Citizen group begins circulating petitions to repeal Springfield’s new pit bull ban

The group Citizens Against BSL began circulating petitions Wednesday in an attempt to overturn Springfield’s new pit bull ban, scheduled to be phased in starting in January.

Andrea Roach told the News-Leader she spent the morning dropping off petition forms to volunteers and various businesses around town.

The group has less than 30 days to gather at least 2,228 signatures from registered Springfield voters for a referendum petition. If a sufficient number of signatures are verified by the City Clerk’s Office, City Council will be required to either repeal the pit bull ban — passed in a narrow vote on Monday — or put the decision to a public vote.

The referendum would only repeal the ban, Roach said. It would not impact harsher penalties owners face for violating the pit bull ordinance, which were also passed by council Monday night.

Also, it would not get rid of special pit bull restrictions, also known as breed-specific legislation, that have been in place for more than a decade.

Overturning the previously existing restrictions on pit bulls would involve a separate process called a petition initiative, which is more difficult and Roach does not believe that has the momentum to pass.

Roach and others from Citizens Against BSL worked with City Clerk Anita Cotter to finalize the petition language Tuesday evening.

Many people have volunteered to circulate the petitions around their workplaces, schools and neighborhoods, Roach said.

Cotter told the News-Leader the City Clerk’s Office has received an influx of calls since Monday from people looking to add their signature to the petition.

However, petitions are not available at the clerk’s office. The clerk has no involvement beyond verifying the signatures after the petition is submitted.

Petitions must be signed in-person while a circulator is watching, according to the City Charter.

Online petitions, such as one on named “Repeal the Pit bull ban, end BSL in Springfield Mo.” which has collected more than 13,000 signatures as of Wednesday, are not recognized by the city.

According to Roach, petitions are available at, but not limited to, the following locations:

Fetch Pet Supplies located at 1332 E. Republic Road
Cherokee Trading Post located at 1845 N. Grant Ave.
All Breed Pet Grooming located at 1740 S. Glenstone Ave.
Sassy’s Goodies located at 812 S. Glenstone Ave.
SAAF Spay Neuter Clinic located at 1600 N. Washington Ave.
The referendum petition reads as follows:

The undersigned, being qualified electors of the city of Springfield, Missouri, do hereby petition the City Council of the City of Springfield, Missouri to repeal, General Ordinance 6397 finally passed on October 2nd, 2017, said ordinance being entitled,

“Amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 18, ‘Animals,’ Article II, ‘Dogs, Cats and Ferrets,’ Division 3, ‘Prohibition of Pit Bull Dogs,’ by amending Section 18-98, ‘Additional Regulations,’ through the addition of language to said section establishing a future ban upon the possession of new pit bull dogs within the City limits; and designating an effective date for said amendments.”

And should the city council fail to repeal the said ordinance within the time and manner specified at Section 14.7 of the Charter of the City of Springfield, Missouri, then to submit said ordinance to a special or general election, all as specified in said Section 14.7.

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