
bull license requirements of subsection D. of this section and all other applicable
requirements of this chapter, may keep the same pit bull within the City.
2. The City’s Animal Shelter may temporarily harbor and transport any pit bull for
purposes of enforcing the provisions of this chapter.
3. Except according to the provisions in paragraph H., below, any nonprofit animal
welfare organization lawfully operating an animal shelter in the City may temporarily
hold any pit bull that it has received or otherwise recovered, but only for so long as it
takes to contact the City’s Animal Shelter and either turn the pit bull over to the City
Animal Shelter employees or receive permission to destroy or have destroyed the pit bull
pursuant to the provisions of subsection E.
4. A person may temporarily transport into and hold in the City a pit bull only for the
purpose of showing such pit bull in a place of public exhibition, contest or show
sponsored by a dog club association or similar organization. However, the sponsor of the
exhibition, contest, or show must receive written permission from the Director of Health,
must obtain any other permits or licenses required by City ordinance, and must provide
protective measures adequate to prevent pit bulls from escaping or injuring the public.
The person who transports and holds a pit bull for showing shall, at all times when the
pit bull is being transported within the City to and from the place of exhibition, contest,
or show, keep the pit bull confined in a “secure temporary enclosure” as defined in
5. Except as provided in subdivision 4., above, the owner of a pit bull may temporarily
transport a pit bull continuously through the City, only if such pit bull is being
transported either from a point outside the City directly to a destination outside the City,
or from a point outside the City to an airport, train station or bus station within the City.
During such transportation, the owner may only stop in the City where such stoppage is
necessary and solely related to the continuing ability of the owner to continue said
transportation, including, but not limited to the refueling or repair of a motor vehicle.
The pit bull must be maintained at all times inside a secure temporary enclosure, as
defined in subdivision B., which may include inside of the passenger compartment of a
private motor vehicle, with all accessible windows closed; adequate shelter must be
maintained for such pit bull confined in a motor vehicle.
D. The owner of any pit bull on or before the date of passage of the ordinance enacting this
section shall be allowed to keep such pit bull within the city upon compliance with the terms
of the exception contained in subdivision C.1. of this section only if the owner applies for
and receives an annual pit bull license within sixty (60) days of the passage of the ordinance
enacting this section. As a condition of issuance of a pit bull license, the owner shall at the
time of application comply with or otherwise provide sufficient evidence that the owner is in
compliance with all of the following regulations:
1. The owner of the pit bull shall provide proof of continuous rabies vaccination, and
shall pay the initial pit bull license fee of One Hundred and Fifty dollars ($150.00) and
annual renewal fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) thereafter. 3
2. The owner of the pit bull shall keep current the license for such pit bull through
annual renewal. Such license is not transferable and shall be renewable only by the
holder of the license or by a member of the immediate family of such licensee. A pit bull
license tag will be issued to the owner at the time of issuance of the license. Such license
tag shall be attached to the pit bull by means of a collar or harness and shall not be
attached to any pit bull other than the pit bull for which the license was issued. If the pit
bull tag is lost or destroyed, a duplicate tag may be issued upon the payment of a Twenty
Dollar ($20.00) fee.
3. The owner must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.
4. The owner shall present to the Director proof that the owner has procured liability
insurance in the amount of at least Three Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000.00). At
the time of subsequent registration the owner, keeper or harborer must show proof of
insurance for the present registration period and proof that there was insurance coverage
throughout the period of the prior registration period.
5. The owner shall, at the owner’s expense, have the pit bull spayed or neutered and
shall present to the Director of Health documentary proof from a licensed veterinarian
that this sterilization has been performed; provided, that an owner who is registered and
licensed with the City as an “animal breeder” as of August 14, 2006, is excused from
this requirement. Registered and licensed breeders must comply with the following
a. All offspring born of pit bull dogs registered with the City must be removed
from the City within twelve (12) weeks of the birth of such dogs.
b. Breeders must obtain a background check on all prospective buyers of
puppies, and must not transfer a pit bull dog to anyone having been convicted of
a felony or of any crime related to animal abuse or neglect, fighting of animals,
any conviction related to or of a violent nature, possession of illegal firearms, or
for the use, sale, or distribution of drugs.
c. Any owner found to have violated this subsection must immediately have their
pit bull dog spayed or neutered, pay a Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) fine, and
in addition to such fine, may be ordered to serve up to sixty (60) days in jail.
