To abolish the city ordinance in St. Joseph, MO which prohibits specific breeds from being adopted f

Dear St. Joseph City Council,

I am writing in regards to the current city ordinance (Section 5-148) where it clearly discriminates against Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and any dog mixed with one of these breeds by not allowing these dog to have a chance at being adopted at our local shelter by members of the community.  I would like to propose this city ordinance be removed from being breed specific. Other City and State governments have developed instead a “dangerous dog registry” in order to prevent from discriminating against an entire breed. This registry provides the name and address of the owner, description of the dog and its offense that made it a dangerous dog, and the phone number for animal control in order to report further issues with the animal.  Insurance companies such as State Farm and Allstate have now changed their approach and have followed many other city ordinances leads by not inquiring about dog breeds during the underwriting process. Instead, they only inquire about the behavioral qualities such as past incidents of aggressive tendencies or behavior.

There is a major problem with dogs biting people with over 4.7 million reported attacks in the United States in this past year alone.  According to AVMA President Roger Mahr, “The only known cures for dog bites are training, knowledge and caution. Any dog may bite if it feels threatened, if its put into unfamiliar situation, if it’s out of control or if it’s scared”.  The Friends of St. Joseph Animal Shelter have taken measures to get these strays adequate training through their volunteers helping to socialize these dogs on a daily basis and through their “Puppies for Parole” program which has proven so far to be 100% successful.

It is only through the personal experience with dogs that people form their opinions on each breed of dog and if they know them to be safe. Although it is the job of a journalist to present the facts, sometimes they have little time to find out the true story and an editor will only put out a sensational story that sells papers.  Instead, the media should be responsible for demonizing the true villain. When a pit bull goes out of control and mauls someone, the owner of that dog should be put under the magnifying glass. Why was the dog wild, why was the dog not better trained, why was the dog allowed into a situation where it would lose control? I have read sensationalized articles in a bid to put fear into readers about certain dogs and this has the effect that people are afraid when they go for a walk and see these dogs. Nurture vs nature is a large part of a dog’s personality. Any dog, even one of the “violent” breeds will be loving and sweet if raised that way. Any breed can turn vicious if abused and raised cruelly.  The media and government ordinances should put the blame where blame is due and stop perpetuation the myth of “vicious breeds”.

In conclusion, I would also like to point out that I personally own a Rottweiler. This so called “vicious” dog, which is currently labeled “un-adoptable” in St. Joseph is a licensed therapy dog that visits local nursing homes and libraries for reading pups programs here in St. Joseph. I would suspect my dog has performed more community service hours for the good of the people than most citizens. She is a direct example of having responsible owners and good training makes a great dog- regardless of her breed.

Sincerely,

Karie Sparks

Dear St. Joseph City Council,


I am writing in regards to the current city ordinance (Section 5-148) where it clearly discriminates against Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and any dog mixed with one of these breeds by not allowing these dog to have a chance at being adopted at our local shelter by members of the community.  I would like to propose this city ordinance be removed from being breed specific. Other City and State governments have developed instead a “dangerous dog registry” in order to prevent from discriminating against an entire breed. This registry provides the name and address of the owner, description of the dog and its offense that made it a dangerous dog, and the phone number for animal control in order to report further issues with the animal.  Insurance companies such as State Farm and Allstate have now changed their approach and have followed many other city ordinances leads by not inquiring about dog breeds during the underwriting process. Instead, they only inquire about the behavioral qualities such as past incidents of aggressive tendencies or behavior.


There is a major problem with dogs biting people with over 4.7 million reported attacks in the United States in this past year alone.  According to AVMA President Roger Mahr, “The only known cures for dog bites are training, knowledge and caution. Any dog may bite if it feels threatened, if its put into unfamiliar situation, if it’s out of control or if it’s scared”.  The Friends of St. Joseph Animal Shelter have taken measures to get these strays adequate training through their volunteers helping to socialize these dogs on a daily basis and through their “Puppies for Parole” program which has proven so far to be 100% successful.


It is only through the personal experience with dogs that people form their opinions on each breed of dog and if they know them to be safe. Although it is the job of a journalist to present the facts, sometimes they have little time to find out the true story and an editor will only put out a sensational story that sells papers.  Instead, the media should be responsible for demonizing the true villain. When a pit bull goes out of control and mauls someone, the owner of that dog should be put under the magnifying glass. Why was the dog wild, why was the dog not better trained, why was the dog allowed into a situation where it would lose control? I have read sensationalized articles in a bid to put fear into readers about certain dogs and this has the effect that people are afraid when they go for a walk and see these dogs. Nurture vs nature is a large part of a dog’s personality. Any dog, even one of the “violent” breeds will be loving and sweet if raised that way. Any breed can turn vicious if abused and raised cruelly.  The media and government ordinances should put the blame where blame is due and stop perpetuation the myth of “vicious breeds”.


In conclusion, I would also like to point out that I personally own a Rottweiler. This so called “vicious” dog, which is currently labeled “un-adoptable” in St. Joseph is a licensed therapy dog that visits local nursing homes and libraries for reading pups programs here in St. Joseph. I would suspect my dog has performed more community service hours for the good of the people than most citizens. She is a direct example of having responsible owners and good training makes a great dog- regardless of her breed.


Sincerely,


Karie Sparks

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