By LESLIE COLLINS
October 16, 2013
Kansas City officials are hoping to control the city’s pit bull population through a $100,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.
Deletta Dean, deputy director of the city’s Neighborhoods and Housing Services, announced the grant award during the city’s Oct. 9 Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee meeting.
Kansas City received the maximum dollar amount possible for the one-year grant, which will be used to provide free spay and neuter services for pit bull breeds located in zip codes 64132 and 64130. Residents who take advantage of the offer will also receive a free city license and rabies vaccine for their dog. Under city code, all pit bull breeds located within city limits are required to be altered.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Dean said of the competitive grant, which the city applied for for the first time. “We know there’s an overpopulation issue.”
To utilize the grant, the city had to choose a location where the grant would have the most impact, she said. According to the city, the 64132 and 64130 zip codes had a high number of pit bull impounds and approximately 1,400 pit bull breeds live in those two geographical areas. The grant will provide enough funding to alter a minimum of 860 pit bull breeds.
The city’s General Services Department has issued a request for proposal to area veterinarians and spay and neuter clinics. The proposal period ends Oct. 15.
Dean said she expects Spay and Neuter Kansas City will participate, which creates an added bonus since the organization offers a transportation service which transports animals to the clinic and then back home, free of charge.
“We will scream from the hilltops if we have to,” Dean said of informing the public of the new program. “We want to make sure individuals take advantage of it because the quicker we spend it (grant), the quicker we can go back and ask for more.”
A list of participating veterinarians and spay and neuter clinics will be listed on the city’s website under the Animal Health and Public Safety tab. The program is expected to be up and running by Nov. 1.
Residents in zip codes 64132 and 64130 do not need to provide proof of income; however, they must provide proof of residency. Residents who bring in their dogs to be altered will not be fined or ticketed.
Kansas City Pet Project, the operator of the city’s animal shelter, has made strides in decreasing its euthanasia, and utilizing the grant will not only support that mission but also provide assistance to residents, Dean said.