d. In addition to the above penalties, a violation of this section by a registered
and licensed breeder will result in the immediate revocation of their breeding
6. The owner shall bring the pit bull to the Director of Health where a person
authorized by the Director of Health shall cause a registration number to be assigned by
the department and a micro-chip shall be implanted in the pit bull. The Director of
Health shall maintain a file containing the registration numbers and names of the pit
bulls and the names and addresses of the owners. The owner shall, within five (5) days,
notify the Director of Health of any change of address. The owner must provide to the
Director of Health four (4) color photographs (front, rear, and both sides) of the dog
clearly showing the color, markings and approximate size of the dog, such pictures may
be digital. Owners of dogs registered prior to the dog’s second birthday shall provide 4
updated photos upon annual renewal until such dog passes its second birthday. The cost
of the above photographs and micro-chip implantation will be borne by the owner.
7. At all times when a pit bull is at the property of the owner, the owner shall keep
the pit bull “confined.” A dog is “confined” as the term is used in this section if such dog
is securely confined in the owner’s residential structure or confined in a secure fully
enclosed structure which meets the following requirements:
a. The enclosure must have no more than a single entrance, with secure sides
and a secure top, or all sides must be at least six feet (6’) high and provide
b. The enclosure must have a bottom permanently attached to the sides or sides
embedded into the ground not less than two feet (2’); and
c. The enclosure must be of such material and closed in such a manner that the
dog cannot exit the enclosure on its own; and
d. The enclosure used to confine pit bull dogs must be locked with a key or
combination lock when such animals are within the structure; and
e. The enclosure must be secured against the unauthorized entry by a minor on
their own accord; and
f. A legible sign, as described in paragraph D.10. must be posted and
continuously maintained on the enclosure; and
g. A pit bull dog shall not be kept on a porch, patio or any part of the house or
structure that would allow the dog to exit such structure on its own volition. In
addition, no such dog may be kept in a structure when the windows are open or
when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog
from exiting the structure.
h. No part of a property line fence shall be part of any enclosure, unless the
entire line fence forms the enclosure and conforms in its entirety to the
requirements of this section.
This section does not relieve the owner, possessor or keeper of a dog from the obligation to
comply with any section of the municipal zoning code or building code concerning requirements for
the placement or construction of fences or dog kennels.
8. At all times when the pit bull is away from the property of the owner, the owner shall
keep the pit bull either securely attached to a leash not more than four feet (4’) in length
of sufficient strength to control the pit bull dog and a secondary restraint attached to a
prong training collar or choke collar, both securely held by a person of at least twentyone (21) years of age who is capable of controlling the pit bull or in a “secure temporary
enclosure,” as that term is defined in subdivision B. of this section. Pit bulls may not be
leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all pit bull
dogs outside the dog’s enclosure must be muzzled by a heavy leather or steel cage type
muzzle sufficient to prevent such dog from biting persons, animals, or the muzzle. 5
9. No person shall sell, barter, or in any other way dispose of a pit bull registered with
the City unless the recipient person resides permanently in the same household and on
the same premises as the registered owner and will then become the owner and will be
subject to all of the provisions of this section. Provided, that the registered owner may
sell or otherwise dispose of a pit bull dog or the offspring of such dog to persons who do
not reside within the City. The owner shall notify the city within forty-eight (48) hours
in the event the pit bull is lost or stolen. The owner shall notify the City within five (5)
days in the event that the pit bull is removed from the City, dies, or has a litter. In the
event of a litter, the owner must deliver the puppies to the Director of Health or City
Animal Shelter for destruction or permanently remove the puppies from the city and
provide sufficient evidence of such removal by the time the puppies are weaned, but in
no event shall the owner be allowed to keep in the City a pit bull puppy born after the
date of publication of the ordinance, that is more than twelve (12) weeks old. Any pit
bull puppies kept contrary to the provisions of this subdivision are subject to immediate
impoundment and disposal pursuant to subsection E. of this section.
10. The owner shall post a conspicuous and clearly legible sign at each possible
enclosure entrance where the pit bull is kept. Such sign must be rectangular with
dimensions of twelve inches (12”) in height by eighteen inches (18”) in width, with
lettering of not less than two inches (2”) in height and proportional width that shall read
as follows: “DOG ON PREMISES.”
