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Ban on Pit Bulls in Florissant Abolished

McKenna Morris, Reporter

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On March 13th, 2017 the ban on owning pit bulls in Florissant was lifted after almost a year of the Florissant Bully Alliance trying to get the ban repealed. This ban on owning pit bulls in Florissant had lasted for eleven years.

 

Mandy Ryan, the president of Missouri K9 Friends and executive director of all Missouri Bully Alliance groups including the Florissant Bully Alliance, started her Facebook page in 2013 when she was working as an animal control officer. The page gathered so many likes and attention in such a short amount of time, she knew that it was something people cared about.

 

“I founded the Florissant Bully Alliance in May of 2016. It was founded because we received a large number of outcries from Florissant residents and we knew they needed one of our Bully Alliance groups.” Ryan explains.

 

The Florissant Bully Alliance wanted the ban repealed, but they also wanted the city to start enforcing their dangerous dog law, and they want the city to crack down on irresponsible ownership. The Bully Alliance wants people to register their pets with the city, spay and neuter regardless of breed, and they want everyone to follow all animal codes in the city.

 

Keith Schildroth of Ward 5 proposed the ban because of one bad owner in 2005. It passed and became a law.

 

“Keith Schildroth stated that there was a bad owner in his ward that owned a pit bull type dog that was breaking several animal ordinances. The owner was a “frequent flyer” as we use to call them when I worked animal control. The owner had stated that they could keep taking his dog away, and he would just get the same type of dog anyway. So rather than enforce the countless ordinances the owner was breaking, and rather than banning him from animal ownership for a couple years, they banned a breed of dog. Obviously we’ve seen it didn’t fix anything and that it wasn’t the right choice, but Schildroth did what he thought was right for the city at the time,”

 

But this law affected many families in Florissant who owned pit bulls because this law didn’t allow ownership of pit bulls in Florissant, and because of it many families had to get rid of their pit bulls or get them taken away. So with the ban on pit bulls lifted in Florissant, people can now adopt pit bulls and get their beloved dogs registered.

 

“Thankfully, a majority of the council (5 of 9 members) were able to put their personal feelings aside and look at the facts. They saw that dog bites in Florissant rose 115% percent since the ban was enacted. They saw that there were still pitbulls in Florissant and that the ban didn’t work anyway. They saw that this inhibited public safety because it took time and energy from animal control and that the dangerous dog ordinance wasn’t being enforced. The ban was being prioritized,”

They began by starting a Bully Alliance group in Florissant and recruiting it’s residents to the group that wanted to help make the change happen. Florissant Bully Alliance quickly became their largest Bully Alliance group in Missouri. They started attending city council meetings and bringing facts and experts to present to the councilmen. They filed many sunshine law requests with the city and with the county, like number of bites in the city by breed before and after the ban, all of the emails sent to city officials regarding the ban etc. They had Florissant residents emailing and calling their councilmembers. They showed up to every city council meeting wearing orange until it got done. Orange is the color for animal cruelty and bsl awareness.

 

“The alliance to me is an opportunity for people to organize. Before I started the Bully Alliance groups, people were hopeless, they didn’t know how to approach their city governments, and they were afraid of retaliation in some circumstances. In each city, like Florissant, we organized a group of citizens and helped them bring facts, not emotion, to their cities. I’m passionate about it because it shows people they do have a voice, and they can also be a voice for the voiceless. A lot of people don’t feel heard. I think everyone that loves dogs, especially any bully breed or breed that is a victim of discrimination should be involved with our Bully Alliance groups,”

 

Kristen Korte became involved in the Florissant Bully Alliance through a friend who told her about the Bully Alliance when they were looking for help for an abandoned dog by her friend Connie’s house. Her friend Connie wanted to adopt this dog that was left in her neighbors garage, but couldn’t because Florissant animal control said it was a pit bull.

 

Korte has been involved in the FBA almost a year now and is now an administrator on the FBA’s page.

 

Although this organization hasn’t been around long, it has already made an impact on many people’s lives.

 

“I’m passionate about this cause because it means so much to me and because it tears families apart. We teach our children not to be mean to anyone because of their looks, skin color, religion- differences in general, and then we as adults make a law that does just that to an animal. Something that has no voice. I decided to be that voice,” Korte states.

 

Pit bulls get a bad reputation due to bad owners training them how to be vicious, which contributes to people not liking the breed or thinking that this particular breed of dog is violent.

 

“The media is a big part of is, and websites like dogsbite.org. Dogsbite gets their “statistics” by searching news articles on google and even had a disclaimer on their website saying their information shouldn’t be taken as professional advice. Most of our opposition during this process quoted Dogsbite on a regular basis, or referred to news articles referencing dog attacks. The issue with the news articles is that a lot of the time dogs are mislabeled as pit bulls when they are other breeds. I’ve yet to see any credible source prove bsl to work or to be a good thing. The AVMA, the national animal control association, the AKC, the CDC, and even American Bar Association are all publicly against bsl. There’s a much longer list but those are a few. Myself included, I’ve worked 15 years in the animal related field now, including animal control where I enforced vicious dog laws. I will trust the experts and my personal experiences and expertise over a news articles and fear.”

