In Ferguson, Missouri, it is unlawful to keep, harbor, own, or possess any pit bull, with exceptions for dogs in the city on the effective date of the ordinance. Such dogs must be registered and properly confined, or else kept on a leash and a muzzle. Owners must post "Beware of Dog--Pit Bull" signs, keep liability insurance, and photographs for identification purposes. Violations may result in fines and imprisonment, as well as the seizure and impoundment of the dog.
Sec. 6-21. Regulation of pit bull dogs.
(a) Unlawful to keep; exception. It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, own, or in any way possess, within the corporate limits of the City of Ferguson, Missouri, any pit bull, provided that pit bull dogs residing in the city on the effective date of this section may be kept within the city subject to the standards and requirements herein set forth.
(b) Definition. Pit bull dog is defined to mean:
(1) Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog;
(2) The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
(3) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
(4) Any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier, as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier;
(5) Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and other breeds commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs, or pit bull terriers, or a combination of any of these breeds.
(c) Standards for keeping. Pit bull dogs residing in the city on the effective date of this section may be kept by their owners within the city, subject to the following standards:
(1) Pit bull dogs residing in the city on the effective date of this section must be registered with the city code enforcement director by the owner(s) within ten (10) days of the effective date of this section.
(2) No person shall permit a pit bull dog to go outside its enclosure or pen unless such dog is securely leashed with a leash no longer than four (4) feet in length. No person shall permit a pit bull dog to be kept on a chain, rope, or other type of leash outside its enclosure or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. Such dogs may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all pit bull dogs on a leash outside the animal's enclosure or pen must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dog from biting persons or other animals.
(3) All pit bull dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or enclosure, except when leashed and muzzled as above provided. Such pen, enclosure, or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. All structures used to confine pit bull dogs must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen, or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two (2) feet. All structures erected to house pit bull dogs must comply with all zoning and building regulations of the city. All such structures must be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(4) No pit bull dog may be kept on a porch, patio, or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure.
(5) All owners, keepers, or harborers of pit bull dogs within the city shall within ten (10) days of the effective date of this section display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words, "Beware of Dog--Pit Bull." In addition, a similar sign is required to be posted on the enclosure or pen of such animal.
(6) All owners, keepers, or harborers of pit bull dogs must within ten (10) days of the effective date of this section provide proof to the city code enforcement director of public liability insurance in a single incident amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) for bodily injury to or death of any person(s) or for damage to property owned by any person(s) which may result from the ownership, keeping, or maintaining of such animal. Such insurance policy shall provide that no cancellation of the policy will be made unless ten (10) days written notice is first given to the code enforcement director. An effective insurance policy with the coverage and in the amounts specified herein must be maintained by the owner, keeper, or harborer at all times.
(7) All owners, keepers, or harborers of registered pit bull dogs registered with the city code enforcement director must, within ten (10) days of the effective date of this section, provide to the city code enforcement director two (2) color photographs (two (2) different poses) of the animal clearly showing the color and approximate size of the animal.
(8) All owners, keepers, or harborers of pit bull dogs must, within ten (10) days of the incident, report the following information in writing to the city code enforcement director as required hereinafter:
a. The removal from the city or death of a pit bull dog.
b. The birth of offspring of a pit bull dog.
c. The new address of a pit bull dog owner should the owner move from one address within the corporate city limits to another address within the corporate city limits.
(9) No person shall sell, barter, or in any other way dispose of a pit bull dog registered with the city to any person within the city unless the recipient person resides permanently in the same household and on the same premises as the registered owner of such dog; provided that the registered owner of a pit bull dog may sell or otherwise dispose of a pit bull dog or the offspring of such dog to persons who do not reside within the city.
(10) All offspring born of pit bull dogs registered with the city must be removed from the city within six (6) weeks of the birth of such animal.
(11) There shall be an irrebuttable presumption that any dog registered with the city as a pit bull dog or any of those breeds prohibited by this section is in fact a dog subject to the requirements of this section.
(d) Violations and penalties.
(1) It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper, or harborer of a pit bull dog registered with the city to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this section. Any dog found to be the subject of a violation of this section shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment.
(2) Any person violating or permitting the violation of any provision of this section shall, upon conviction in municipal court, be subject to the fines and imprisonment established in section 1-15, general penalty, of this code. In addition, the court shall order the registration of the subject pit bull revoked and the dog removed from the city. Should the defendant refuse to remove the dog from the city, the municipal judge may find the defendant/owner in contempt and order the immediate confiscation and impoundment of the animal. Each day that a violation of this section continues shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who violates this section shall pay all expenses, including shelter, food, handling, veterinary care, and testimony necessitated by the enforcement of this section.
(Ord. No. 96-2873, § 1, 11-26-96; Ord. No. 2005-3252, § 1, 10-11-05)