At Monday’s Great Bend City Council meeting, Great Bend residents George and Zola Weber requested the council consider banning Pit Bulls, as the city of Ellinwood has legislated recently. While their family has not been injured by the breed, their neighbors allegedly allow their dogs to roam the neighborhood. They’ve been chased, and they are afraid for their health and safety.
Owner’s of pit bull-type breeds pointed out that the owners were the cause behind their fears, not the pets.
Both sides have valid points. No one should have to be fearful to walk out their front door, but responsible dog owners don’t deserve to be penalized because of the carelessness of others. It’s much like the gun debate. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Well, this breed has killed people. But the percentage of dogs to fatal attacks from pit bull type breeds is far lower than some other breeds like Rottweilers, Chows and German Shephard dogs, according to information at www.1800petmeds.com .
We already have laws on the books to deal with dogs running at large and the number of dogs allowed. The problem appears to be one of enforcement.
In the end, this is going to cost everyone in Great Bend, not just the pro- or anti-pit bull people. If we enforce the laws better, we’ll need to step up our support of the Humane Society to make it possible. If we ban the breed, either law enforcement or the Humane Society will have to monitor our neighborhoods to locate owners of pit-bull type breeds to cite them for having a banned dog. Either way, there will likely be more abandoned dogs for the Humane Society to deal with.
However, we can’t hide our heads in the sand and hope the problem just goes away. If we do, we are no better than the irresponsible pet owners that allow their dogs to roam free.
The City Council was wise to call for the formation of a committee to study the issue. Thursday was the cut off for the public at large to submit a letter of application to serve on the committee. Two community members will be selected. The decision to take a slow but deliberate action on this request was the right thing to do. Let’s hope that cool heads bring about a well considered solution to a problem that frankly, bites.