City council bites down on pit bulls

The Kirksville City Council voted on Monday night to approve an ordinance that will add pit bulls to the city's dangerous and vicious animal list.

The vote from Monday night was four-to-one in favor of adding pit bulls to the vicious animal list.

Mayor Todd Kuhn's was the only council member that voted against the ordinance.

The new ordinance will add pit bulls to a variety of animals that are classified as dangerous. Among the animals included on the list are tigers, bobcats, raccoons, bears, monkeys, and venomous snakes. The ordinance defines "Pit Bull Terrier" as the following breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and any mixed breed of dog from these breeds.

What does this ordinance mean? For starters, citizens can own pit bulls in the City of Kirksville. In fact, citizens can own up to five as long as those are the only animals in the residence. They have to meet certain standards with the city of Kirksville.

They must be registered with the city, they must be leashed when outside of their confined area and when confined they must be fenced in by a five foot fence. Pit bulls must be registered with the city of Kirksville and the owner must have a 100 thousand dollar public liability insurance policy. The issue at the meeting tonight seemed to be clear. Why single out pit bulls?

"Targeting one breed isn't going to really solve the problem so much as if we assigned a weight limit, say 30 pound dogs or over need to be restricted, they need to be in a kennel or need a insurance policy because those are the dogs that can cause the most damage," said Kirksville resident Jennifer Bubel.

"Well a large dog can cause a problem. It isn't as much the problem. It's what a pit bull can do versus another dog. Pit bulls are dangerous, they have a bite strength that is unbelievable and they don't give up," said Kirksville city codes and planning director Brad Selby.

However, there are a few exceptions in the ordinance. If you can provide proof that your pit bull is certified as a " Canine Good Citizen" by the American Kennel Club, your dog will be exempted from the confinement rules and insurance policy.

If your pit bull is determined by law enforcement as being a vicious animal the citizen will be cited, yet the citizen can purchase a DNA test from the city of Kirksville to proof that the dog is not of a vicious breed.

The ordinance will go into affect within 60 days of April 1.

To see the list of standards visit the Kirksville City Council webpage