September 21, 2021

We have great news for Kansan dogs and people!

The City Council of Overland Park, Kansas, made history yesterday when its members voted unanimously to repeal the city’s dog breed ban, overturning a 30-year-old policy barring residents from owning pit bull dogs. Overland Park is Kansas’ second-largest city with more than 200,000 residents.

We applaud Councilmembers Holly Grummert and Paul Lyons for their leadership, diligence and thoughtfulness in working with the Overland Park community to better understand how to protect its pets and people. We also thank Kansas’s favorite native son and animal hero, Senator Bob Dole, for voicing his support for repealing the breed ban.

Breed-specific legislation, or BSL, is the blanket term for laws that either restrict or ban certain dog breeds in a misguided effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. While many municipalities have passed these laws, there is no evidence that they make communities safer for people or companion animals. In fact, evidence shows that they often compromise public safety. When Florissant, Missouri, enacted its breed-specific ban from 2005 to 2015, the city reported the number of dog bites doubled despite a decline in the city’s population. Not only do breed bans reduce safety in these localities, they also have a serious economic impact [PDF]—one that Overland Park, and many other cities, cannot afford.

Enforcing breed bans diverts resources from effective laws that make communities safer. Responsible owners of friendly, properly supervised, and well-socialized dogs should not be penalized because their dog happens to resemble a specific breed.

The victory in Overland Park is part of a growing trend and comes on the heels of BSL-repeal victories in other Kansas cities: Junction City, Fort Scott, Prairie Village, Paola, Andover, and most recently, Liberal.

We applaud the citizens of Overland Park for taking a stand against this misguided law. Thank you to all the local advocates who made their voices heard for pets and their families. The City Council heard you and took this decisive step for its citizens—human and canine.