Long line of speakers at Prairie Village City Council ask for removal of pit bull ban

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A long line of Prairie Village residents, along with veterinarians from area clinics, testified before the Prairie Village City Council Thursday, asking that the city’s ban on pit bull breeds be lifted.

More than 30 people took the opportunity to speak to the council and all but one favored lifting the city’s current ban on pit bulls in the city. Most of the speakers were Prairie Village residents plus a scattering of people who were involved with animals either as veterinarians or dog trainers.

The council chambers were overflowing for the discussion with people lining up into the hallway outside to get a chance to speak or listen to the testimony.

Courtney Thomas, the President and CEO of Great Plains SPCA was among those who spoke. “I can tell you with confidence that the pit bull is a breed that I fear least,” Thomas said. She was one of several speakers who pointed to peer reviewed journals and research that said pit bulls do not pose an extraordinary threat.

Thomas told the council that Great Plains serves 35,000 animals in the metro. “I know this conversation has been one of emotion,” she said, telling the council it has the opportunity to move out of an “archaic” practice. She said without DNA testing, an animal’s breed is a “best guess.”

Prairie Village is one of three cities in Johnson County that still have the breed ban, Thomas said, while 19 have adopted breed neutral laws.

One speaker recounted her experience of a neighbor’s pit bull attacking and killing a dog in her yard. She was the only one asking the city to maintain the current law.

A few Prairie Village residents said they were “embarrassed” by the ban. Veterinarians and dog trainers said their experience with pit bulls and the research on breeds showed no greater threat or aggression from the breed. Ashley Flores who is director of animal behavior at Great Plains was among those saying no correlation exists between aggression and the breeds.

The speakers consumed the time for the city council’s committee of the whole Monday and council members did not have time to talk about their reaction to the testimony. It is expected to be back on the agenda at the next council meeting.