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Dog Owner, Veterinarian React to Legislation That Could End Pit - KOAM TV 7

Dog Owner, Veterinarian React to Legislation That Could End Pit Bull Bans

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A Missouri bill that could stop "doggy discrimination" passed in the house just last week. It would block cities from banning pit bulls.

Ruqa may not be what comes to mind when you think of a pit bull.

“Her personality is so much character. She’s the biggest baby, she’s scared of her own shadow but she loves kids, loves other dogs, love love loves other pit bulls,” says her owner and Joplin resident Lindsey Hoke.

Ruqa barely even barks. But, being pit bull, some will worry that she's aggressive. Hoke says that’s just not the case.

“I do not think pit bulls are aggressive. I've had many in my life and I’ve never ever had any instance with any aggression,” she says.

Missouri legislation could put a stop to bans on the breed. It would also bar communities from imposing rules on certain breeds.

“I don’t think there should be any breed discrimination. It’s all about owner education and how you raise the dogs. Any dog can be aggressive, not just pit bulls,” says Hoke.

Local veterinarian Ben Levens says while some pit bulls may pose a threat, it’s not a trait that’s necessarily specific to the breed, and that it’s more about how the dog is handled.

“If you go into a place where a dog is fenced up all day, they get more and more bored and then any dog, not just a pit bull, if they're out in the yard and they're bored, and then say a kid comes by every day and teases him through the fence, well when they get out what are they going to do? They're going to attack a kid,” says Levens.

Although bigger dogs will have a bigger bite, he says there is a misconception about pit bulls because they are often used to fight. He thinks dangerous dogs, ones that have shown repeated aggressive behavior outside of its home environment, need to be addressed rather than just one breed.

“It’s people making them violent, most dogs are not inherently violent, even pit bulls,” he says.

Rescued after being a part of the “Joplin 9,”  Ruqa’s calm demeanor definitely doesn't fit the negative stereotype attached to her breed.

The legislation is on its way to the senate. If passed, local governments would still be able to adopt bans on unleashed dogs or pass other general regulations. Missouri would be the 20th state to pass legislation limiting local restrictions on pit bulls.

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