Pit bull ban could be lifted in Ashland
ASHLAND - While dogs are commonly known as man's best friend, some breeds have a bad reputation.
There are more than 50 towns in Missouri that have imposed some type of ban on owning pit bulls.
A bill in the Missouri legislature could end up making these sort of breed-specific bans illegal. The measure recently passed by an overwhelming majority in the House.
However, the ban is expected to be lifted at the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday.
Alderman George Elliott said thoughts on pit bulls have changed over the years.
"The ordinance was originally done when people were first scared of pit bulls and attacks started making the news years ago, and nowadays, people have come to understand more about the animals and understand it has more to do with the temperament of the owner being reflected in the dog rather than just the temperament of the dog," Elliott said.
He also said the law is hard to keep track of and enforce.
"The police chief has told us that it's a difficult rule to enforce because just looking at a dog, you can't tell if they're enough of a mix that they would count or wouldn't count, and there's different breeds mentioned and they don't know how to enforce that," Elliott said.
Elliott said Ashland will still have an ordinance in place to deal with problem dogs, but the city would like to avoid breed-specific bans.
"Rather than enforce something against just a breed, we're going to rely on our vicious dog ordinance," Elliott said. "If there is a dog in town that is a problem, there is a way of dealing with it, and it doesn't matter if a German shepherd, a pit bull or a poodle."
Multiple other Aldermen also indicated they thought the Ashland ban would be lifted, citing the vicious dog ordinance as adequate protection against problem dogs.
For Elliott, the dog is just as much a reflection of the owner, as the dog itself.
"I think it's one of those things that's becoming more common sense, and it's one of those things where I don't think we even needed any testimony about it," Elliott said. "There is a vicious dog ordinance if there is a problem dog, why make it illegal just because of what you think a dog's parents are?"