LINDSBORG — A Lindsborg resident is looking to change perceptions of one of the most commonly banned dog breeds — pit bulls.
Angie Mitchell, an avid pit bull and dog lover, has never experienced bad temperaments or harmful experiences with her American pit bull terrier, Marley.
Mitchell explained Marley as a warm fuzzy teddy bear who loves attention from anyone who will give it to him; the only issue she has ever had with her dog is keeping him in the fence, especially when someone walks by.
When Mitchell brought Marley home as a puppy, she wasn't aware of the city ordinance that banned pit bulls.
The ordinance has been in place since 1988, and since then, the city hasn’t heard comments about it.
"There hasn't been any issues either to strengthen it or to remove it," said Greg DuMars, city administrator for Lindsborg.
Many residents in Lindsborg may not be aware of this certain rule, but DuMars explained that dog owners are informed at the time they register their dog.
It was a normal day when Mitchell went home for a lunch break only to find the police at her front door.
“I had a neighbor get upset because (Marley) was in his yard, he called the police and they said you can’t have him because there’s a ban in Lindsborg. I was informed three years ago there wasn’t, so what it boiled down to was miscommunication,” Mitchell explained.
Mitchell was given 48 hours to get Marley out of city limits. Luckily, a client offered to board Marley on her farm until things were figured out.
“It was quite emotional for a couple of days, but it definitely got me motivated to get something changed,” she said.
Mitchell took action by first telling her story to the Lindsborg City Council.
“I wrote them a letter that they could review, I attached the McPherson city ordinance so they could review that because they don’t have a breed ban, and we started a petition,” Mitchell explained. “Basically every day I go visit Marley and try to hit the beaten path and try to get as many signed up as possible.”
Mitchell and her daughter then researched how pit bulls have been a targeted breed for the wrong reasons.
“By my research, I have to give them credit why their bans started coming in the 1980s. Fight pits were being broken up and then turned into rescue dogs and ending up in homes, but they were trained to be vicious dogs. If you have a chihuahua trained to be mean, it will be mean,” Mitchell explained.
Mitchell has received an outpouring of positive feedback from the community that also wants to lift the ordinance.
“When it first started, I couldn’t even keep up,” Mitchell said.
There will be a study session at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Lindsborg City Hall to further discuss this matter.
“I know the city will talk about breed-specific ordinances and also look at the vicious animal ordinance and dangerous dog ordinance, just to compare the different language used, and have discussions on what direction the city council will like to head,” DuMars explained.
“I feel pretty confident that we have a level-headed city council that will see that we have a 30-year-old ordinance. We’re seeing community support that its time to change it,” Mitchell said.
For more information about the study session, contact the Lindsborg City Hall at 785-227-3355.
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