Educating not Discriminating
Dog Legislation Education (DLE) is for anyone on either side of the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) fence. I wanted to provide a place where you can ask questions that otherwise might spark debate. This is not meant to be a place to argue the issues, but to help people understand why dogs bite, who's really responsible, and what types of legislation have proven successful in protecting the public and punishing human offenders. Anyone commenting on the blog will be removed from the group for being insensitive. My main focus will be for citizens of Springfield, Mo as the Animal Issues Task Force (AITF) has proposed new legislation, policies, programs to City Council. Because these proposals could help improve the safety of citizens anywhere, the blog is open to anyone.
The Root of Fear is Ignorance.
The one thing I have learned over the years, is that most people who have a problem with a specific breed of dog either had one bad experience or heard bad stuff on the news. Humans are allowed to be afraid...I'm afraid of spiders, hopefully no one faults me for that! What I hope to accomplish with this blog is to help Pit Bull and other Power Breed owners to understand that some people don't know any better than to be afraid. As dog owners we have to take our time and show the public that no one breed stands alone with behavioral issues. I hope to not only educate people who don't know the blessings our dogs bring, but also help educate people who may not know what is appropriate behavior for them and their dog. Though I don't believe Breed Specific Legislation is effective in educating the public, I do believe Potentially Dangerous Dog, Dangerous Dog, and Irresponsible Owner Legislation can not only educate, but improve public safety as well.
Please enjoy the blog, sign up for email updates, keep your filters on when commenting, and hopefully learn something new today.
To ask questions anonymously email at

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What's going on in Springfield, Missouri now?

This blog entry is going to highlight some of the things the Animal Issues Task Force accomplished over the last 3 years. After years of studying, interviewing, visiting other city shelters, attending seminars, and meetings to come up with new ways to keep our citizens and animals safer, because of the Mayor's opinion, the City Council voted a few weeks ago to dissolve the task force...I was the only Task Force member sitting in the room when they decided. I was shocked because we had simply asked to have our name changed to continue to be able to be a sounding board for advice as we move forward with the new City Shelter and the other recommendations. The Mayor made a speech that eluded to the fact that we should give other citizens a chance to voice their opinion since the "same 12 members have been on the AITF since the beginning". Not True! We have had people resign and voted new people in at least 3 times over the last 3 years. There are only 4 members that were originally on the Task Force. I know there are tons of great citizens out there, but do you really know who was on your Animal Issues Task Force over the last few years? The President of CARE, the President of the Humane Society, the President of SAAFEHouse, a former City Council member, two different City contracted Veterinarians, Biologists, a Professional Dog Trainer specializing in behavior, Cat behavior professionals, Attorneys, citizens, and many more! We called in AC officers, professionals in shelter protocol and animal behavior from around the United States, and contractors. We volunteered our time and now the Mayor dissolved the whole thing and wants to start over!? The new Task Force is now going to have to relearn what we already know, and continue where we left off. Does this make sense to you? Seems like a waste of tax-payer money to me. I know that when I find a good professional in any field, that can help me with my business, I stick with them, I don't spend my non existent abundance of time trying to find another person to start over with! I just hope that the dissolution of the Task Force doesn't only come down to this...

Clay Goddard, Kevin Gibson, Randy Barnts, Mayor Stephens, and many others wanting to work towards their agenda...Whether this means retirement, their opinion of social status, MONEY, the fact that the BSL might get repealed, or any other agenda that doesn't reflect what the citizens want but what they want!

Thank you to everyone who helped the City of Springfield come this far. I appreciate all of the progress we have made. It's funny, in a not-so-funny way how politics can get in the way of progress! I feel, as a citizen, that I was taken for granted and disrespected... and I'm sure other former AITF members feel the same.

Animal Issues Task Force and other professional's Accomplishments:

In October the new ordinances for Dangerous/Vicious/Reckless legislation was passed by City Council. Here is a short video explaining this ordinance. Springfield's Updated Nuisance and Restricted Dog Ordinance

The AITF also passed an ordinance restricting the tethering of a dog. There are exceptions such as time limits, so don't panic those of you who are "responsible owners". You can check out the Greene County Health Department page for updates and the final draft of the ordinance.

Parking Lot Animal Sales No More! Here is the ordinance we proposed that got passed!

