LIBERTY — With 3,097 votes cast, unofficial results show 52 percent of those who voted Tuesday, April 2, voted in favor of repealing the breed-specific dog ban that has been in place more than 30 years, restricting pit bulls from Liberty.
Jessica McKinney, a local advocate and spokeswoman with the Liberty Pit Bull Alliance, said the efforts to get the initiative in front of voters took three years. She praised the Liberty City Council for strengthening the city’s dangerous dog ordinance.
“It was a slow process, but I think collectively we did it right,” she said. “All the steps are there to be the most safe.”
McKinney said the alliance and other friends are thrilled for the animals in the community.
“For many, it’s going to be a chance to allow families to be put back together,” she said, as some residents own pit bulls but are staying with others outside city limits. “I want to thank those who helped with education and those with an open mind who are aiding the community and our animals.”
Kathryn Kopanke, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals outreach manager with the government relations department, said ASPCA members had a great time working with the Liberty Pit Bull Alliance.
“We came in two weeks ago and initiated the canvassing effort,” she said. “We knew the ordinance was in place along with the 30-year ban, but we believe we were successful on the street and with the voters.”
To those who voted against the repeal, Kopanke said Liberty needs to trust in the dangerous dog ordinance, the strength of animal control officers and the local community that seeks better dog ownership.
Robert Hedrick, an opponent of the repeal who wrote a letter to the Courier-Tribune editor as well gone door to door, said the community will have to live with the consequences.
“I don’t know when, where or how, but there will be consequences because of irresponsible owners and the nature of the animal,” he said.