Town and Country aldermen unanimously voted Monday to completely remove the city's vicious dog ordinance from city code.
By removing the city's ordinance, Town and Country is now covered by St. Louis County's "vicious dog ordinance" which categorizes dogs as "vicious" based on their behavior alone. The county's ordinance does not deem any specific breed as vicious.
Prior to Monday night's vote, Town and Country's ordinance did deem pitbulls as a "vicious" dog and, as previously reported by Patch, it was a city code many felt was unfair and outdated.
The ordinance came under review when it became an issue between two neighbors, one who had a dog, a mutt, that may or may not be part pitbull. Police were called because the dog was running around in its backyard, but according to Alderman Chuck Lenz the dog owner was never cited for a violation.
The incidents brought the current code to the attention of the police department and city leaders, and after much testimony in support of not classifying any dog as "vicious" based soley on its breed, the ordinance was removed.
"I think Town and Country is following the trend that we are seeing to remove breed specific language from municipal ordinances and it make it behavior based," Town and Country Police Captain Gary Hoelzer tells Patch.
Hoelzer previously visited the resident with the dog in question and supports the board of aldermen's decision Monday night.
"Based on the history of dog bites in Town and Country, we have yet to see a pitbull bite," Hoelzer explained. "It's other breeds. So it really isn't breed based. It's how they're raised. Other circumstances."
Julie Jordan with St. Louis County Animal Care and Control attended Monday's meeting and told aldermen pitbulls are not a vicious breed, it's "the people behind the leash."
Jordan said irresponsible owners are the root of the issue behind the negative reputation pitbulls receive and thanked city leaders for researching the issue.
"Thank you very much for taking the responsible approach and we are very encouraged to see other municipalities follow suit," Jordan told aldermen.
St. Louis County will now respond to "vicious" dog calls in Town and Country, while Town and Country will continue to repsond to loose dog calls and other matters still included in the new city dog ordinance.
See agenda and supporting documents in the PDF portion of this article for complete details about the new and old Town and Country's ordinance.
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