The committee appointed by Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison to study banning pit bulls or strengthen existing vicious dogs regulations will make its report to the City Council tonight.
Due to Labor Day, the council rescheduled its meeting for 7:30 p.m. at the City Office, 1209 Williams.
Among the recommendations forwarded to the council will be:
• Restrictions on tethering dogs.
• A new ordinance making it illegal for a child to tease a dog. There was tepid support for this with fears in would be unenforceable.
• Adding temperament testing requirement as an option for the municipal judge when a vicious dog and its owner are before the court.
• Increasing vicious dog offenses to class A misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $2,500 and one year in jail, or both.
• Stepped up patrols by the Humane Society. This was aimed at addressing the stray dog problem, which the committee divided into two parts – dogs at large (those that run away from home) and feral dogs that roam the streets. Higher fines for picking up an animal from the shelter may also be considered.
As a side note to this, King said in June, the society brought in 23 dogs, of which only four were retrieved by the owners. They are only required to hold a dog for three days before they attempt to adopt it, transfer it to another shelter or put it down.
• Encouraging proactive reporting from residents to prevent dangerous vicious dog incidents. The city would encourage people to call if they feel threatened, and the society would visit with them and the pet owner before things get out of control.
• Mandating spaying or neutering as a permit requirement. There could be exceptions for licensed breeders and owners of show dogs.
A complaint before the council in May from Great Bend residents George and Zola Weber who feared their neighbor’s pit bulls threatened their children sparked the discussion of banning pit bulls or other ways of curbing aggressive dogs. The council decided the formation of the committee shortly thereafter and it has met several times since.
However, the committee earlier reached a consensus not to recommend banning any specific breed of dog. Instead, it looked at bolstering current ordinances or suggesting new ones to help curb the problem.
Allison selected Zola Weber, Reggie Kern, and RaShann Southard to be the at-large members of the committee, and Joel Jackson and Edwin Roberts to be the City Council representatives on the committee. City staff selected City Attorney Bob Suelter and Police Chief Dean Akings to be the city staff representatives. The Golden Belt Humane Society selected Bobbi King and Seth Orebaugh as its representatives.
Suelter was selected be the chairman.