The City Council has voted to revisit the Breed Specific Legislation in the next 12 months. I will tell you that as long as we have this Mayor, I am not confident in the City Council will able to come to their own conclusion and vote accordingly. The Mayor doesn't believe Pit Bulls are a normal dog...He has made it clear he believes they are "Rabid Dogs"...of course that is from the words he used to describe the people who love their Pit Bulls..."Rabid Dog Lovers". All I ask is that each City Council member listens to ALL sides before they vote the Breed Specific Legislation here in our city. It is not effective, costs more money than it makes, and charges money to those citizens who are responsible....and the few citizens who get "caught". I know there is at least one Council Member that is afraid of "bigger dogs". This is just one example of why I hope the Council is willing to get informed and notices that the new Dangerous/Vicious/Reckless is way more effective than the Pit Bull ordinance we currently have in place. The City panicked 8 years we are more informed and have so much more data. Look at the numbers...why are they different? Ask questions...don't listen to people tell "stories" to put their twist on statistics...take note of the FACTS! And citizens...stand up to politicians that don't have OUR interests at heart!


The following was Mayor Stephen's new resolution about the NEW Task Force!

Charge: The Animal Issues Task Force will exist for one year following its formal establishment and be charged with the following:

� Serve as a "sounding board" for City Council's Plans & Policies Committee as it researches and addresses the issue of breed-specific language within the City's ordinances.

� After six months of it being enacted, analyze the effectiveness of the Nuisance and Vicious Dog ordinance passed by City Council on September 28, 2015 and provide a written evaluation to City Council's Plans & Policies Committee shortly thereafter.

� Be on stand-by for any other animal-related issues City Council votes to refer to the Task Force for evaluation during its year of existence.

� This iteration of the Animal Issues Task Force will not be asked to address any topic the first Animal Issues Task Force has already addressed via its report to City Council.

Process: The Office of Public Information will solicit members from the general public for the new Animal Issues Task Force. There will be twelve members of the new Task Force. Up to three members of the original Animal Issues Task Force are eligible to be re-appointed to the new Task Force, but the intention is to appoint a majority of new members to the Task Force. Membership of the Task Force will be selected by City Council's Public Involvement Committee once a sufficiently sized and diverse pool of applications has been received by the City Clerk.

Isn't this what the dissolved Task Force was already doing?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Task Force Recommendations were presented to City Council

Do you have roaming dogs in your neighborhood? Do you have a neighbor that wont keep track of his dogs? How many times have you been chased by dogs while trying to enjoy an evening stroll with your four legged family member? 

The Animal Issues Task Force and Greene County Health Department FINALLY got to present their final draft of their Nuisance Dog, Dangerous/Vicious Dog, Reckless Owner (NDVR)policy to City Council at the meeting September 14th! It took two and a half years, but they are going to vote on the bill at the next meeting!

Why do we need this bill passed? Because it puts the focus on the animal owner! It's time Springfield steps up with the changing times and has legislation that is based off scientifically and physically proven legislation. Human and dog physiology have come a long way in the last ten years. Lets use that knowledge to create a safer city! We have all heard the saying, "It's how the dog is raised". Well, I do believe that to be mostly true, but if we don't put the blame for the bad management and training somewhere besides on the dog, this problem isn't going to get any better. 

Does this get rid of the Breed Specific Legislation in Springfield? Unfortunately, no. However, I am confident that this legislation will show the citizens of Springfield and City Council that it can keep citizens safe all on it's own. The NDVR will prove itself worthy in just months. I haven't heard of one city enacting legislation similar and going back to BSL. It is waaaay more time and cost effective to focus energy on offenders and not our law abiding citizens.

Here is the extremely short version of the NDVR

Here is a good article on debunking the myth of the Pit Bull jaw being anatomically different than other K-9's

Monday, August 24, 2015

What is going on with the BSL in Springfield now?

The last few months I have attended a few Plans and Policies Committee meetings and last week I attended another Animal Issues Task Force meeting. In all meetings we discussed the piece of legislation that gives Animal Control and Judges a more definitive way to assess situations with Nuisance Dogs, Dangerous/Vicious Dogs, and Reckless Owners (NDVR). The following is the final draft sent to the Council back in 2013. There are a few things that have been amended, due to legal issues, over the last few months, but nothing big.

So what IS going on in Springfield right now???

* First and foremost: There is nothing currently being decided on when it comes to Springfield's current BSL. 

