Clay Center Lifts Pitbull Ban; Espy Finds Her Forever Home

By Payton Tholstrup

After many years, Clay Center has officially repealed the Pitbull ban. Previously, pits were not allowed within city limits, meaning CCARE couldn’t adopt any pits out to families in Clay Center.

“The largest change since the repeal is that CCARE can now assist Pitbulls and families of Pitbulls in our community much more efficiently,” John Rieb Jr., shelter manager of CCARE, shared. He went on to explain that CCARE can now adopt Pitbulls locally, meaning adopters have more choices on what dog they can choose to adopt.

Thanks to the ban being lifted, Espy, a pit mix at CCARE, found her forever home right here in Clay Center. Estimated to be about 2.5-3 years old, Espy was originally found in Abilene as a stray in December of 2023 and was brought to CCARE in January of 2024.

Espy now spends her days with her new mom, who works from home. She is excellent with other dogs and has bonded well with their first pup, Willow. Espy is still in the puppy stages of her life and has a quirky personality, often laying on her back and moving her legs like she’s riding a bicycle. She is also very vocal and will have conversations with them.

Espy adores her new family’s sons, ages nine and four. Both her and Willow demonstrate just how caring the breed can be. “They say the pit bull terrier breeds are like nanny dogs, and I truly believe that because when a child is crying, they will stop and go to whoever is upset and show that they care,” her owner said. That is one of her favorite things about the breed, adding that they are very misunderstood. “I truly believe it is how you raise the dog and treat the dog.”

While CCARE didn’t play a large role in the repeal, they have advocated for pit bull terriers through community education and awareness, actively supporting the ban being lifted. “It has been a long time coming and this goes to show the progress our community is making,” Rieb said.

There are no more breed-specific stipulations in Clay Center and the ordinance is now for vicious or aggressive dogs of any breed. There is also a 3-strike rule for reckless owners to hold them accountable.

Clay Center isn’t the first community to lift the ban. Many cities in Kansas have repealed their own ban in recent years, including Junction City, who lifted theirs in 2020. Lifting bans like these means dogs like Espy will have a better chance at finding their new family.

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