http://www.springfieldnews-leader.com/a ... /604180357
Council tightens leash on pit bulls
Owners of the breed now must submit to a formidable number of restrictions.
Unless it's vaccinated, registered, spayed or neutered, microchipped and muzzled while away from home, you can't have a pit bull in Springfield anymore.
The Springfield City Council approved dramatic restrictions on pit bull dog ownership Monday night at its regular meeting.
Within about six months — the time it'll take the city to set up new procedures — all pit bull owners will be required to register their dogs with the city, for a $50 annual fee. Registration only comes for fixed dogs with proof of rabies shots and microchip identification. Only certified show dogs are exempt from spaying and neutering requirements.
Meanwhile, all dogs with American Pit Bull Terrier, American Straffordshire Terrier or Straffordshire Bull Terrier traits are to be "confined" while at their homes — which must have warning signs posted at every entrance — and either caged or leashed and muzzled while in public.
Monday's vote left pit bull owner Sarah Wilson-DeWald in tears.
"You treat a dog like it's vicious and it will be that way," said Wilson-DeWald, one of 35 people who had spoken against the proposal at the council's April 3 public hearing.
Three council members voted against the bill: Mary Collette, Shelia Wright and John Wylie.
Collette said she was unconvinced a breed-specific ban would effectively reduce dog attacks.
"Springfield deserves a better ordinance than this and I think this is a mistake," said Collette, who had proposed an amendment limiting the pit bull law to a two-year trial period. The council turned down her proposal.
Mayor Tom Carlson said a two-year sunset would make the city appear uncommitted to the law.
"I want to communicate to people we're serious about the issue. We're not going to waver," he said. "Vicious dogs and vicious pit bulls will not be tolerated in this community. Period."
Wylie said he could not support restricting city residents' rights to own a certain kind of dog.
"Our (vicious dog) committee, which we appointed, said specifically: Don't go with a breed-specific ban," said Wylie. He added he'd requested, but not received, information from city staff about broader dog restrictions.
Carlson said Wylie's request would have probably required a citywide vote to implement. "It may take a year for it to get through," he said. "In the meantime, the problem continues to escalate."