*The City Council meeting on September 14th will have the NDVR legislation on the agenda. As far as I understand the Plans and Policies Committee will be presenting the document to the rest of the City Council. I believe they can take time to look it over it and vote later, or vote on it that evening. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION! The AITF and other city officials worked many hours to make this perfect for our city. If anyone wants clarification please feel free to email me at and I will elaborate as much as anyone needs. 
 I will be at this meeting as well as most of the rest of the Task Force. Please come and support us in an appropriate manner. 

*The NDVR legislation is built as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It will work with or without the current Pit Bull ordinance. My hope, and many others' hope, is that this will undergo a trial period to show citizens, city officials, and those opposed to repealing the BSL that it will cover all breeds of dogs, thus keeping everyone safer than our current ordinance does. At the end of the trial period, hopefully it will be discussed as to whether or not the BSL is still needed.

*A great ordinance was discovered this month, by Clay Goddard, when talking with some officials in Joplin, MO. The AITF has been discussing different Anti-Tethering ordinances for a while now. This one is very plain and simple. After the initial mess the AC will have do deal with, this is built to completely end tethering in Springfield! As someone who specializes in dog behavior this made me want to dance in my seat at the meeting! I know many others that will be relieved if this is approved by the City Council. Here it is!


If you haven't checked out this website below, it has great information for adults and kids. Let's all become aware of the signs dogs give us BEFORE they bite!


Please take the time to read all of my post from over the years. There is a great amount of dog behavior information on my blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Last Pit Bull Decision for the Current City Council!

Tonight Burlison and Ruschefsky voted "yes" to repeal the Breed Specific wording in our Dangerous/ Vicious dog legislation the City of Springfield currently has. However, the rest of the council voted "no". Mayor Stephens stated that he would vote against it because the new legislative pieces are not currently in place. Doug tried to explain that there would be plenty of time for the BSL language to be replaced with the proposal from the Health Department (and the Animal Issues Task Force...) for the new Dangerous/Vicious, Reckless Owner, and Nuisance Dog Legislation pieces, and that it would work with no lag time. Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough.

The second Pit Bull item the City Council passed. This saved at least 6 of the 8 Pit Bull type dogs currently residing in the City Pound. It says that the city and the rescues came to an agreement on a contract in which the rescue will hold a ridiculous 1 million dollar liability policy for the Pit Bulls they pull. I am glad there was at least one rescue that could afford to deal with the Health Department that will never admit they were wrong. ***2,000 plus Pit Bulls dead and only 32 bites less in 6 years? That doesn't sound like progress to me. It sounds like our city killed a horribly large number of dogs, and caused an even greater amount to get dumped and shipped out of the city, and only reduced the number of bites by 32.

I do want to note that Mayor Stephens said that he would vote for this... dun dun dun... because he voted against us having chickens in Springfield city limits and has seen none of the predicted fallout. LOL Did our mayor just compare Pit Bulls to chickens? I would love to hear what he would compare cats to!

All I can think to do at this point is to  keep giving council, and those opposed, information to prove that the new legislation is more than what we currently have and will keep our citizens safe. Here are some of the most reputable organizations in the US and their stance on Breed Specific Legislation

American Bar Association


American Veterinarian Medical Association

Center For Disease Control- Apparently their stance hasn't changed since 1998? Let me know if I'm wrong.

National Canine Research Council

Pit Girl's unfiltered opinion:
I hope that the city isn't going to continue to be extremely difficult to work with when it comes to other rescues. I know there are rescues out there that are difficult to deal with, but there are more good than bad. I don't understand why the City of Springfield gets to say that only two rescues are good enough for them. There are many rescues in town doing way more than the city will ever be able to do without help. This is a group effort, and until the Health Department, certain AC professionals, and City Officials learn to work together or go away, we are going to continue to keep hitting these brick walls over and over. I am not currently proud of my City at this point...I hope it starts to turn since there has been all of these public awareness efforts lately. I also hope that the City Council understands now how little they know of what goes on behind the scenes. The answers that Kevin Gipson gave were in fact not all true, but I'm not going to argue with him because that would make him look like he was a person that didn't know what he was talking about when he is in a position to make decisions and recommendations to our City Council. Hehe

At this point, I'm just waiting to see if any of these "citizens" speaking out are going to help with the fostering of any of these dogs...or if they're just here for their own "oh so sweet Pit Bull". That may have offended some people, but I certainly hope it lights a fire under them, we need all the help we can get fostering dogs.

