Two Midwest Towns Lift Pit Bull Bans

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Pit bull lovers in Canton, Michigan and Bonner Springs, Kansas can celebrate, because breed specific legislation has been overturned in their towns thanks to dog lovers who lobbied for the right to keep their families together.

Jessica and Marcin Kowalewski fought on behalf of their pit bulldog mix, Loki, who they call “a 100-pound puppy.”

It’s great to see that a community such as Canton takes two people who live here very seriously and that average residents can make a change,” Marcin said.

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The seven-member Canton Township Board of Trustees voted to lift their bully ban because of the Kowalewskis’ persistent efforts.

Supervisor Phil LaJoy said the legislation now defines a vicious dog “based on the actions of the animal rather than due to a believed predisposition” of violence in certain breeds.

Jessica commended local officials for their amendment to the law.

I’m still kind of shell-shocked,” she said. “It all boiled down to one line (in the ordinance).”


Debi Baker spent nine long months crusading against Bonner Springs for her pit bull, Titan. He got out and was caught by animal control, who informed Debi that her dog was banned.

Titan spent seven months locked up in a shelter a half hour away, which Debi visited frequently. She lobbied city council members, persuading them to see that a dangerous dog law was more practical than discriminatorily banning entire breeds.

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If you could meet Titan, if you could see him, of course he’s just one in a million,” she said. “He’s just the sweetest dog you’d ever come in contact with. Not violent. He grins, he actually grins. He’s just a normal family animal you want to have. Just because he’s a Staffordshire terrier there’s this big, ‘Oh, we can’t have that breed around,’ when he is not dangerous.”

The Humane Society of Kansas City saluted Bonner Springs for the change, hopefully stating that it should now be easier to adopt out friendly, snuggly pit bulls to good homes.

Debi believes her actions may help spark a similar change in nearby communities.

16 thoughts on “Two Midwest Towns Lift Pit Bull Bans”

  1. Loki is a wonderful dog who I have had the pleasure of playing with when he boarded at our facility Valley of the Hounds. I am a pit bull owner myself & I’m sorry but no, my dog has never mauled a “poodle or shin tzu”. Quite the opposite, he has several scars because he does not stand up for himself. He lets puppies bite all over him because he loves to play. He is a wonderful protector of our 7 month old & loves to cuddle.

  2. Pit bulls are some of the most misunderstood breeds around. They were actually used many years ago to watch over sleeping babies due to their protective yet gentle personalities. I’m glad to finally see some cities are coming to their senses and realizing that banning an entire breed of dog is both discriminatory and antiquated. Dogs, like people, cannot be labeled by what they look like on the outside. Character is what counts and will be what is the determining factor for what actions are the outcome.

  3. According to the United Kennel Club, the American pit bull terrier “is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.” They say the Staffordshire bull terrier “has indomitable courage, high intelligence and tenacity. Coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its quietness and trustworthy stability make it an all-purpose dog.”

    Now I know they don’t mention anything about aggressiveness towards other dogs, but any dog can become aggressive towards other dogs based on training (or lack thereof) and experiences. Pit bulls are terriers – terriers were bred to hunt rodents. Is it surprising that they occasionally go after little dogs? No more so than men going after women. And we don’t ban ALL men because SOME of them rape or murder, right?

  4. You didn’t respond to anything I said other than to swear and call names, none of which I did to you. I guess I really got to you when you had to resort to those low-brow tactics.

    If you don’t want to look at all those news headlines of pitbulls killing other dogs, that’s fine. If you don’t want to listen to an expert who has rescued hundreds of pitbulls, that’s fine also. If you don’t want to understand that dogs were bred for specific purposes, that’s still fine. But you will always be ignorant.

    • The media will not show what type of breed is involved in a dog attack, unless it is a.large breed dog. Have you read any news about the vicious poodle attacks? What about the beagle that killed his elderly owner? Those news articles simply stated that a dog attacked, but did not specify the breed. Media will show the breed 12% off the time for any dog except large breed. If a large bed dog is involved, that number increases to 68%. The problem with vicious dogs is the owner. As for the expert, well, he is rescuing those dogs for a reason. They were trained, by their owners, to be vicious. The American Pit Bull Terrier was originally bred to be a nanny to young children. They still have that protective instinct, but it comes fourth only when threatened. They are filled with more love than any one person can handle. The police force wanted to use them as police dogs, but there was too much scrutiny from ignorant citizens. Using the literal term of ignorant here. It means not knowing, lack of education. The reason people are afraid of Pit Bulls is because of they never gave them a chance and never got to know one. I have never had any hesitation about any animal. I’ve owned snakes, iguanas, ferrets, sugar gliders, birds, fish, etc. I took no hesitation about bringing a Pit Bull into my house with 10 children. 6 of those children are fosters and the house is certified by the state to foster children as young as new born. So, in conclusion, anyone can find media biased to show their point of view, but I would suggest making an effort to educate yourself before trying to teach in someone else’s school.

