Pit Bull Ban Pushes Dog Owner to Relocate


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Some Springfield residents are taking drastic measures to escape the city’s pit bull ban, even looking to relocate.

The city’s breed ban has landed it in the dog house as far as Kelly Prohaska is concerned. It’s left her searching for, not a house, but a home, for her and her pit mix Baxter.

“It’s huge,” Prohaska said about the backyard. “I could have so many dogs.”

At the top of every house hunter’s list is a quiet street. But for this particular house hunter, it has more do with with the zip code the street’s in. Tuesday, that landed the KOLR10 crew in Republic. It wasn’t the first doggy destination realtor Jason Lessmann had to offer.

“Me and Kelly have been looking at, what, probably five or six different cities outside Springfield,” Lessmann said.

Although she hasn’t nailed down a down payment just yet, there is one thing she hasn’t thought twice about.

“As long as Springfield keeps it, I’ll take my money back out of Springfield. I feel really strongly about that,” Prohaska said.

As of Tuesday, she’s still looking for the perfect porch for her pooch.

“He’s a good dog, and we worked hard to make him that way,” Prohaska said.

She’s Lessmann’s first client with the request, but he expects she won’t be the last.

“Kelly’s the first buyer I’ve been working with with this particular issue,” Lessmann said. “I’m sure she’s not going to be the only one. We do anticipate obviously more buyers wanting to move outside the area.”

He says, it’s a seller’s market, and the suburbs can get pricey. It’s a price Prohaska is willing to pay.

“When a city abandons you, which is what they’re doing, which is unconstitutional, to take away your property, you have to abandon your city,” she said.

Now, the only dog house she’ll be dealing with, is the one she plans to buy for Baxter.

Her deadline to relocate is the beginning of December, which is a month before the pit bull ban is scheduled to take effect in Springfield, if it’s not repealed by petition. Those signatures are due back to the city by the end of October.

With the end of the month fast approaching, petition organizers did a signature count Tuesday night. The latest tally is 3,414 signatures. The city must verify those are all registered voters who live in city limits.

To mitigate any signatures being thrown out, the group’s goal is to collect 5,000. That’s about double what the city requires. If it gets enough signatures in 30 days, city council can repeal the ban on its own, or put it to a vote. Volunteers’ last day to turn in petitions to organizers is Oct. 29 so they can then be turned in to the city.

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