Last month, information started coming out about a pit bull "roundup" in Sikeston, MO -- where pit bulls were being seized from homes under the community's breed-specific law. However, local officials denied that any roundup was ever taking place.
However, when breed specific laws are in place, every day has round-up potential.
Earlier this week, the Sikeston Humane Society (which handles all animal control intake for the city, but is a separate organization from animal control) posted their numbers.
According to their records, Sikeston animal control brought in 247 animals to the humane society. Of those, 60 (24%) were pit bulls. All except 7 of those pit bulls were seized for violation of the city's breed-specifc law (the other 7 were cruelty victims or strays).
Meanwhile, Sikeston Humane Society took in 260 animals through their front door -- other 13 of them were pit bulls surrendered by owners because they couldn't comply with the city's laws.
So, in total, 66 pit bulls lost their homes in Sikeston last year purely because of the breed-specific law -- WITHOUT an actual roundup. This is an extraordinary number given the community is small, with only about 16,000 residents.
The good news is that SHS is a compassionate organization -- and last year adopted out 167 animals and transferred another 480 to no kill rescue groups (note, their number of animals saved is higher than their intake because they actually transferred some out of area rescue groups as well). A job very well done by SHS - and great news for the pit bulls that lost their homes unnecessarily because of the breed-specific law.
Sikeston's law is poorly written. I targets the look of a dog instead of its behavior and also does not allow for due process. And because of its breed-specific nature, it is causing animals WITH loving homes to be removed from those homes -- unnecessarily leading them to be homeless.
This needs to change. Because even if the roundups were never going to happen (I still think they were), 66 dogs separated from their family is too many..