Kansas City animal control workers seized 18 pit bulls and one mixed-breed dog Wednesday afternoon from the backyard of a house in the 5600 block of Bales Avenue.
They also took a pit bull from inside the house, plus four pit bulls from a different owner across the street, bringing to 24 the total dogs seized from an area known as having the highest number of pit bulls per capita in the city.
Narcotics officers carrying out an arrest warrant discovered the larger group of dogs Wednesday in makeshift wooden and large plastic kennels behind the home, which was near a vacant lot and several abandoned houses. The dogs had clean water and hay and appeared to be in good shape, except for the one dog being kept indoors, officials said. Heavy chains and cinder blocks littered the ground around the kennels. It appeared the residence was used to breed and train the dogs, said Derrick Jones, an animal control supervisor at the scene. Several dogs had scars on their faces. “It appeared to me it was some type of training ground; there was exercise equipment to build agility,” Jones said.
Police arrested a 30-year-old man on an outstanding drug warrant.
A city ordinance limits pet owners to four dogs, and it requires owners of pit bulls to spay or neuter them unless they get a breeder’s permit, said Chris Hernandez, a city spokesman.
Animal control officers said they will cite the owner of the 20 dogs for having 16 more than allowed and for not having any of the pit bulls spayed or neutered. Two females appeared to be pregnant, officials said.
The dogs were taken to the KC Pet Project, where the veterinary staff and certified dog trainers will perform medical and behavioral evaluations. Hernandez said he did not know when or if the dogs would be available for adoption.
A neighbor said she had heard barking and knew dogs had been kept at the home for months, perhaps as long as a year, but didn’t realize having that many dogs was against a city ordinance.
Another neighbor said she and her husband had noticed only two or three dogs at the house. Last October, city animal control officials estimated that 1,400 pit bulls or pit bull mixes still capable of breeding were in the 64130 and 64132 ZIP codes, which have some of the highest impound rates in the city. The Bales Avenue homes are in ZIP code 64130.
The city has a grant-funded program to help pet owners in those two ZIP codes get their dogs spayed and neutered free. Residents must work with a participating veterinarian, provide proof of residency and have no more than four pets per household.
Spay and neuter program
Veterinarians participating in the spay and neuter program for ZIP codes 64130 and 64132:
Spay Neuter Kansas City, 1116 E. 59th St., Kansas City 816-353-0940.
Raytown Animal Hospital, 10401 E. 63rd St., Raytown 816-353-3666.