The devasting tornado in Joplin, Mo., last May destroyed Dave DeWolfe’s house. Fortunately he and his family survived, including their two dogs, who had to be dug out of the wreckage.
“When I found Kain, that was the happiest thing,” DeWolfe said. “Then I crawled through a bedroom window and found Kita, who was just fine.” Kita is a 2-year-old Rottweiler.
The DeWolfe family temporarily stayed with a relative whose landlord did not allow dogs, so Kain and Kita stayed in a temporary shelter created by the ASPCA.
“It was difficult to put them there,” DeWolfe said. “We were so worried how they’d react, but they did well.” The family visited their dogs every day.
Eventually the family found what seemed to be a dream house in Carl Junction, Mo., which is about 8 miles from Joplin. After moving in, they read a welcome packet from the city.
“That’s when we saw we couldn’t have these dogs,” DeWolfe said. “It never even crossed my mind before. When we saw that, we were like, ‘Oh no!’”
Carl Junction enforces breed-specific legislation, meaning that so-called “vicious” breeds like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are banned from living in the city.
DeWolfe told the Joplin Globe that his dogs do not fit the negative stereotype at all.
“Kain is family dog — not the typical picture of what a terrible Pit Bull is,” he said. “If you met him, you would know. He’s a little softy.” He described Kita, the Rottie, as being “an 80-pound lap dog that wants to give you kisses.”
Carl Junction animal control officers informed DeWolfe earlier this month that he was violating the city ordinance. Although he told the city council he would muzzle, kennel or do whatever it took to keep his family’s beloved dogs, his plea was rejected.
“It’s difficult, I tell you,” Councilman Richard Zaccardelli told the Joplin Globe. “Every one of them who has come to the council and raised one from a puppy, they have such strong feelings for them. I know it’s hard to give them up. But on the other hand, if you do it for one, you set a precedent. It’s unfortunate that (DeWolfe) didn’t realize we had the law.”
DeWolfe admits he should have looked into the city’s ordinances before moving there. “It’s my fault,” he said. “I should have checked the laws.”
Now he needs to find new homes for Kain and Kita in a city that welcomes all breeds. He said he has already heard from one potential adopter who’s offered to give both dogs a furever home on 6 acres of land.
For a list of the countries and 650 U.S. cities enforcing breed bans, visit Understand-A-Bull.com.
PHOTO: NOAA Photo Library