Pit bull laws may be changing after a family's dog is taken

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. - A Bonner Springs, Kan., family is fighting the law to keep their dog after they say it was taken from their home.

A city ordinance states in black and white that it is illegal to own a pit bull within the city limits.

"He's just, you know, the family dog," said Debi Baker, the dog's owner.

Baker said she didn't think it was very black and white when animal control told her she had to surrender Titan. He is just over two years old and the family says they adopted him from a shelter who told them he was a Terrier. Baker said she never thought anything else about it.

But when Titan got away and ran down the street back in May, a problem quickly arose. A neighbor called animal control and Baker said they were then given 15 days to get rid of the dog.

"They didn't really give us a choice. They didn't say here, get a DNA test or anything like that they just said, he's got to go," Baker said.

The same city ordinance says that not only are pit bulls illegal to have in the city, but you're not even allowed to have a dog that looks like a pit bull, much like ordinances in a lot of other cities.

So, Baker to took her concerns to city council.

"We've decided that it's time to look at the ordinance to determine if it's still valid," Tom Stephens, Bonner Springs Ward 2 Councilman, said.

Stephens is also the chair of a new Bonner Springs task force designed to take another look at the existing ordinance.

"We don't want to hinder someone in their freedoms to have an animal of their choice, but we do have to always make sure that the safety of the community as a whole is the number one issue being addressed," Stephens said.

While Titan waits at a shelter to see if he gets to go home, Baker is waiting to see if the law could be changed.

"Let's place the responsibility totally on the owner and that way it's not ok this dog was born a pit bull, this dog was born a Rottweiler so they are automatically a bad dog," she said.

Many surrounding cities in Kansas have similar bans on breeds including Kansas City, Leawood and Sugar Creek. But in Kansas City, Mo., it is legal to have a pit bull only if it is sterilized and registered with the city.

The task force will have its first public meeting Thursday, July 17, at 6 pm at the Bonner Springs City Hall.

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