E. The Director of Health is authorized to immediately impound any pit bull found in the
City which is not licensed under subsection D., above, and does not fall within the
exceptions listed in subsection C., above. The municipal animal control agency may house
or dispose of such pit bull in such manner as the Director of Health may deem appropriate,
except as the procedures in subsection G., below, otherwise require.
F. When the Director of Health has impounded any pit bull dog pursuant to this section, and
the owner of such dog disputes the classification of such dog as a pit bull, the owner of such
dog may file a written petition with the Director for a hearing concerning such classification
no later than seven (7) days after impoundment. Such petition shall include the name and
address, including mailing address, of the petitioner. The Director of Health will then issue a
notice of hearing date by mailing a copy to the petitioner’s address no later than ten (10)
days prior to the date of the hearing. Where no written request from the owner for a hearing
is received by the Director within seven (7) days of impoundment, the pit bull shall be
destroyed. The hearing, if any, will be held before the Director of Health or a hearing officer
designated by the Director of Health. Any facts which the petitioners wish to be considered
shall be submitted under oath or affirmation either in writing or orally at the hearing. This
may include veterinary papers, AKC papers, adoption papers from a shelter or other records
that prove the dog is not a pit bull. The owner may also request a veterinary determination
by a veterinary agreed to by both the owner and the Health Director. The Director of Health
or hearing officer shall make a final determination whether the dog is a pit bull as defined in
subsection B. of this section. Such final determination shall be considered a final order of
the Director of Health subject to judicial review pursuant to the applicable rules of legal
procedure. The procedures in this subsection F. shall not apply and the owner is not entitled
to such a hearing with respect to any dog which was impounded as the immediate result of
an attack or bite on a human being. In those instances, the dog shall be handled and the
procedures governed by the provisions for dogs involved in a bite or attack. 6
G. If the dog is found not to be a pit bull, the dog shall be released to the owner. If the dog
is found to be a pit bull, it shall be humanely destroyed, unless the owner voluntarily comes
forward within seven (7) days after impoundment and
1. Fully complies with the provisions of 3.03.006(D), or
2. The owner produces credible evidence, deemed sufficient by the Director of Health,
that the pit bull is to be permanently taken out of the City to a specified lawful location,
and the pit bull will not return to the City illegally; and
a. The pit bull is micro-chipped, so as to permanently identify the pit bull as
having been impounded by the Independence Animal Shelter; and
b. The owner and any proposed transferee of ownership and possession
acknowledge that should the pit bull be found within the City in the future, in
violation of this section, the pit bull will be destroyed; and
c. The pit bull is spayed or neutered before its release, unless a licensed
veterinarian states in writing that a pit bull is unfit to undergo the required
surgical procedure because of an extreme health condition of the animal. Such
extreme health condition shall include, but not be limited to: Severe
cardiovascular compromise; bleeding disorder; respiratory disease and hepatic
disease. The old age of an animal shall not, of itself, constitute an extreme health
condition for purposes of this section. The Director of Health may authorize the
secured transportation of the pit bull to a licensed veterinarian to perform this
procedure, if necessary; and
d. The pit bull has no known history of behavioral problems and does not
display any problematic behavioral traits so as to warrant the Director of Health’s
confidence that the pit bull will not pose a danger or nuisance to the public’s
health, safety, or welfare; and
e. The owner pays all the costs of impoundment, micro-chipping, transportation,
and all associated veterinarian costs, including sterilization.
H. The Director of Health shall establish written policies and procedures for the
discretionary evaluation and placement of spayed and neutered abandoned pit bulls with
established non-profit animal welfare organizations who have a Missouri Animal Care
Facility License for the placement and adoption of individual pit bulls, under the following
1. The non-profit animal welfare organization must execute a written agreement to the
terms and conditions for such placement of abandoned pit bulls for adoption by said
organization, including the payment of costs to the City to offset its expenses for the
impoundment, treatment, and care of the pit bull. The agreement shall also hold the City
harmless regarding the evaluations, placement, and adoption of each and every pit bull.
