Three months ago Dr. Kenneth Bentley and his wife Kathleen acquired a two-year old “mutt” from a friend. Their next door neighbor took an immediate dislike to the dog, based strictly on the dogs appearances, said the Kathline Bentley.
The dog resembles a Pit Bull, although not forbidden by Town and Country regulations, a city ordinance classifies a pitbull as a "vicious dog" and places additional restrictions on it because of the "vicious" label. The Bentleys said they don’t know what breed the dog could be and insists that the dog should be judged based on its actions, not its genetics. The Bentleys said their dog has never bitten anyone and is gentle with their family.
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After their neighbor called several times to report the dog being off leash—in a fenced in backyard—the Bentleys decided to hire a lawyer.
But rather than sue the city for an unjust law, they are trying to persuade the city to change its rules. The couple appeared with their lawyer at the Monday night Board of Aldermen meeting to answer questions regarding their dog.
The city is now considering changes to its code regarding dogs. The ordinance would still forbid animals from being allowed to run at large, trespass or be unrestrained by a fence or leash.
But most importantly, the city would remove wording to prevent residents from owning Pit Bulls or dogs that look like Pit Bulls.
Pit Bull Dog: And all of the following dogs:
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs
The American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs.
The American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs.
Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of the dogs know as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier.
The current city code restricts residents from owning “vicious” dogs. Vicious dogs are defined as those who have bitten someone without provocation, a dog that has killed another domestic animal or a dog who is a Pit Bull.
The city is also removing wording that would call for its own police department to impound vicious dogs, stating that they are not equipped to transport or house dogs. The city will instead align its code with St. Louis County and allow St. Louis County Animal Control to take care of dangerous animals.
The Town and Country Board of Aldermen approved this ordnance for its first reading on Monday night. They will make a final vote in two weeks on Monday August 6.
Editor's Note: This article was corrected Aug. 10 to explain that pitbulls are allowed in the city of Town and Country, but are classified as "vicious" and have specific guidelines based on that classification.