Roeland Park moves tonight’s pit bull, animal control vote to community center

Roeland Park Community Center offers a variety of programs for all ages.
Roeland Park Community Center will be the venue for tonight’s city council meeting.

The Roeland Park City Council has moved its meetings for tonight to the Roeland Park Community Center from the normal venue at city hall. The long-debated animal control ordinance is on the council agenda.

The council will meet first at 6 p.m. as committee of the whole and then at 7 p.m. for its city council meeting. During the council session, the group will consider the animal control ordinance that has been discussed since last September. In two recent meetings, the council has dedicated hours to discussion of several points of the ordinance that amends the Roeland Park animal control regulations. During the last session, some councilors said they believed a number of people wanted to make public comments about the proposed changes.

The council already has heard public comment on more than one occasion, with most of the discussion centered on the removal of the breed specific ban that prevented residents from having pit bulls in the city. The pit bull discussion has been the point of most controversy in crafting the new regulations that also include new definitions of nuisance animals, dangerous animals and vicious animals. The ordinance before the council tonight no longer bans pit bulls.

At the last committee meeting, Mayor Joel Marquardt had suggested limiting the number of pit bulls to one per residence until 2018. The ordinance generally allows two dogs per household with no additional permits required. Current practice is to allow a third dog (or cat) with a permit approved by the city clerk. Four animals requires approval by the council.

Both the suggested limitation to one pit bull and continuing the administrative approval of a third animal are listed on the agenda as unresolved issues that need to be decided by the council. The animal control ordinance appears late on the city council agenda.