2. The non-profit animal welfare organization must require that parties adopting a pit
bull originating from the Independence Animal Shelter provide the Director of Health a
legible and true copy of the adopting party’s driver’s license or state issued photo
identification card. The adopting party must certify in writing that their sole purpose for 7
the adoption is to maintain the pit bull as a domesticate companion animal at their
3. The non-profit animal welfare organization must agree not to transfer the possession
or care of any pit bull to any other animal welfare organization without the pre-approval
of the Director of Health and without the existence of an executed written agreement
between the Director of Health and the secondary non-profit animal welfare
4. The non-profit animal welfare organization must agree to at least one (1) follow up
on-site inspection of the property where the adopted pit bull is being maintained, and the
adopting party must agree to the inspection as a pre-requisite for the adoption. The nonprofit animal welfare organization shall report to the Director of
Health, as a result of their on-site inspection, any evidence or indications that the adopted pit bull no longer is kept or maintained on the property as previously stated by the adopting party, or that the
pit bull, or any other animal on the property, is being mistreated as a result of
insufficient food, water, shelter, veterinarian care, or acts of cruelty, including, but not
limited to, any evidence that the pit bull is being or has been trained, encouraged, or used
to fight or attack any other animal, human, or simulated target.
5. The non-profit animal welfare organization must obtain and forward to the Director
of Health, a written statement signed by the adopting party acknowledging that the
animal is a pit bull and that the unlawful possession of the pit bull within the City will
result in the seizure and destruction of the pit bull by the Director of Health.
I. It shall be unlawful for the owner of a pit bull dog to fail to comply with the requirements
and conditions set forth in this section. Any dog found to be the subject of a violation of this
section shall be immediately seized and impounded.
1. Upon conviction of a first offense of this section, the penalty shall be a fine of not
less than Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) and not more than Five Hundred Dollars
($500.00) and up to forty-five (45) days in jail.
2. Upon conviction of a second offense, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than Five
Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and up to ninety (90) days in jail. Imposition or execution of
the sentence for a second offense may not be suspended unless the owner agrees to
removal of the dog from the City or destruction of the dog.
3. Upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense, the penalty shall be a fine of Five
Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and not less than forty-five (45) days or more than one
hundred eighty (180) days in jail. Imposition or execution of the sentence for a third or
subsequent offense may not be suspended and the judge shall order the destruction of the
pit bull dog.
4. In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who violates this section shall pay
all expenses, including shelter, food, handling, veterinary care, and testimony
necessitated by the enforcement of this section. For purposes of this section, proof of a
prior violation shall not require proof that the same pit bull dog was involved. Each day
of violation shall be a separate offense. 8
5. Notwithstanding the aforementioned section in its entirety, the Judge may order the
destruction of a pit bull upon a finding of guilt for any offense under this section.
K. If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this section is for any reason held to be
invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such
decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this section.”
Seems like a whole lot of crap to remember. Yes, it’s crap. Here’s what I know, dogs are a byproduct of their raising. No matter the breed of dog, their development is overseen by us, their owners. WE are responsible. If I wanted my dog to be a fighting dog, I would have raised him to be one. Instead, I raised him with love and affection and lots of food and treats. The byproduct of what I am raising is the equivalent of a tub of Crisco with fur. Why? Again, because I raised him that way. Also, being in animal rescue it’s not generally the “big dogs” that we worry about when it comes to bites and bad behavior, it’s those little yippy dogs. Poodles terrorize us more than any other animal. Should we ban Poodles because they are dainty dogs that are scared as hell? No.
Just like people in society, bully breed dogs are given labels and judged as to what they may look like. Call it modern-day racism. The Pilgrim’s had the Indians, the Nazi’s had the Jewish, the White had the Black and the Men had the Women. Eventually, they were taught (or forced to deal with) the fact that what they did was wrong. Today, the Straight fight the Gay, the Westboro “We-call-ourselves-Baptist-but-we’re-really-just-dumbasses” fight the Non-Dumbasses. It never really ends. Just when we overcome one huge mistake that we make, we find one just as shameful and horrible to replace it. In the end, all I am trying to say is that we need to realize what a huge mistake we are making here and that we need to force change. Just who will be the Martin Luther King or Malcom X, the Ellen DeGeneres or Lady GaGa for the dogs? Who is going to step up and do something for those who can’t even speak to protect themselves? Who of you will follow us into battle for the dogs?
BSL is everywhere but it exists because we allow it to. Stand up for your dogs and for your friends dogs. You have a voice, use it. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area and lobby and FIGHT. Don’t let another family lose their beloved pet. Help them! Don’t let dogs like mine be taken just because of how they look.
