This is direct information from the area.
I will not reword...but am just posting the entire email for you all.
Thank you Abigail!!!
The meeting with the Public Safety Committee went ok tonight. I was not at the meeting,
but we had quite a lot of people in attendance. The speakers were excellent.
Only 2 for (a married couple) and probably forty at least there against.
The big problem we have in Overland Park is that the city attorney, Mike Santos, is
wedded to a ban. Santos argued the Overland Park v. Hearn case; this is probably his
biggest career achievement, so now wants a complete ban. The police chief just says what Santos says,
so we have NO internal city staff support. Their animal control and the private
intake shelter are opposed, but they won't speak up.
The council is not asking tough questions of the city staff, even though several have
told us privately that they're concerned about bias.
The committee voted to send the ban to the full council. We believe the vote will be on
Monday, so we need help now. I have not heard what the vote tally was for the committee.
Phone calls to the council would be useful. Emails don't work; we're getting form
letters in return. Faxes may be a good tool, too.
Santos and the police chief are convinced and have convinced a lot of the council that
pit bulls are a "unique public" risk (this is the language from the Hearn case). Some of the
council perked up when listening to the information about temperament and how pit bulls
are not genetically or anatomically different. We need more information
conveyed to them one on one without Santos to edit public commentary and twist around the facts.
Again Overland Park already has BSL, but does not have a ban. Pit bulls are required to
have $50,000 liability, be walked on a 4 ft leash, be muzzled at all times outside
(even in the owner's fenced backyard), and have a sign on the fence. This month Overland
Park renewed its sweeps of "known" pit bull owners and found a man who had taken
his sign down to stain his fence. They seized his dog. Now his dog cannot
reenter the city and is living with a relative in another suburb.
He also has had to pay substantial fines.
Overland Park has less than 5% of its bites from pit bulls (only 1 this year). It has
approximately 500-1500 pit bulls in the city, but only 20+ are licensed as pit bulls.
We have been working to get the existing ordinance repealed, but at this point we'd
consider rejection of a ban a small victory.
Contact information (below). Bios are available here
Fax: 913-895-5003 (whole council)
Councilmember Terry Happer Scheier (making some progress with her)
Councilmember Dave Janson
Councilmember Curt Skoog
Councilmember Marcia A. Gilliland (proponent of the ban and also an RN)
Councilmember Donna Owens
Councilmember David White
Councilmember Fred Spears
Council President Terry Goodman (making progress)
Councilmember John H. Thompson (lawyer)
Councilmember Jim Hix
Councilmember George Kandt
Councilmember Dan Stock