Several area locations have, or have tried to enact, bans of certain breeds of dogs from their cities. Now one state legislator Rep. Ron Hicks is trying to end breed-specific legislation. Hicks along with a number of backers, including advocates from Kansas City and the St. Louis area, believe that the there is a need to start punishing the individual for the crimes that they do and not blame a breed of dog.
On the other side of the argument are statistics from groups like Dogbites.org who say that 66% of all fatal dog bits from 2005 to 2017 were caused by “pit bulls.” And, others don’t support an outright ban on the breeds, but they do support breed-specific spay-and-neuter requirements that would help control the pet population and the so-called “bully breeds”.
In Joplin, the local Humane Society is full of pit bulls, although “pit bull” isn’t a breed, but a term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any dog with a blocky head, short snout and a stout body. With breed bans in the area, it makes finding these animals a loving home a hard task. Connie Andrews, the Executive Director of the Joplin Humane Society, says that there is a lot of excitement surrounding the possible lift on the local bans. She also believes that the black eye that went with the term “pitbull” is starting to fade with education and awareness and that awareness goes hand-in-hand with spaying/neutering and being a good pet owner.
House Bill 297 isn’t the first time a bill about breed bands that has been to the state house. A previous bill easily passed the house, but died in the Senate.