For more information on BSL in Missouri, visit MPR’s website. It provides a list of cities in Missouri and lets you know their rules and legislation in regards to the “blocky-headed” loves of your life. I also recommend KC Dog Blog written by Brent Toellner. He has a new post written on July 11th, 2012 about Lennox. Read more about Lennox here.
4 am comes early for anybody that’s not used to getting up at that insane hour of day. Okay, so back in the “golden-olden days” people would rise before dawn to tend to chores and farm work. Some old people still get up that early, I know this. But damnit, 4 in the morning is WAY too early for this girl. Surprisingly enough, I was excited to get up that early today.
I got a call a few days ago from my friend Ryan Westward (for those of you Kansas Citian’s, he’s a kick ass DJ for 98.9 “The Rock”). Ryan is a pilot for an amazing animal transport group called Pilots N Paws. PNP transports dogs all over the U.S. out of shelters and to awaiting rescues and adoptive families, saving the lives of countless animals every year. Ryan called to ask me for help because he had a dog coming in to KC on a flight from Alabama and he needed an “overnight” for the dog while he waited for the flight to his final destination in Omaha. I asked around for some help but I couldn’t find anyone that could meet the qualifications of fostering a dog that was not recommended to be around kids or other animals. Of course all of my people (friends and family) have kids or dogs or both. Since my own kids went to their dads that morning, I agreed to take the dog on.
At 1:00 yesterday, I pulled in to hangar 6B at the downtown airport and awaited my passenger. All I knew was that he was a male Pitbull who was known to be really sweet. If you know me at all, you know that my very favorite breed of dog is the Pitbull so I was really excited to have one to babysit. A few minutes after 1, I saw Ryan pull up next to my car and I caught my first glimpse of the dog. As I watched Ryan unload the dog, I saw fear and sadness in the pooches eyes. Ryan extended the leash to me and the dog cowered and leaned in to Ryan’s leg, hesitant to come to me. After some coaxing, he finally let me take his leash and pet him. I looked down at the skinny fella and mentioned to Ryan how thin he was. Ryan then told me, “Ironically, his name is Fatboy.”. Poor Fatboy was so scared that I couldn’t get him to move and he was frozen in place. I picked him up and carried him to my car and gently placed him in the back seat and on to the pillows and blankets I had ready and waiting for him. Ryan then handed me a white sheet that he referred to as “The Woobie” and he said that the sheet had traveled with Fatboy all the way from Alabama. Ryan and I said our “goodbye’s” and I got in the car and dug down in my floorboard for the little Ziplock bag I had ready, full of treats. As an introduction, I bribed the adorable guy with yummy goodness. Soon, he was my best friend. During the ride home he alternated munching on treats and napping.
When we arrived at my house and after a lot of bribing, Fatboy finally came out of the car. I took him outside directly and from there, I attempted to get him inside the house. That’s when I learned that he really didn’t do stairs. At all. After a few minutes, I finally had him up the stairs and in to the house. He proceeded to walk over to Larry and climb in his lap. And when I say “climb in his lap” what I really mean is, be as close to him as possible without actually being inside of him. Okay, that sounds gross but you catch my drift.
While Larry sat there petting Fatboy, we discovered that he was completely infested in fleas. He had so many fleas that it looked like he had black spots under his skin. We decided that we would go and buy him some flea shampoo and we’d try to bathe him and make him more comfortable. After giving Fatboy a scoop of what I assume was his first grain-free, high protein food, we loaded him up in our Yukon and headed to Petsmart. I ran in and bought him some medicated flea shampoo, some all natural flea and insect spray, some bones and a stuffed animal. During our outing, Fatboy basically passed out in the very back of the Yukon so I snapped the picture below. It’s probably one of the cutest sleeping dog pictures ever.
After our trip to Petsmart, we got home and I immediately put Fatboy in the bathtub. By his reaction, I am assuming it was the first bath he ever had. He was so scared that he laid in the floor of the tub as I washed him over and over. After 3 washes, LOTS of soaking and a drain completely clogged with only fleas, I got him out of the tub, dried him off and then sprayed him with the Peppermint and Clove Oil mixture I had bought from Petsmart. I turned him loose into the house and he proceeded to head straight for Larry’s lap, soaking wet dog and all! I got him another bowl of food and just as he did the first, it was gone in seconds. Once he scarfed his food, he then proceeded to climb on top of me to be held. For the next hour or so he moved from me to Larry, Larry to me. He didn’t want to lay next to us, he wanted to be on top of us and held. During all of this, I wondered how someone could (a) leave the dog at the shelter and (b) label him as “aggressive” and not safe for children or other pets. I also found it curious that he had so many scars for being such a young dog (maybe 1-2 tops). I mentioned to Larry how he seemed like he was a bait dog but I didn’t think too much of it because I thought he was an owner surrender. Still, it all struck me as odd.
