Pit Bulls

On April 17, 2006 Springfield City Council passed Council Bill No. 2006-113 amending Springfield City Code placing several restrictions on pit bulls. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department's Animal Control staff began enforcing the ordinance in October of that year.

The ordinance was needed to address a disproportionate number of problems caused by pit bulls and irresponsible pit bull owners, and to ultimately make Springfield safer for residents.

According to the ordinance a pit bull is defined as "any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier" or any dog that closely resembles any of these breeds. We are experienced at identifying pit bulls and pit bulls mixes, but when there is a doubt, we will err on the side of the dog owner.

In order to be in compliance with the ordinance, pit bull owners must do the following:

  • Owners must register pit bulls with Springfield Animal Control. Registration will take place at the Animal Shelter by appointment only. Call (417) 833-3592 to schedule an appointment.
  • At the time of registration, owners must provide proof of rabies vaccination for the pit bull.
  • Owners must also pay an annual registration fee of $50 for each pit bull.
  • Owners must have a microchip inserted under the dog's skin. This service can be provided by Animal Shelter staff at time of registration and is included in the $50 registration fee. Alternatively, owners can have the procedure done at a veterinarian's office and provide written proof to Animal Shelter staff at time of registration.
  • Owners must ensure the dog is spayed or neutered, unless it is AKC or UKC registered and actively competing.
  • Owners must keep the dog in a secured enclosure while on the owner's property. (See definition in City Code section 18-7)
  • Owners must post a sign at least 8"x10" stating "Pit Bull Dog" at each entrance to the owner's property.
  • Owners must keep the pit bull leashed and muzzled while not on the owner's property.
  • Owners must notify staff of the City Manager or his authorized representative within 5 days if the pit bull is lost, stolen, dies or has puppies.
  • New litters of puppies must be removed from city limits or taken to the Springfield Animal Shelter unless they are registered according to the guidelines listed above.

Unregistered pit bulls from outside city limits may be temporarily transported into or through Springfield for veterinarian appointments, grooming appointments or competitions. While inside city limits, dogs must be confined in a secure, temporary enclosure.

All dogs, which fall under the ordinance and are being held at the Springfield Animal Shelter, must be in compliance with the ordinance before they will be returned to the owner.  The dog must be spayed or neutered, be micro-chipped, have a current rabies vaccination, and be registered with the City before being released.

Owners found to be in violation will face prosecution. Dogs may be immediately impounded and destroyed after seven days. Owners must file a petition with the city within seven days to dispute the dog's classification as a pit bull. Owners may also be ticketed and fined for violations.

In February 2015, Springfield City Council approved a trial period of allowing unclaimed pit bulls to go to rescue partner CARE. Those dogs, like all other breeds, have to pass temperament testing to be eligible for adoption. That trial period has continued, with periodic updates made to City Council.