A contentious issue is on Springfield’s election ballot today about a ban on new pitbull and pitbull mix registrations. The measure, known as Question One, would only allow renewals of existing pitbull and pitbull-type registrations – not new ones.

Photo courtesy of Springfield-Greene County Health Department website

In October, the Springfield City Council voted 5-4 to enforce the gradual ban on pitbulls and pitbull mixes. Advocates of the breed then vowed to collect signatures to overturn the ordinance through a public vote of the people.

In December, the council narrowly voted against repealing the ban. Members instead chose to put the ordinance on hold and let Springfield voters decide whether to reverse the regulations.

Current Springfield ordinance requires pitbulls living within the city limits to be registered annually, current on certain vaccinations, spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. While in public, they are required to be muzzled. A sign must also be placed on the owner’s property that says “pitbull dog”.

Kathleen Larken with Missouri State University tells Springfield television station KOLR the measure would not improve public safety because the current ordinance is not properly enforced.

Statistics from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department show breeds associated with the term pitbull bite more frequently than other breeds in the city and the bites they leave typically are more severe than those of other dog breeds.

Springfield television station KOLR contributed to this story.