Leawood considers several options for conducting citywide survey on pit bull ban

Leawood pit bull ban

This week, the Leawood City Council discussed the possibility of allowing residents to weigh in on its dangerous animal ordinance — the last one in Johnson County that bans pit bulls. Above, Lucy, a Leawood resident's pit bull. Photo by Lucie Krisman.

Leawood is considering whether to send out a community survey about its pit bull ban, the last ban of its kind on the books in Johnson County.

What’s the latest? The Leawood City Council on Monday heard an overview of potential options for sending out a citywide survey asking what residents think of the city’s current rules around owning pit bulls.

Why it matters: Leawood is Johnson County’s last city to still have language in its city code barring certain breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and dogs that look like pit bulls.

  • Per city code, Leawood residents are currently prohibited from owning “dangerous animals” — which includes American pit bull terriers or any dog that resembles one, among a few other breeds.
  • The possibility of using a community survey to gather broader resident opinion on the topic arose earlier this month, after a resident spoke against the city’s active pit bull ban during the public comment period of a meeting.

What would a survey look like? City staff presented the council with four potential options for the survey on Monday.

  • The city looked into surveys via Survey Monkey, Google Forms, Polco and ETC — all of which would be done in part online.
  • Surveys conducted by either Polco or ETC would also include postcards mailed to a random sample of Leawood residents.
  • The city would not incur new costs from using Survey Monkey or Google Forms, city staff said.
  • Using Polco would cost the city $8,100 and using ETC would cost $9,000 to $11,500.
  • In researching options, city staff reached out to multiple survey vendors and the city of Overland Park, which has conducted similar community surveys before.

Council weighs in: Some councilmembers liked the idea of a survey, while others deemed it unnecessary.

  • “I do think because the ordinance is from 2003 and times have changed, I think a survey would be wise,” said Councilmember Mary Larson.
  • Councilmember Lisa Harrison said if a survey was conducted, using one of the free options would be most ideal.
  • “I have a hard time justifying at least a $10,000 expense on an issue that doesn’t seem to be garnering a lot of chatter from residents at this time,” Harrison said.

What’s next? The council ultimately agreed to defer the issue to a later work session, in order to allow more time for a detailed discussion.

  • The council will discuss the ordinance and potential surveys in September.