City Council to outlaw new pit bulls
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY/C-T News Editor
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 12:33 PM CST
Pit bulls will no longer be allowed to lawfully enter Chillicothe once a new city law goes into effect on Feb. 12.
City Council members on Monday night passed an ordinance amending the city's code of ordinances relating to animals and fowl. The new law bans any new dogs exhibiting the dominant characteristics of the American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, or American pit bull terrier from entering the city. Dogs possessing these traits that are licensed as of Feb. 12 may remain in the city as long as long as certain criteria are met.
Statistics are unavailable for this year; however, there were around five licensed pit bulls in Chillicothe last year, according to City Treasurer Sherry Parks.
City officials had been discussing whether to ban certain breeds of dogs since last summer when letter carriers were attacked while delivering the mail in Chillicothe. Although they escaped without serious injuries, other dog attacks made headlines, including the attack on a mail carrier in Trenton who was bitten and received stitches; the savage attack by three pit bulls on an Independence man who spent three month in the hospital recovering from his injuries; and the attack on a 71-year-old woman in Kansas City, Kan., which proved fatal.
A special task force was organized to study the issue and make a recommendation to the council. That recommendation was distributed to council members at their last meeting and was approved with a 4-0 vote Monday night.
“This ordinance was born out of a significant amount of time and effort by a lot of volunteer members of the community,” said City Attorney Scott Washburn, who presided over the committee meetings. “This issue was pored over extensively by these folks. This is a direct result of their hard work and efforts.”
The ordinance calls for replacing the entire chapter of city's code of ordinances relating to animals and fowl and replacing it with a revised version that addresses a number of issues. The 17-page document will be published in the Constitution- Tribune before it goes into effect.
The new law states that it shall be unlawful for any person possessing, owning or otherwise having under his custody or control any domestic animal or fowl of any kind to permit the same to run at large in or upon any of the streets and public places or upon the land of any person in the city or tether the same in such a way that such animals or fowl may go across or upon any of such places.
The law also states that individuals controlling or allowing his or her animal to be away from their own property shall be required to clean up and carry off any feces deposited on any public or private property not the property of the animal's owner, and properly dispose of said feces.
The new law also limits particular breeds. It states that no person shall own, harbor or keep any canine exhibiting the dominate characteristics of the following breeds: American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier within the city limits. The law also indicates that dogs of these breeds currently licensed in the city would be allowed to remain in the city if certain laws are obeyed. To be lawful, the dog must comply with all city ordinances in addition to being spayed or neutered, leashed and muzzled at all times while the dog is on public property or on private property not owned by the person in control of the animal. It also states that the owner of the dog shall confine the dog within a fully enclosed structure from which it cannot escape. The owner must also show proof of liability insurance policy exhibiting no less than $100,000 coverage for any incident involving a dog. The owner, at his or her expense, shall allow the animal control officer to implant a microchip identification in the dog. . . .