***My strongest fight against BSL still continues to be that...Pit Bulls are a "Type" of dog. In my 20 years of learning about dogs, I have seen too many dogs bred together that come out looking pit and are not. I have seen way too many DNA tests, that are not admissible in court, come out saying dogs that definitely "look pit" are cattle dog, or rat terrier, or border collie...


Oh! and by the way! I haven't ever heard of a BSL being repealed... and then being put back into effect...prove me wrong?

Check out this video of a 14 year old Pit Bull, originally bred for fighting by an irresponsible owner, and now living with a responsible owner!
BSL at work in Springfield Mo

Monday, March 23, 2015


 Burlison tried to get the Pit Bull Ordinance on the next agenda for the last City Council Meeting with this council. There were only five council members present. He was supported by Hosmer, but the bill did not get voted through. Such a sad thing, for those on council for so many years, that supported the repeal. 

This is the first time in a long time that I have felt we have made some progress! I went to a Plans and Policies Committee meeting on Friday the 20th. When walking out of the meeting I was almost in shock because something was accomplished....

The Reckless Owner, Nuisance Dog, and Dangerous/ Vicious Dog Legislation was presented to the committee in an easy to understand format by Clay Goddard, Assistant Director of Health. With only one time limit change and a few questions, the committee passed the Task Force's recommendations on all three pieces. Some of the questions revolved around whether or not the punishments would be too harsh, and the consensus was that these ordinances are only needed to be enforced if the human and/or dog are causing themselves to be put on Animal Control's radar. Other questions were about the behavior of the dog and why Ian Dunbar's Bite Scale is used so widely by trainers, behaviorists, and animal controls over the world.

This was the first time I felt that City Council was taking our years of work on the Animal Issues Task Force seriously. There was a tremendous amount of time taken to research and analyze other cities shelters, animal controls, ordinances, and behaviorist's studies. I definitely felt that all the hard work had been taken for granted until Friday.

The meeting was ended after a comment from Cindy Ruschefsky. I can't quote it exactly, but the gist of  it was that, "It will be nice to see how the new legislation works. When we see that it is working for all breeds it will help ease the minds of those who still find it hard to think of repealing the Pit Bull Ordinance".

So, what now?
With the legislations being passed by the committee, they have been sent to legal to be written into the proper language and will be put before the Council. The council will then decide whether to adopt these pieces of legislation  in place of the BSL or in addition to the BSL.

The "unofficial petition"
This is the petition I decided to put out around the Springfield Area in the last few weeks. An "unofficial petition" is one that does not have to be approved by council and can be signed by anyone that is effected or has an opinon about the petition subject. After the petition is presented to Council, then we will see if we think it is necessary to start an official one. I decided to start this unofficial petition after taking advice from many people with City and State experience, and people with BSL Repeal experience. This is not an effort to start controversy, it is an effort to show how much support there really is out there. We have to work together to show our city officials, who we vote for, that we are not going to sit idly by and get ignored, and that we are educated and informed. Thank you to all of the citizens showing up to the council meetings and city events. We have to continue working together for our common goals!

The amount of support the Repeal Petition has received has been amazing! I was going to collect the petitions by Thursday last week, but this was not the time to present them to the committee. So let's continue collecting! If you want to sign the petition, or want a copy for your family and friends to sign, or even one to put at your place of business, just email me at I will let everyone know by blog and my Facebook page when they are due to be collected.

Small steps are better than no steps!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pushing Forward Toward the Repeal of BSL in Springfield, Mo!

***Update...The bill was tabled.

As most of you know, Councilman Doug Burlison made an announcement this week that he will present a bill at Monday March 9th's City Council meeting that would repeal language that targets pit bulls, and leave the city's vicious animal ordinance in place for all breeds. This does not mean that it will be voted on any time soon, although we can still hope for it being looked at in a timely manner.

What do we need to do in the meantime?

*Continue to show our support by showing up at the City Council meetings and acting appropriate. 

*Keep your friends, colleagues, and the news media outlets informed on all of the new updates.

*Call and write your council members and/or send them emails in support of removing this antiquated ban.

*Learn what the Pit Bull Ordinance really says.

*Join us in getting an "unofficial" petition signed with as many supporters of the repeal as possible! 

This was recommended to me by multiple people in influential positions at both the city and the state level. It would be best to have signatures from Springfield voters, but because it is unofficial we can get signatures from any people, over 18, effected by the Springfield BSL that live in and around the Springfield area. Please email to find a place to sign the petition or to get a copy of the petition so that you can have your friends, family, and co-workers sign. 

