Kansas City will get a $100,000 grant to spay or neuter hundreds of pit bulls

10/09/2013 11:48 AM

10/10/2013 12:07 AM

Hundreds of pit bulls in two East Side ZIP codes could soon be neutered or spayed, thanks to a $100,000 competitive grant awarded to Kansas City.

The Kansas City Council’s public safety committee on Wednesday agreed to accept the grant from PetSmart Charities, and the full council is expected to do the same Thursday.

“Our goal is to decrease the overpopulation, not to ban the breed,” said Deletta Dean, principal assistant to the director of neighborhoods and housing services.

The city’s animal control officials estimate there are 1,400 pit bulls or pit bull mixes still capable of breeding in the 64130 and 64132 ZIP codes, which have some of the highest impound pit bull rates in the city. Those animals are not neutered or spayed, even though a city ordinance requires pet owners to spay or neuter their pit bulls unless they get a breeder’s permit.

Dean said the grant is likely to fund free spay/neuter services for about 850 of those animals, and the city could try for an additional $100,000 to address more animals or other parts of the city, if this program is successful.

She expects a good response because a recent pit bull licensing event drew several hundred owners.

Committee members praised the department for seeking this grant, the first of its kind awarded to the city.

“This is good. I’m hopeful,” said 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents some neighborhoods that will be served by the grant.

Dean said the city is seeking veterinarians and clinics in and near those ZIP codes to provide the spay/neuter services. The city hopes to select those providers and start allocating the funding Nov. 1. It will publicize the names of those providers on the department’s website.

Pet owners will be able to take their unaltered pit bull mixes and receive spay/neuter services, pet licenses and rabies vaccines, all free. The program is limited to people living in the 64130 and 64132 ZIP codes, who must provide proof of residence. But there is no income requirement, and people will not have to demonstrate financial need to get the services.

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