ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) - It was pit bull round up day in one small Missouri town. Some say it's not protecting the public, but claim it's robbing responsible owners of their family pets.
It took place in Sikeston, MO. Fox 2's Chris Hayes found out about the program after learning about a sudden influx of dogs coming to the St. Louis area.
About 20 dogs from Sikeston were shipped up to St. Charles to make room for seized pit bulls in Southern Missouri. The reported pit bulls may have no reported problems. Some may not even be pit bulls, like Yulonda Mitchell's dogs. Mitchell said officers took her brother's dogs, even though she believed they were bulldogs.
She said her family dogs were, "...licensed and up to date on their shots. We did everything, you know, complied with the City ordinance but they still wanted to remove the dogs."
Chris Hayes asked, "This was a family pet?"
Mitchell, "It was a family pet."
Yet she says no one touches the strays like we saw right after our interview.
Mitchell explained, "I said why don`t you guys get those dogs? (The animal control officers) say, well those dogs are just too smart for us. We can`t catch `em."
Holly Jobe said officers almost got her pet.
Jobe explained, "They said they were going to take her because she does not like a man in uniform. Ha ha. And she tried to go after him because they were tampering with her property and I told them they was not taking my dog."
So she complied with a long list of regulations that only apply to pit bulls in Sikeston -- put up a 'beware of dog' sign, get insurance, put on a hard collar on the dog, take multiple pictures and so on.
Mark and Jamie Buehrle started fighting for pit bulls nationwide after finding so many people who don't understand. Jamie said, "All they know is the media they see and the horror stories and the neighbor's brother's sister that got attacked. Half of them meet (our pit bull mutt) Slater and then are rolling on the floor with him by the time they leave our house. (Mark says) Every kid that comes to our house goes right to him."
The Buehrle's faced a pit bull ban when Mark pitched for the Miami Marlins. So they moved to the suburbs. Next year he pitches for Toronto, where there's another pit bull ban. Jamie believes the regulations have no impact on irresponsible dog owners.
Jamie said, "It`s people like my family that actually try to abide by the law, live up to your ordinances of your town, that it`s affecting. Now it`s affected us twice in a two year period."
Fox2 made five calls to representatives of the City of Sikeston, with no response. The pit bulls seized apparently risked immediate euthanasia. To prevent that, a Sikeston shelter sent about 35 dogs to other shelters. Most came to the St. Louis area. 20 came to the no kill St. Charles Five Acres shelter. They're various breeds that now need homes in the St. Louis area, because of a roundup 150 miles away.
Some dogs went to local Sikeston area rescues too. SEMO Animal Rescue Alliance and Paws New England took in animals, both which are already overcrowded. Other private rescue groups also helped take in dogs, keeping about 15 down in the Southeaster Missouri.
"The group 'Best Friends" responded to our report by sending this alert for residents to take action - http://www.capwiz.com/
As of midnight December 5, 102 people had sent letters to Sikesont City Council members asking for a repeal.
Many towns recently dropped pit bull regulations, like Chesterfield and Wentzville.
According to the Best Friends Animal Society, "300 Missourians have sent letters to Sikeston asking for the repeal within 24 hours"
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