Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mayor calls for pit bull ban to be enforced

October 18, 2007

"Bunny" the pit bull was impounded Tuesday morning by Baldwin City police after an edict handed down by Mayor Gary Walbridge at Monday's city council meeting.

Three Baldwin City residents voiced their opposition to the pit bull's continued presence near Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center. Its owners had successfully obtained a continuance on their citation for having a pit bull, which is against city ordinance, in municipal court last week. The council had indicated they might change the ordinance.

After a lengthy discussion during public comment Monday night, Walbridge laid down the law.

"Let's enforce the ordinance," said Walbridge. "Let's get the dog picked up and impounded until the court hearing. I am bound by the state to enforce the ordinance. We're going to enforce it."

Sgt. Greg Schiffelbein said "Bunny," a young pit bull, was taken by the animal control officer at around 10 a.m. Tuesday and transported to Lawrence Humane Society. Schiffelbein had cited the owners after an incident involving the dog Aug. 25.

Several people were on hand Monday to express their displeasure that the council was considering doing away with the breed specific ban and that the dog was still in the neighborhood.

"I'm here about the pit bull situation in town," said Tina Johnson. "This stemmed from a 911 call I had to make about this dog. After talking to Sgt. Schiffelbein, I think if he would have known that citing her for the pit bull wouldn't do it, he would have cited her for vicious dog.

"I just don't think it's safe to have pit bulls two blocks from the grade school and with all those (Baker University) college students around," said Johnson. "I just don't think it (pit bull ban) should be overturned."

Jason Mock, a Baker student who has run unsuccessfully for city council in the last two elections, was also at Monday's meeting and passed out folders of information on pit bulls and breed specific bans to council members.

"This includes information about the tendency of violence by these animals, that breed specific laws are viable and the genetic nature of pit bulls," said Mock. "It's some interesting information about why pit bulls shouldn't be in communities. They are not good dogs."

Susan England, a resident who jogs in the area and is also worried about children, also spoke up.

"I'm not handicapped, I'm not 5, I'm scared to death to go by that house," said England. "It's just scary. Children walk by there everyday. If that dog gets loose, they don't have a chance."

The dog's owner, Sarah Warmuskerken, had attended the last two city council meetings to plead "Bunny's" case. She was not at Monday's meeting and unavailable for comment. She gave council members information showing that breed specific bans weren't good and that "Bunny" is being trained.

The council's safety committee is currently reviewing information regarding the dog ordinances.

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