The new ordinance includes definitions of 33 terms, from “abandon” to “work dog.”
But the centerpiece of the ordinance is that it abandons proscription of breeds such as pit bulls that are generally regarded as dangerous in favor of a prohibition of animals that are found to be dangerous or vicious.
Veterinarian Sheila Dodson, medical director of No More Homeless Pets KC, supported the revisions.
She was especially enthusiastic about doing away with the breed-specific bans.
“We, as a profession, have come out very strongly against breed-specific bans,” she said.
All dogs have the capability to cause harm, Dodson said. Breed-specific bans give a false sense of security.
She noted that she was recently attacked by a vicious dog that might have been a Labrador-Great Dane mix, neither of which is a breed usually considered to be dangerous.
Animals attack for many reasons other than heredity, she said.
“I applaud the recommendations,” she said. “I think they’re very well written.”
The key to success with an animal-control ordinance is in educating people how to behave around potentially dangerous animals, especially children, who are most often the victims of dog attacks, most of which occur in the home.
“What’s really important is educating the people in your city,” she said.