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Pit bull

Yorkville lifted its 23-year pit bull ban after the Village Board unanimously voted to revise the village's vicious animal ordinance, stripping all mentions of pit bulls.

YORKVILLE — The village lifted its pit bull ban Friday with a revision to its dangerous animal ordinance, ending the county’s only such municipal ban.

Under the village’s prior ordinance, which had been in effect since 1996, pit bulls were outright banned from the village. Yorkville was the only municipality in Racine County to have a pit bull ban, according to Jodie Hoffmann-Ruffalo, the village’s animal control officer and executive director of Woof Gang Rescue in Racine.

Included in the ban were pit bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers as well as any pit-bull mixes.

“It’s great,” Hoffmann-Ruffalo said. “We love to see the pit bull ban lifted.”

Pit bulls have historically been a topic of debate, with some cities and countries around the globe outlawing them and other breeds deemed dangerous through controversial bans, often referred to as breed-specific legislation. In 2017, an anti-pit bull activist from East Troy proposed a pit bull ban in Union Grove, resulting in a Village Board meeting overflowing with pit bull supporters. The village did not enact one.

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The end of Yorkville’s ban comes as pit bulls have gained nationwide support, with studies finding breed-specific legislation to be ineffective in decreasing dog attacks. National organizations such as the Human Society, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Kennel Club and American Bar Association have come out against breed-specific legislation.

“You shouldn’t punish a specific breed,” Hoffmann-Ruffalo said.

The revised ordinance, which Yorkville’s Village Board unanimously voted to adopt Aug. 12, strips any mention of pit bulls from the dangerous animal ordinance.

The 1996 ban was initially proposed in response to a history of pit bull biting complaints, according to former Village President Sherry Gruhn, who was on the then-Town Board when it passed the ban.

Hoffmann-Ruffalo said any person who owned a pit bull had to relocate their pets outside of Yorkville after the ordinance went into effect; pit bulls were grandfathered in if registered with the town before July 8, 1996.

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