Letter: Independence should keep its ban on pit bulls

The Examiner

Dr. Elizabeth Baker, Independence

To the editor:

Thank you to Council Members Mike Huff, John Perkins, Karen DeLuccie and Mike Steinmeyer for voting against putting a question on the November ballot to repeal the pit bull ban (The Examiner, Aug. 19 “No vote this fall on pit bulls, Aug. 19).

Steinmeyer reminded us that the original pit bull ban came at the urging of citizens after a vicious 2006 pit bull attack on Alan Hill. I thought of Mr. Hill when, a short time ago, a pit bull attacked my Brittany spaniel while we were taking a nightly walk. If not for four strapping young men forcing the pit bull to release my dog’s head from his mouth, my pet would have been killed. I am so glad my dog was not a child.

Recall in 2017 when an Independence girl was attacked by a pit bull (“Independence girl attacked; pit bull owner cited,” April 20, 2017). Many of the fatalities attributed to pit bull attacks have been children. To include pit bulls in the dangerous-dog ordinance is not enough for the safety of our citizens because of the statistics surrounding pit bull attacks and fatalities. 

According to a comprehensive study, pit bulls account for at least 65% of all fatalities from dog attacks in the United States. (dogsbite.org, May 2018, “U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors over a 13-Year Period”). This study also indicates that there is an extremely small number of annual deaths when pit bull attacks are excluded from the data. Although citizens petitioning to put a repeal on the ballot purchase ads that depict pit bulls next to toddlers and indicate that pit bulls are loveable, my personal experience and scientific research indicate otherwise. I strongly support our council in keeping the pit bull ban in place.