A dog’s behavior has much more to do with how it’s raised than its breed. but that hasn’t stopped people from discriminating against certain types of dogs — especially pit bulls, who have an unfair reputation for being vicious, aggressive dogs.
This reputation not only keeps pit bulls from finding loving homes — they’re always the most common breed found in shelters — but often makes them the target of laws banning them altogether. Many cities have had local legislations forbidding ownership of pit bulls on the books for decades.
But more and more cities have been repealing these laws, thanks to the efforts of local dog lovers and breed advocates. And earlier this week, one major Kansas city finally lifted their pit bull ban.
The City Council of Overland Park voted unanimously on Monday to repeal the law, ending a 30-year ban on pit bull ownership in Kansas’ second-most populous city. The repeal goes into effect on October 1.
The law had been a contentious subject for decades, with animal advocates arguing that pit bulls were not inherently more dangerous than other pet breeds. According to FOX 4, an effort to block the law went to the Kansas Supreme Court in 1989, but it failed.
“What we’re really trying to do with this ordinance is address bad behavior in animals across the city and be uniform in that approach,” Councilwoman Holly Grummert said during a public safety committee meeting, according to the Kansas City Star.
The long-awaited repeal finally came thanks to a unanimous City Council vote, part of a broader reform to local pet ordinances. Other changes include new restrictions on how long a dog can be left tethered.
The Kansas City Star says that Overland Park was “one of the last holdouts” in the area, as other cities in the Kansas City metro have lifted their bans over the past few years.
It’s part of a broader shift in support nationwide, with more and more cities voting to lift breed-specific bans. On election night in November, Denver voters overwhelmingly opted to allow pit bulls after a 30-year ban.
In Overland Park, the decision was celebrated by animal advocates as a long-overdue victory.
“We applaud the citizens of Overland Park for taking a stand against this misguided law,” the ASPCA said in a statement. “Thank you to all the local advocates who made their voices heard for pets and their families.”