WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A beloved pet among many Wichitans is the pit bull. The dog breed also happens to be one of the most regulated animals in the City.

According to the City of Wichita, the definition of a pit bull means any and all of the following dogs:

  • The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs
  • The American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs
  • Dogs which have the appearance and physical characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of dogs known as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier

Also according to the City of Wichita, a dog that possesses five out of the following eight characteristics shall be considered to be a pit bull:

  • Head is medium length, with a broad skull and very pronounced cheek muscles, a wide, deep muzzle, a well-defined, moderately deep stop, and strong under jaw. Viewed from the front the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge.
  • Eyes are round to almond shaped, are low in the skull and set far apart.
  • Ears are set high. Un-cropped ears are short and usually held rose or half prick, though some hold them at full prick.
  • Neck is heavy and muscular, attached to strong, muscular shoulders.
  • Body is muscular, with a deep, broad chest, a wide front, deep brisket, well-sprung ribs, and slightly tucked loins.
  • Tail is medium length and set low, thick at the base, tapering to a point.
  • Hindquarters are well muscled, with hocks, set low on the legs.
  • Coat is a single coat, smooth, short and close to the skin. Pit bull puppies have the same characteristics, though in juvenile or adolescent form. Muscles, along with breadth and depth of head and chest may be less developed. Specifically excepted from this definition is any dog with proof, by a written certification from a veterinarian licensed by the State of Kansas, that the dog does not contain in its lineage any American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

If you disagree with the determination that a dog is a pit bull by the Chief of Police or designee, you can appeal it.

In Wichita’s code of ordinances, under title 6 Animals, chapter 6.04 Animal Control and Protection, section 6.04.052 Restrictions on the ownership of Pit Bulls, (b), “It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor an adult unaltered pit bull, unless such person is licensed as a dog breeder pursuant to section 6.04.155.”

Unaltered means a female dog that is not spayed or a male dog that is not neutered.

So, the answer to “Does your pit bull legally have to be altered in Wichita?” is yes, unless:

  • The pit bull is a puppy
  • You are a licensed dog breeder
  • The pit bull is only temporarily in Wichita for a dog show sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, the Wichita Kennel Club or the Dog Breeders Association, or unless otherwise recognized by the Chief of Police or designee
  • A veterinarian licensed by the State of Kansas deems that sterilization would be injurious due to the dog’s health or age
  • The unaltered pit bull was located in Wichita before July 1, 2009, and such dog was being utilized as a service dog to accommodate an individual with a disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act

After a pit bull puppy is born, the owner has six months to microchip and surgically sterilize the animal, or apply for a breeder’s license. Even as a licensed breeder in Wichita, you cannot own, keep or harbor more than two unaltered adult pit bulls.

For information on becoming a licensed dog breeder in Wichita, click here.

“All adult pit bulls within the City of Wichita are required to have an identification microchip implanted in the dog traceable to the current owner and registered with the City of Wichita. Such microchip information shall be included in the dog’s annual license application with the City of Wichita,” pursuant to section 6.04.052 (a). The owner of the pit bull must pay all costs associated with the microchip procedure.

Anyone who fails to comply with the requirements of section 6.04.052 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

For more information and to read the entirety of section 6.04.052 Restrictions on ownership of Pit Bulls, click here.