Missouri bill would end dog discrimination, spay-neuter program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Dog discrimination could soon end in Missouri, but it will come with an unexpected cost. On Tuesday, lawmakers will debate eliminating breed-specific laws against dogs like pit bulls, Rottweilers and German Sheperds.

"Those breeds end up spending two to three times longer here at the shelter," said Shannon Wells with The KC Pet Project.

For the more than 90 dogs at the KC Pet Project , they're limited on who can take them home because of where the potential owner might live.
 

According to dogbite.com , 11 cities in the area have breed-specific legislation. Wells knows this is a hurdle for the dogs and responsible owners.

"We get dogs out in play groups every day. They interact with staff and volunteers, they play with each other. We can say pretty confidently they're very social animals, but it doesn't make a difference if the city they live in says they can't have that breed," Wells said.

Missouri House Bill 1116  would end all of these local breed specific ordinances.

"I agree with that 100 percent. In fact, if that bill just said that we would be up there supporting it, but it doesn't," Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance of Animal Legislation Bob Baker said.

Baker argues that the way the bill is written would also get rid of Kansas City's successful mandatory spay-neuter program of pit bulls.
 

He would also like to see the legislation make special adoptions policies mandatory for shelters to protect the dogs even more.

"There are just too many irresponsible people that are taking these dogs, breeding them for money, selling them as guard dogs," Baker said.

If it's passed, the repeal of the ban would go into effect in August.

The ASPCA  claims breed specific laws carry several negative consequences for dogs and their owners. It said the laws cause owners of highly regulated dogs to restrict their outdoor activities. ASPCA also claims the breed-specific laws unfairly punish responsible dog owners and cause a false sense of security because they use limited animal control resources.

The Missouri Pit Bull Rescue  is encouraging people to contact their local lawmakers to make sure their voice is heard. They posted this link on their site to encourage participation. 

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