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Change to Dangerous Animal Ordinance Prompts Reader Reaction

Chesterfield Patch readers expressed both approval and concern over a move by the city council that would allow pit bulls in the Eberwein Dog Park.

The city of Chesterfield's plans to remove breed-specific language from its dangerous animals ordinance and allow pit bulls into the Eberwein Dog Park generated a lot of reaction among Patch readers. 

The first reading of the amendment passed 7-1 at a meeting last week, with opposition coming from Councilman Mike Casey and Mayor Bruce Geiger (a non-voting member of the council in most situations). 

Some were happy to hear the news and said pit bulls suffered from unjustified negative stereotypes while others expressed concern for the safety of their own pets. 

Chesterfield Meagann Wilmes and her boyfriend own two dogs, a pit bull and a Chihuahua. Wilmes has owned dogs her entire life and said the way the animal is raised determined its demeanor more than its breed. 

"I believe stereotyping all pit bulls as mean and violent dogs is very wrong and ignorant," Wilmes said in an email to Patch. "Every single breed has a bite story and every single breed can be either naturally a mean dog or raised mean."

Wilmes did acknowledge that a pit bull might have a stronger bite than the average dog, but said their negative image is also a result of media hype.

Writing on Chesterfield Patch, user Christie frequently goes to the Chesterfield dog park with her 75 lbs. boxer said the idea that pit bulls are more aggressive than another breed is "ridiculous."

"Small dogs go after big dogs all the time, often biting or nipping," she said. 

Patch user Susan B., however, did not feel re-assured. 

"Speaking as a dog owner who has had troubles with aggressive dogs and their irresponsible owners at the Chesterfield Dog Park, I am very concerned for the safety of my dog now," she said. 

City council members who voted in favor of the measure said the research they had found suggested that their was not a scientific basis for the negative images of pit bulls. Patch user Jennifer Peters agreed. 

"Breed bans only serve to keep put bulls out of the hands of educated, responsible owners," she said. "Studies show they don't work to lower bite statistics. Read the article 'Bite statistics and the role of breed,' at AVMA.org."

However, at least one pit bull owner did not think it would be a good idea to allow the breed to be at the dog park, since the canine would be blamed for any fight that might occur. 

"If a pit bull does get into a fight it will win and you had better know how to break up a dog fight. Which is dangerous," Patch user Bob Cronk said. "The very least thing to be done would be to have a small dog area and a large dog area."

Miss your chance to chime in on our earlier article? Give us your opinion in the comments!

Jaloney Caldwell December 05, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Areas with pitbull bans have higher property values even in the recession, and less gang related violence. The it's the owner not the breed mantra sounds logical but it's not. . Other dog breeds owned in much greater numbers have equal chances of getting neglectful and abusive owners, yet they adapt to human shortcomings and don't maul people or pets at anywhere near the rate that pitbulls do.Mortality, Maiming and Mauling by Vicious Dogs, Annals of Surgery, April 2011, is study of dog injuries in hospitals spanning the last 15 years. The study found that you have a more than 2500 times higher chance of dying if attacked by a pitbull. In addition it found that pitbulls caused the highest hospital charges, and the most deaths, dismemberments, permanent disability, and disfigurement of all breeds. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pitbulldangers

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