Roeland Park Councilor says he now could support lifting ban on pit bulls if certain conditions met

Roeland Park Councilor Michael Rhoades initially voice strong objections to lifting the pit bull ban.
Roeland Park Councilor Michael Rhoades initially voice strong objections to lifting the pit bull ban.

A critic of the proposed pit bull ban repeal in Roeland Park has offered a plan to help bridge debate.

Roeland Park Councilor Michael Rhoades voiced strong opposition against removing the prohibition earlier this month. But Rhoades said this week that he would be willing to consider lifting the repeal with strict limitations. His proposal would require pit bull owners to post a sign on their property, provide proof of liability insurance in a single amount of $500,000 for bodily injury or death. His proposal also limits residents to one pit bull per household and calls for the dogs to be sterilized.

“It is a compromise in the sense that if we are going to allow the pit bull breed of dog into our city, the residents that are against it can have a better understanding that we as a city hear their concerns and while still allowing them, we are trying to mitigate the chances of something really bad happening,” he said.

It was unclear where other Councilors stand on his proposal. Rather than debate the merits of several new ideas, the City Council agreed last week to further discuss the ordinance at committee meetings on Jan. 5 and Jan. 12.

Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt said that ideally the City Council would be ready to take a vote by Jan. 19.

The City Council has already spent considerable time discussing the pit bull ban. Several City Councilors and residents would like to see ban replaced by a breed-neutral ordinance that instead punished dog owners who mistreat or neglect their animals.

A majority of speakers at recent meetings have favored lifted the ban.

Rhoades said he’s talked to several residents who don’t know the discussion is happening. He’s also gotten several email messages from residents concerned about children. One resident worried that Roeland Park would be a safe haven for pit bulls given that several other local cities outlaw the breed.