Florissant Pit Bull Ban Is Targeted by Activists


Activists took to Florissant's City Council meeting Monday night in an attempt to persuade the council and Mayor Tom Schneider to repeal the city's pit bull ban. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/TONY ALTER
  • Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Tony Alter
  • Activists took to Florissant's City Council meeting Monday night in an attempt to persuade the council and Mayor Tom Schneider to repeal the city's pit bull ban.

Activists attended the Florissant City Council meeting Monday night, encouraging the St. Louis suburb to repeal a law that effectively bans residents from owning pit bulls.

Mandy Ryan, one of the activists who spoke at the meeting and helped organize the movement, runs several Facebook pages advocating for Missouri municipalities to stop what she calls prejudice against certain breeds of dogs.

“Our main issue tonight is we want to work with the mayor, we want to work with the city council, we want to keep public safety a top priority,” Ryan says. “We’re going to come respectfully asking for them to work with us and repeal the ban.”

Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider did not respond to two requests seeking comment.

Ryan and a group called Florissant Bully Alliance are currently focused on Florissant, but other activists are taking on the bans in other parts of the state as well. Activists intend to visit a Poplar Bluff City Council meeting on Friday. Officials in Springfield and Independence have also heard from pit bull lovers.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about pit bulls,” Ryan says. “People need to know that.”

Ryan says she first got into the movement while working as an animal control specialist. She'd responded to a call about an injured puppy, and was horrified to learn that because of the laws in the city she was working in, and the fact that the dog looked like a pit bull, it would have been put down if she hadn’t found a temporary home for it with her parents.

That temporary home became permanent, and to this day the dog lives with Ryan’s parents. (Ryan herself also owns a pit bull mix.) Since then, she has been an advocate for repealing laws in Missouri cities that ban certain breeds.

She says it’s not uncommon for breeds banned in certain cities to be euthanized, especially breeds covered by the umbrella term "pit bull."

Ryan says she and several other speakers at the council meeting want to start a discussion about ways to repeal the law and bring all breeds back to Florissant.

After the council meeting, Ryan says the council listened to what the group had to say. One council member, she reports, seemed to agree with the need for a repeal of the ban. 

She says the group plans to begin emailing the council members to continue their campaign.

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