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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

New Pit Bulls Banned from Springfield as of January 1


Springfield City Council has approved a future ban on pit bull dogs in the city limits. The decision was 5-4.

The ordinance also establishes a minimum fine for violations of the pit bull provisions.  Those include keeping pit bull puppies born to dogs currently in the city once they turn eight weeks old.

Councilman Richard Ollis explained why he planned to vote against the measure.

"The proposed ordinance, as written with the ban, I believe is problematic," he said.  "Identifying a dog's breed by inspection is challenging."

And he said the city’s animal control department is understaffed.

Jan Fisk voted for the ordinance.

"Bottom line, we have to think about the safety of our citizens, and if someone gets killed by an attack of a pit bull, then I would hold myself accountable," she said.

Fisk, in stating why she planned to vote for the ordinance, said “my voting record will reflect that I don’t vote according to how it will affect my career now and in the future nor how it would affect my reputation.”

Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson said she struggled with her decision to support the ordinance, but it ultimately came down to public safety.

"Tonight when I came in I knew I have to stay anchored and grounded to where I started, and that was advocating for the safety of the children in our community," she said.

Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky voted against the measure.  She doesn’t believe one breed of dog should be singled out.

"I think the vicious animal ordinance--that's what we need to apply across all breeds because many people have spoken about that.  And I think council made a mistake when we got rid of the Animal Issues Task Force," she said.

Fulnecky said council should have talked with animal experts such as veterinarians and also should have looked at what other cities are doing.  Besides Ollis and Fulnecky, those voting against the measure were Craig Hosmer and Mike Schilling.

The city will stop accepting new pit bull registrations on January 1, 2018.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.