Pit bulls are a dog breed with a reputation, many communities have even placed restrictions on them.
But now a big grant will help some Kansas City pit bull owners comply with the law.
From a dog's point-of-view, things are pretty simple, they focus on who feeds them, who pets them and who they need to protect. Perhaps no breed does that better than the pit bull.
"As you can tell now, the way she's standing in front of me, like that, she's pretty protective of me. But she's never bitten anybody," said pit bull owner Sheniece Martin.
But experts say some owners use the breed's natural loyalty and strength to train the dogs to be aggressive. That's led to all kinds of regulations against pit bulls. In Kansas City, MO, they're the only breed that's required to be spayed or neutered.
Now, a new $100,000 PetSmart Charities grant is making it easier to follow that law, in the areas where owners break it most.
"Animal control keeps track of what kind of animals they pick up and where," said Chris Hernandez, a spokesman for the city of Kansas City, MO.
The city's zeroed in on two zip codes,64130 and 64132, where they estimate there are around 1,400 pit bulls and pit mixes that aren't fixed and large numbers of low-income residents. Those dogs can now get spayed or neutered, plus vaccinated and licensed, all for free.
"I think it's a good idea because I see a lot of pit bull, pit bull mixes running around that are strays," Martin said.
Spay and Neuter Kansas City is one of three groups now offering the free services. They say it should help cut down on strays, improve the health of pit pets and start getting owners in the door.
"It gives us that opportunity to be able to educate people who would not otherwise know how to take care of their pet properly," said Amy Herrington, the operations manager for Spay and Neuter Kansas City.
The program starts now and will run until September of this year or until the funds run out.
Animal control officers will talk to residents about getting their dogs altered or vaccinated at one of three participating veterinary clinics.
Participants must present a valid proof of residency to the vet. A maximum of four pets per household are eligible for this service.
PetSmart Charities is an animal welfare group created by the founders of the PetSmart chain of pet product stores.
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