Because my house already has a crabby old Pitbull mix and an annoying as hell cat, I felt bad that they had been trapped in my bedroom all day so I agreed to stay downstairs and sleep in my teenagers bed. Something about Fatboy told me that I shouldn’t stick him in a crate overnight. At about 8:15 and after a nice walk, Fatboy and I went downstairs. I climbed on to the bed with my iPad in my hand and the next thing I knew, Fatboy was on my iPad… and it wasn’t a picture, it was the actual dog. I laid the iPad down and extended my arm out to the side. Fatboy lay against my side and put his head on my arm and instantly fell asleep. The funny thing is, that is where he remained until 4 am this morning when I woke him up. During the night I was the anxious mom who kept checking to see if he was breathing. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t move and that he had me hold him all night, just as if he was a child.
We woke up at 4, went for a walk and then I got ready for work and to take him back to hangar 6B. I tossed him some more food and ran to shower. Periodically, I would open the door to downstairs and there he would be, sitting at the bottom of the stairs looking up at me. A few times he was perched on the very top stair, leaning on the door. Again, I asked myself how this dog could be a danger to anything but a couch. I became discouraged when I thought of another dog, mislabeled because of his breed.
Fatboy and I made it to the airport early and we sat there for nearly 30 minutes. He would lay down and then the next minute he was up, resting his head on my shoulder. This went on for the entire time we sat there. I idly stroked his head and spoke softly to him, reassuring him that he would be going to his “forever home” today and that his travels would finally come to an end. He finally would have a home of his own. Occasionally, a tear would escape and slide down my face and Fatboy always noticed and he would lick it away and then act as if it never happened. I bonded with this dog so quickly and easily. The thought of sending him off to parts unknown left me feeling uneasy and unsettled. Try as I may, I couldn’t kick the emotion.
Ryan showed up and I handed off Fatboy, his “Woobie” and his stuffed animal. I tried my best to be brave and to not make a fool of myself by bawling hysterically. I’m pretty proud that I managed to hold myself together. After one last pat on his head, I told Fatboy I loved him and I walked away, got in my car and drove away. As soon as I was in my office, I sat staring out the window to the airport directly in front of me and in perfect view. I wondered when his plane would take off and when he would arrive “home”. I wondered if his new home would be a good home, one that deserved a dog so special. Sadly, I won’t ever really know the answer. I would rest my head on my hands and catch the faint scent of Clove and Peppermint left lingering from Fatboy’s flea spray, look out the window of my office and on to the tarmac at the airport, all with tears staining my face.
A few hours ago, Ryan called me and told me that he had landed with Fatboy and that he had some news to tell me. My response was “Uh oh”. Ryan then told me that he found out more about Fatboy and that the poor guy was used as a “bait dog” in a dog-fighting ring. Him and his brother were confiscated and his brother was adopted right away but Fatboy took some extra time and work in getting to a home. Now it all made sense… the reason why he was covered in fleas, why he was neglected, why he never answered to his name, why he wasn’t recommended to be around kids or other animals and where all of the scars came from.
This beautiful, sweet and loving soul was the product of stereotypes, abuse and neglect. After I got off the phone with Ryan, I cried as I imagined all of the pain Fatboy experienced at the hands of people. I couldn’t believe that after everything people put him through that he still was so willing to love and be loved. And then I remembered that I already knew the answer…
Dogs are the most forgiving of all of God’s creatures. No matter what hand they are dealt, they win with love and devotion. Dogs will always forgive you, they will always stick by your side and they always know just what to do to make you feel better. While I looked at my time with Fatboy as me comforting him, really he was the one providing comfort. He felt my questions, my behavior and me and he responded in the only way a dog knows how. With love. Fatboy, I hope you have the best family a dog could ever have. You deserve it and so much more.
*I want to extend a HUGE “thank you” to Jim Bordoni, Ryan Westward and all of the other pilots with Pilots N Paws, who so generously donate their time and money to the cause and who helped Fatboy along his way. Please visit their website and donate to their cause, it’s truly a great one.*