Basehor Kansas had a breed discriminatory law in place that restricted “pit bulls”, Rottweilers and wolf-hybrids since 2003, when a dog identified as a pit bull attacked a farmer’s livestock.
Pit bull was defined in the ordinance as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and any dog that had “the appearance and characteristic of being predominantly” of those breeds. Rottweilers and wolf-hybrids were virtually undefined. Rottweilers were identified by the owner registering the dog as a Rottweiler, which, under the old law, was prima facia evidence of the dog being subject to the law. There was no section on how wolf-hybrids were identified or defined, which means that Husky, Malamute and related breeds and their mixes were likely targeted.
The ordinance required owners to confine their dogs in line with the law, carry $200,000 in insurance and muzzle targeted dogs, among a whole host of other requirements. The old ordinance was 6 pages of requirements and restrictions for the above mentioned dogs, their mixes and look a likes.
Officials cite the difficulty in enforcing the law and it’s overly restrictive nature as the reasons for repealing it. The police chief stated that when there was a vicious dog call, there was virtually no way to enforce the ordinance as it was written.
The police chief also stated that in order to comply with the old law a person should just not have the dog in the first place because of how restrictive it is. We call this a de-facto ban, and is often the case with breed discriminatory restrictions. Particularly so in this case because people only had ten days to come into compliance when the old law was passed.
Officials wanted to make their community more open for people. ”We want everybody to come to our community,” Chief Lloyd Martley stated in an interview.
The new ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the council, is completely breed neutral. It requires that dogs deemed vicious based on their behavior be on leash when outside their kennel or home, confined in a secure kennel or inside the home, all owners of dogs must have a beware of dog sign posted and all owners of dogs must register their dogs with the city.