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The Breed in Need

The ban against pit bulls may soon be repealed in Liberty.

Rosie Frederick

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For more than 30 years, pit bulls have been prohibited in Liberty. On April 2, voting citizens have the choice to change this because of a ballot being presented for a vote. The vote will decide to either maintain the ban or revoke it.

The ban was initially introduced in 1987 through a petition signed by approximately 700 Liberty citizens. The petition requested pit bull and pit bull type dog breeds to be banned from Liberty. The city council at the time upheld the ban, leaving the current ordinance.

Liberty Mayor Lyndell Brenton explained the guidelines of the ban.

“If a complaint is received or a pit bull or pit bull type dog is captured by Animal Control, the owner is cited and required to remove the animal from the City of Liberty,” Brenton said.

If a pit bull is illegally owned in Liberty, the owner might be subject to fine and other penalties determined by the Liberty Municipal Court Judge if they are unwilling to comply.

Pit bulls are only temporarily allowed in Liberty shelters, so the city has relationships with pit bull rescue groups and animal shelters in other cities. This allows pit bulls to be transferred to facilities for safe-keeping and adoption in areas which do not prohibit them.

Some students are concerned about the pit bull situation. Junior Avery Starr is one of them.

“I think dogs are very pure, just like kids,” Starr said. “They don’t deserve a lot of the things people do to them. People were adopting pit bulls from Craigslist just to put them down.”

Recently, a number of Liberty citizens requested the ban be repealed. In response, the council updated the dangerous animal ordinance and after considerable study and contemplation, the council decided the emotional nature of this issue would be best decided by a vote of Liberty’s citizens.

“I don’t think they’re dangerous,” Starr said. “All breeds can be trained to be mean, or they can be trained to be good and loving animals.”

Junior Lillian Gaither says there should be no excuse for untrained dogs.

“There are many simple things you can do at home to train a dog,” Gaither said. “If you have a dog, it is your responsibility to take care of it.”

Senior Reggie Parks shows compassion because of his personal experiences with pit bulls.

“I have a pit bull in St. Louis who’s about 10 years old,” Parks said. “He might look mean because he’s a pretty big dog, but he just wants to say ‘hi’ and lick you.”

In a poll The Bell sent out, four out of 173 students answered the question, “Should pit bulls stay illegal in Liberty?” with “Maybe, since they have the tendency to be aggressive.” Freshman Lucas Kilgore explained why he thinks this.

“The statistics stand as it is, pit bulls are more aggressive than other breeds of dogs statistically,” Kilgore said. “This is coming from someone who has owned multiple pit bulls and pit mixes in their lifetime.”

Brenton plans on leaving the vote up to Liberty voters.

“This issue will be decided in the privacy of the voting booth,” Brenton said.

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The Breed in Need