 

The media is a big part of these misbeliefs, but also just mis-information on the breed of dog itself that people may not realize isn’t true.

 

“Some people believe they have a locking jaw, which is physically impossible. Also, according to National Geographic pit bulls have less pressure per square inch in their bite than the national average including all dog breeds. Another myth is that they just snap out of nowhere and that they are responsible for more dog attacks,” Ryan says.

 

These are just more examples of how anti-pit bull propaganda is spread, creating that unfair distrust in the breed of dog and making people be wary or scared of the breed.

 

“Most people that are pro bsl or anti pit bull have either never met one, or had a bad experience with one. I myself was bit in the face by a chocolate lab, but I don’t let that cause me to fear chocolate labs. I have a scar from it too. I’ve dealt with vicious dogs of all breeds with my field experience and it is scary to be in that situation, even for the experts. So I know if someone who isn’t experienced is attacked they are going to be traumatized. With sites like dogsbite and the press feeding the negative pit bull propaganda, of course these people will jump on that bandwagon. Judging a whole breed because of the actions of a few is wrong, especially when the actions of a few is normally due to bad ownership.”

 

Due to the media or these myths about pit bulls there are people out there who are afraid or distrusting of pit bulls. But Ryan would like to show them that pit bulls are actually a very good and loving breed of dogs.

 

“I’d ask those who are distrusting of pit bulls that they let me take them to a shelter and show them a wide variety of pit bull type dogs. I would also tell them that I have 15 years of experience and I’ve seen and dealt with vicious dogs of every breed, yes including pit bull type dogs. It is not the breed however. In EVERY case that I worked with a vicious dog (regardless of breed) the owner was at fault. We should be punishing irresponsible owners.”

 

Mandy is happy and excited now that the ban has been lifted and is looking forward to the future of the Bully Alliance.

 

“Now we can focus on helping families in Florissant get their pets fixed, as well as focus on getting people to register their pets with the city. We are also now able to put more of our time and resources into the statewide bill, HB 905. If it passes it will make all breed specific language in Missouri illegal.”
If people want to be involved in the Bully Alliance, they can contact them on their Facebook page “stop breed specific legislation in Missouri” via private message or they can contact Missouri K9 Friends. If there isn’t a Bully Alliance group in their city and they have BSL, they can help people get one started.

7 Comments

7 Responses to “Ban on Pit Bulls in Florissant Abolished”

  1. Kristin Korte on April 3rd, 2017 8:56 am

    Thank you Ms. Morris for a great job!! You are another voice for the voiceless!!

    [Reply]

  2. Rick Haynes on April 3rd, 2017 2:10 pm

    I run 4 different Pit Bull groups and pages on Facebook, Pit Bulls Against Discrimination, Pit Bulls Against Dog Fighting & Abuse, Pit Bulls Against Breed Specific Legislation and Pit Bulls: The Real Truth. We would like to help you get Bully Alliance groups going in as many places as possible. We have people asking all the time how to get involved and this is the best idea I’ve seen yet to help put an end to these immoral and heinous laws. We have been working in Montreal since last summer trying to help them fight their mayor and city council. You can contact me anytime I think together we can help you in Missouri and other places. Thank you and look forward to hearing from you

    Rick Haynes
    813-857-3107

    [Reply]

  3. Diana Coulter on April 3rd, 2017 6:22 pm

    Love pitties the best pups on earth!

    [Reply]

  4. Donna on April 3rd, 2017 9:30 pm

    Great article!! I was there for every meeting except one and was overjoyed at the outcome.

    [Reply]

  5. Danielle Bynum on April 4th, 2017 6:37 pm

    I live in Waterford township in Michigan we’re there is a pit bull ban. People still get bit my dogs here and people still have pit bulls!
    Could you helps us have our board of trustees vote to revises this pit bull ordinance!!! Please help

    [Reply]

  6. Marjorie on April 4th, 2017 8:35 pm

    Thank you for this informative article. This has always been my belief that it’s the irresponsible humans who gives this bred a bad rap due to poor education training and caring of this bred of dogs. To own a Pit bull is to have a dog that loves cared protects you and your family. Yes they love to be loved with the kisses they give and think of themselves as Lap dogs. Please continue the good fight for this bred and thanks again for your wonderful job. A beloved pit bull owner.

    [Reply]

  7. bruce heller on April 13th, 2017 8:13 am

    GREAT article!! glad the ban is lifted!!

    [Reply]

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Ban on Pit Bulls in Florissant Abolished