Missouri moves to undo breed specific bans

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Undoing local Pit Bull bans.  A new bill in the Missouri legislature to lift the bans, HB 1811, is getting national attention.

It would outlaws local breed specific bans which generally target Dobermans, Chows, and most often in the St. Louis area, Pit Bulls.

Joan is a lovable dog with one eye at the Gateway Pet Guardians shelter in St. Louis.

She had a 3-inch knife blade stuck in the other eye when she was rescued from East St. Louis.

As with most of the other rescues at the shelter people in certain municipalities, from U-City to Florissant, can’t adopt Joan because of Pit Bull bans.

Though her breed is not 100% certain she has a “Pit Bull” look.

“It’s hard to determine – what is she?”  Said Jamie Case of Gateway Pet Guardians.  “We don’t even know.  Because she has a blocky head and big snout and a good licker – a lot of times she’s classified as a pit bull terrier type dog.”

The new bill gives the state pre-emptive power over local, breed specific, dog bans; effectively lifting those bans.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Ron Hicks, a St. Charles County Republican, said. Breed specific bans were flat out unfair.

But Florissant mayor, Thomas Schneider, stood by his city’s ban.

“We just had (an attack) in Florissant yesterday where a little boy was in his own yard, was attacked by an illegal pit pull that made its way under the fence and attacked a boy that was just playing in his back yard,” Schneider said.  “We believe that the state legislature should let municipalities whatever laws are necessary to protect their citizen’s base on what those citizens demand.”

“If we get rid of every pit bull in this nation we’re still going to have animals that turn on their owners and on each other,” Rep. Hicks said.  “I think we can strengthen our laws we have now…some guy just tried to chew me out on Facebook, Twitter.  He goes, ‘science is science – these dogs – it’s in their DNA’.   Is it my friend’s dogs DNA that’s never bitten a single person and doesn’t even have a mean bone in its body?”

“For the entire state to do something like that is a huge step forward in showing the rest of the country how wonderful these dogs are,” Case said, giving Joan a big smooch and getting a bigger one in return.

The bill has passed the Missouri House and is gaining momentum.  It has been picked up in the Missouri Senate.