Pit bull activists targeting Sikeston ordinance

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SIKESTON -- Sikeston may not have conducted a roundup of pit bulls as reported in St. Louis, but it has no plans to repeal its breed-discriminatory ordinance yet either.

City officials -- and the Standard Democrat -- received a barrage of calls and contact via electronic media following a Wednesday evening report by Chris Hayes of Fox 2 in St. Louis that Sikeston held a "pit bull round up day."

"I went into a meeting and got 20 calls," Sikeston City Manager Doug Friend said Friday when contacted for comment.

Hayes reported in his story that he "found out about the program after learning about a sudden influx of dogs coming to the St. Louis area" and that it was "to make room for seized pit bulls."

This information was immediately followed by reported allegations by Sikeston resident Yulonda Mitchell that city officers took her brother's family pets into custody even though there were no reported problems and her dogs had appropriate licensing and current shots.

Sikeston city code does have an ordinance that mandates a list of standards for "pit bulls or any dangerous dog" that went into effect in 2003.

The American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Bull Terrier breeds are all considered to be pit bull dogs by the city code's definition.

But Friend said Friday any allegation that the city held a "pit bull round up day" is simply "not true."

There are currently 32 pit bulls registered in Sikeston, according to Friend, and the city audits those on an annual basis.

"It's not a big process," he said. "We just basically drive by, verify that somebody that had a registered pit bull still lives at a registered address. Our plan was to just do our annual look."

During that recent audit, only three pit bulls were taken into custody for non-compliance with the city code.

Calls to Hayes Friday regarding the source for the claim of a pit bull round

up in the story were not returned as of press time.

For the complete article and more stories from the Standard Democrat, log on to the electronic edition or look in Sunday's Standard Democrat.

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