The City Council of University City has voted to amend the language of a city dog ordinance, to remove language singling out pitbulls as a vicious dog breed.
The Council approved the change at its Oct. 28 meeting. The vote was 6-0, with one abstention by Paulette Carr.
Carr, who has been a dog owner, said that she had received three e-mails from residents encouraging her not to vote for the change in language.
“I don’t know where I stand on this. I don’t feel comfortable voting on it. How do you determine if a dog is aggressive, until after the fact?” said Carr. “I needed more time and info,” Carr added after the meeting.
The pitbull-specific language was originallt approved in February 2000 and remained unchanged until this current vote. It imposed several regulations dealing with issues such as licenses, registration, confinement, leashes, muzzles and warning signs on property, in addition to other requirements such as liability insurance and reporting injuries.
In amending the ordinance, the city acknowledged that the previous language presumed that all pitbulls are dangerous or vicious, and that in recent years there have been court challenges from dog owners and breed or humane organizations in opposition to breed specific ordinances.
The city also recognized that other local governments have passed breed-neutral dangerous and vicious dog ordinances. Clayton, which borders University City, passed a similar change in early 2014.