Now that the city has removed it’s ordinance, Town and Country will be governed by St. Louis County’s “vicious dog ordinance”, which bases the vicious dog classification solely on a dog’s behaviour. This ordinance does not target any specific breeds.
The city decided to review the ordinance following an issue between two neighbours, one of which had a dog that may have been a pit bull mix. Police were summoned to the homes because the dog was seen running around in its backyard, but the owner was never cited for a violation.
This incident shone some light on the current code, bringing it to the attention of the police department and city leaders. Many came forward to testify in support of removing the breed-specific “vicious” classification.
“I think Town and Country is following the trend that we are seeing to remove breed specific language from municipal ordinances and it make it behavior based,” said Town and Country Police Captain, Gary Hoelzer.
Hoelzer had visited the resident with the pit bull mix in question and is in full support of the city’s decision.
“Based on the history of dog bites in Town and Country, we have yet to see a pit bull bite,” Hoelzer explained. “It’s other breeds. So it really isn’t breed based. It’s how they’re raised. Other circumstances.”
St. Louis County Animal Care and Control staff, Julie Jordan, attended the meeting and testified that pit bulls are not a vicious breed. Instead, it is “the people behind the leash.”
Jordan explained that it is irresponsible owners who are the culprit behind “vicious” dogs, and who are also behind the bad reputation given to pit bulls. Jordan thanked Town and Country city leaders for having done their research on the issue.
“Thank you very much for taking the responsible approach and we are very encouraged to see other municipalities follow suit,” says Jordan.