January 7, 2015

Firefighters needed an ax and a pike pole to pry the snarling pit bull off of 71-year-old Jimmie Mae McConnell’s torn and bloody body.

That fatal dog attack in 2006 led to calls for tougher enforcement of the now-24-year-old pit bull ban in Kansas City, Kan., while prompting other area cities to tighten their restrictions on a breed known for its muscular build and savage bite.

Yet thanks to research that shows little correlation between fatal dog bites and the breeds of the dogs inflicting those wounds, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., is now considering what would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Unified Government commissioners this month will take up a comprehensive animal-control ordinance that repeals the ban on pit bulls.
Instead, the proposed policy would impose new rules and restrictions aimed at preventing dog attacks without regard to breed by focusing on the behavior of animal owners and their pets.