Like numerous townships across the country, Sikeston, Mo. is deeply embroiled in BSL. Dangerous dog ordinances plaque the city's municipal codes targeting Pit Bull and Pit Bull type dogs, and mixes thereof. In Sikeston, a Pit Bull, regardless of it's behavior or past, is considered a dangerous animal based solely on it's breed.
It was no surprise to Trace White, administrator for the Sikeston Area Humane Society, that he and his dog Butters were targeted and ticketed at a recent Sikeston public event, Music In the Park.
City ordinance dictates that any Pit Bull or Pit Bull type dog should be muzzled and leashed while in a public. Butters, White's Pit Bull, is a certified therapy dog and was neither muzzled or leashed. White admits he was aware of the ordinance and should have known that Butter's certifications wouldn't matter.
White went to court and plead his case, telling the court that Butters was a certified therapy dog and has his CGC certificate. He told them how Butters visits schools and nursing homes providing companionship and education about dogs, Pit Bulls specifically. None of this mattered to the court. Butter's is a Pit Bull and that's all that mattered. Service dog or not, Butters, because of his breed, was to be muzzled and leashed at all times while in public, period.
White paid his fines and thought the matter was behind him and his faithful canine. He vowed never to take Butters into another Sikeston event.
Weeks later the Sikeston Area Humane Society went on to celebrate their one year mark of being a no-kill shelter. The celebration went off without a hitch as people from the community showed up to help celebrate. The City of Sikeston even presented White with a plaque commemorated his service to the stray pets of Sikeston that he has tirelessly worked to save over the past several years.
But just days later White received new citations from the City of Sikeston; citations for harboring an unregistered "dangerous dog" and for failing to muzzles or leash a Pit Bull in public. The date of the citations were the day the shelter had celebrated their one year, no-kill mark, a celebration that Butters was present for.
White intends to fight the citations. He contends that there is no reason to register Butters with the City of Sikeston because neither he nor Butters lives in the city. And he questions why he is just now receiving these citations.
"Colin Cecil, the animal control officer that wrote the citations, has been to the shelter numerous times over the past two years. He has seen and petted Butters on many of those occasions, and never said a word about Butters being there.Why now, after almost two years am I getting slammed with tickets?" questions White. "When Butters comes to work with me, he hangs out in the office. The office is not a public area."
And White says this is not the only Pit Bull type dog he has brought to work with him at the shelter over the years. Jayden, one of White's other dogs, once frequented the shelter as well. Again, nothing was ever mentioned about Jayden being a problem or that White was in violation of city ordinance by bringing the dogs in unregistered, unmuzzled, or unleashed.
"They are just targeting Butters because he is a Pit Bull, pure and simple," said White. "It's all about his breed and has nothing to do with his behavior. Butters has no aggression in his past. He's a therapy dog. He's no threat to anyone."
Click here to read more on Sikeston Missouri City Ordinances.
To contact Sikeston City Council about this and other BSL related issues, click here.
Follow the links below to read more about Butters and the Sikeston Area Humane Society.