    • People have preferences on what type of dog they like for many reasons.

      Your preference of breed is your own, for example I’d never own a or Jack Russell Terrier because they’re not the right breed for me.

      But please be aware that dog breeds as a whole are not dangerous. Almost every single dog-related incident or fatality happens because:

      – A dog is chained/tethered and never socialized. When it comes in contact with people it will be aggressive because it doesn’t understand. You’re invading the 6 foot radius that it lives in. It doesn’t know what to think of people. It’s scared, and aggression comes from fear. This leads to bites, or fatalities. This spans all dog breeds, because it’s not about the breed. It’s about irresponsible and negligent ownership. Just as responsible for incidents are did that are roaming/loose. Owners don’t keep them properly contained (or they have been dumped or are feral).

      – Children left unsupervised with dogs. Yes, dogs are great and safe and companions to us. But children don’t know what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Often parents dote about how tolerant their dogs are, only to be shocked when something happens. If a dog doesn’t like something it will growl, and eventually bite. Each situation is unique and if a dog is food aggressive and a child comes to play with his kibble, yes. Something will happen. When you leave kids alone they’ll be kids. And dogs will be dogs. Its asking for trouble to entrust your child or your dog to be responsible for you. Again, this is not a breed specific problem, its a problem with irresponsible parents and owners.

      – People can’t understand what a remarkable amount of people do not know when their dogs have had enough. Most people cannot understand dog body language, and don’t catch what signals they’re giving off. For example if a dog is trying to leave a situation and is stopped each time, they’ll revert to more drastic measures. If a dog is yawning, licking their lips, or looking for a way out most people don’t know that those are the dog’s stress signals , even if they’re there, people not knowing what they are can lead to problems because the dog is telling you hours it know to.

      None of these reasons for over 80% of incidents per year are related to breed. If pit bull and pit bull type dogs were dangerous as a breed you would be hearing much more about them. Dogs as a whole are safe, with only a handful of dog fatalities in the last year compared to 300 million+ people in the us, and millions of dogs, if one of the most populous breeds was dangerous as a whole there would be far more fatalities and incidents. Organizations worldwide wouldn’t be standing behind them and pushing foot responsible ownership as opposed to breed restrictions.

      Dog-related incidents are based on the circumstances. 99.9999% of dogs are never involved in any incidents, and this that are can almost always be traced back to a set of circumstances that show irresponsible ownership. Breed is not one of those circumstances. All breeds can be subjected to these circumstances and have such incidents. Choosing to target breed only means that you’re basing off appearance and physical characteristics instead of the real issues that cause dog-related fatalities and incidents.

  5. Why would the media care that much about pitbulls? The media cares about bigger issues, they could care less about dogs.

    • They care specifically about pit bulls and pit bull related stories because they have learned by specializing on something specific they can sell more because people will care, watch, and buy. News isn’t about reporting everything they happens, it’s about reporting on things that sell. News is 70% “bad news” and 30% “good news”. Why? Because when they tried to switch the ratios ratings dropped.

      It’s also a fact that pit bull and pit bull type dogs show up in the news more frequently not because they are the only breed doing something wrong, but because they’re what sells. Oftentimes people describe or label a dog a “pit bull” when it wasn’t clearly seem, breed is unknown, etc..

      A Pomeranian killed a child in my area. I heard nearly nothing about it. 6 cities over a pack of mixed breed dogs that were owned for the sole reason of guarding property and drugs got out. They had already been known to have problems, but nothing was done. They injured someone and went home. Out of 6-8 dogs they chose the 2 pit bull type dogs, reported that they were responsible, and euthanized them. The other dogs were large, unfriendly, and just as likely to have caused the injury, but the news reported on the pit bulls because it is what sells

      News does this with different things all the time. Its important to know when something is a problem as opposed to when the news wants you to think something is a problem, and make sure you’re using as many different Reliable and rep


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