Springfield, Illinois, residents have made it clear that they no longer wish to discriminate against different dog breeds. The city voted on Tuesday, August 7, to remove its ban on Pit Bulls.
The controversial ban permitted Springfield’s current Pit Bull population, but banned any new ones from being allowed within city limits.
Residents decided against the ban by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1, with 68 percent of voters opposed to the ordinance.
“Voters did not approve a ban on pit bulls within the city of Springfield,” said Mayor Ken McClure. “The people have spoken and my colleagues on city council and I believe that the democratic process has worked as designed. We appreciate all of the residents in our community who spoke out with their beliefs, whether in support or opposition of a ban, in a calm and civil manner. There are appropriate avenues, such as the initiative petition process, to try to turn those beliefs into action.”
The ban was highly contested by Springfield residents, prompting its removal as question 1 on the ballot. Many first-time voters registered for the specific sake of seeing it removed.
“Generally speaking, people love their dogs and they want to be able to keep their pets,” said Kathleen Larkin, a member of Citizens Against Breed Specific Legislation, told the Springfield News Leader. “The ban as not going to do anything to change bad dog owners, backyard breeders and animal abusers. But it certainly would (create) a lot of pain for responsible dog owners who believe their dogs are part of their family.”
The ban was first Implemented by a vote of 5-4 in October 2017, after two young children and their mother were attacked by Pit Bulls owned by a neighbor.
As the News Leader reports, the dissenting members of the city council voiced concerns that the definition of Pit Bulls was too broad, and that a better solution would be to improve the local animal control department’s capacity.
banned in Springfield in 2017.[/caption]
The city ordinance defines Pit Bulls as, “American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.”
According to KY3, the Pit Bull registration requirement that landed on the books in 2006 will remain.
Only once a dog is microchipped and spayed or neutered, and then $50 and proof of those steps provided during registration, Springfield residents may own Pit Bulls in the city. Learn more in the video below.
Breed specific legislation is discriminatory and divisive. Click the button below to make a difference and bring an end to BSL!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →