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Officials in Kansas City, Missouri, are seeking input from residents on numerous proposed changes to the city’s animal control laws. This includes amending the current ownership limit laws and removing breed-specific provisions.  Other considerations include mandatory spay/neuter and regulations on tethering and outdoor shelters.

The city has set up a website with a questionnaire to provide a forum for public comment and input. This is a great opportunity for those who reside or who actively participate in events in Kansas City to speak up on behalf of dogs and responsible dog owners in the city.

Background:

Following a fall 2017 city audit of animal control processes, a plan was established to review and make recommendations to the City Council for modifications to the code.
A stakeholder group has been established to guide the approach to animal code modifications.
This stakeholder group helped establish areas for public input using previously received feedback, and will be involved with reviewing the public input received and recommending code modifications to the City Council.

Questions under consideration include the following:

  1. Limitation on number of dogs, cats, and Vietnamese potbellied pigs (Sec. 14-28)
  • The ordinance currently allows residents to legally keep 4 or less dogs, cats, OR potbellied pigs (or a combination of these animals), over the age of 3 months.
  • Some open-ended feedback has suggested increasing the number of pets that can be legally owned.
  • QUESTION: Should the ordinance be changed to allow residents to keep more than a combination of 4 dogs, cats, or potbellied pigs? If yes, how many should be allowed (altogether or of each type)?
  1. Abuse or neglect of animals (Sec. 14-16)
  • Current code requires that an animal must have the opportunity for adequate daily exercise (as determined by the supervisor of animal health and public safety). This requires that an owner, keeper or harborer must offer some freedom from continuous chaining, stabling and tethering. Any restraint must prevent the animal from being tangled or injured by the restraint.
  • Some open-ended feedback has suggested adding additional restrictions on tethering dogs.
  • QUESTION: Should the ordinance be amended to make it unlawful to: a) tether dogs without a collar or harness device; b) use a tether less than 10 feet long; c) use a tether or collar that inhibits free movement due to the weight of the device; d) tether a dog in a manner than has the potential to cause injury/strangulation/entanglement.
  1. Adequate Shelter for Dogs
  • Per the code, “adequate shelter” means a structurally sound, properly ventilated, sanitary and weatherproof shelter suitable for the species, condition and age of the animal which provides access to shade and shelter from exposure to inclement weather conditions. The condition of the shelter should not exacerbate existing weather conditions (i.e. a metal doghouse in the sun)
  • Some open-ended feedback has suggested additional definition of adequate shelter.
  • QUESTION: Should this be redefined to provide clarity on what is an adequate shelter? If so, what should be included?
  1. Pit bulls (Sec. 14-60)
  • Code requires mandatory spaying and neutering of all pit bulls.
  • Some open-ended feedback has suggested removing breed-specific references in the code
  • QUESTION: Should this section be repealed?
  1. Mandatory Spay and Neuter of Cats and Dogs.
  • Some municipalities have instituted mandatory spay/neuter of pets to help control overpopulation. KCMO’s code does not require the mandatory spay and neuter of cats and dogs except pit bulls.
  • QUESTION: Should the code be amended to require mandatory spay and neuter of all cats and dogs?

Talking Points:

Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center’s Key Issues Pages for talking points on these issues.  Also visit the GR Toolbox for sample letters and other materials to help communicate on mandatory spay/neuter, breed specific laws, ownership limits, and tethering.

What you can do:

  • Visit http://kcmomentum.com  and fill out the questionnaire. Please keep your comments constructive and polite, and take a moment to thank the city for allowing public input on these important issues. The forum will close Tuesday, September 4th.
  • Reach out to the Kansas City Council and share with them your comments and concerns. Let them know that you participated in the online forum and are interested in these issues as they move forward.  For contact information, visit http://kcmo.gov/city-officials/city-council-members/

AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor these issues as they advance.  For questions or more information, contact doglaw@akc.org.

 

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