Remember to keep the questions coming in!
Thank you all for your support!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Celebration time? Not yet!

Cindy Rushefsky just announced that as of Friday February 20th Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes will be adoptable to rescues as long as they pass the temperament test the other breeds of dogs currently go through!
I fear there is a catch....

Don't stop now guys! 8 years later....we will get a repeal!!!!!

So, let me tell you all a story...
A few months after we started the Animal Issues Task Force we were told to stop by the city pound and spend the day with an officer. This would show us the deplorable conditions the dogs have to stay in and the officers have to work in, and help us come up with a plan to present to city council...well, you know what happened up til now because you can read the minutes and my blog entries, but I'm gonna tell you about my ride along day...

I got to spend the morning with a great officer that was also a past EMT and fireman. He spoke nice to me and informed me of many things I did not know. I got to go to a couple of houses where he talked to people, mostly socially stunted (for lack of a better term) people that were extremely upset to have AC at their door. Now, I have had good and bad run-ins with AC over the years, and I attribute some of the bad run-ins to my "strong personality", but all in all I believe I have been treated with least to my face. However, my day didn't just entail seeing people make fools of themselves and seeing dogs that were scared and unhappy to be in doggy jail. I got sent on a ride-along to the dump.....Yes folks, Randy Barnts decided to change the officer that was doing the carcass run, to the officer that I was with. I got to ride, to the dump, in an S-10 full of dead cats and pit bulls! Now...I'm not usually a very quiet person when someone tries to stomp on me, but I chose to keep quiet and go in the stinky truck. We took the drive to the dump up north, and I sat in the S-10 watching as the officer picked up trash bags full of dead cats and PIT BULLS THAT NEVER HURT ANYONE and throw them into the pile of stinky trash. Yes, I understand that's where some animals go after they die (frankly I cremate mine), but it showed me that Randy had a huge lack of compassion toward these dogs and me if he thought he was making a smart@@@ decision when he sent me on this trip. He knew of me and my work with Pit Bulls, but was only able to prove one point to me. It was that he is a close minded person that didn't deserve to be running an animal welfare facility..... I was quiet on the ride back to the shelter...

Questions to ask yourselves...

-Did we really have a win tonight....Maybe.

-Are we going to be pacified by this decision....No!

-Are we going to show up at the City Council meetings until someone actually looks at the legislation the AITF proposed....Yes, at least some are.

-Are we going to educate the public about dog behavior, dog bite statistics, and BSL...Yes!

-Is the city going to make it extremely hard for rescues to pull the pit bulls out of the pound...Probably.

-Are we going away because we got a bread crumb....No Randy, Clay, and Kevin!!!! No we are not going away!


Contact me if you have any questions about Breed Specific Legislation!
Carrie Galvan
Springfield Side Kick Dog Training

Anonymous questions

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Is it possible to take a step back at this point?

City Council Meeting January 26th at 6:30 pm

I am attending this City Council meeting, but have not yet decided whether or not to speak. I just want to jot down a few of my thoughts on this subject...

1) I hope that everyone who attends these city meetings, no matter how upset and passionate about the BSL subject, will show up and act in an appropriate manner. We are going to make no headway if we build a wall between "us and them".

2) If people are speaking, remember to keep personal stories, about their beloved pit bulls, out of their speeches. What we need now are facts and professionals that know what they are talking about, and for the citizens to take the time to learn about what they do not know....preferably before speaking.

3) We all need to focus on keeping the person liable for the dog's behavior, especially if it is repeated behavioral issues. Unfortunately, bites happen...but attacks shouldn't. People need to take the time to educate themselves on the body language of dogs. Here are some starting places...

4) We need to educate people on proper dog-dog behavior, proper human-dog behavior, and the real facts behind the statics.

5) Instead of blaming dog owners and city matter what side of the fence you sit on...understand their concerns and find a happy medium. Some people don't love dogs, believe it or not! In fact I know one person on the city council (the Mayor) that is a "cat" person.....

6) AND ABOVE ALL... Stand proud with your dog, even if it is a PIT BULL! And continue to socialize them, train them, raise them with your families, and show the world how great an animal they are when given the chance to shine!

There is a link to the legislation proposed to the City Council in 2014 on the right of this blog page...Here we go!!!