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People living in a Lexington neighborhood were notified last week that several dog breeds, including pit bulls, Great Danes and huskies, were being banned.
Homeowners in McConnell’s Trace were sent letters by the neighborhood developer detailing a change in an existing dog restriction, which previously referred only to unspecified “aggressive breeds,” said Josh McCurn, president of the area’s neighborhood association. Now German shepherds, St. Bernards and chows are among the list of 11 dog breeds restricted from the neighborhood.
McConnell’s Trace sits across Leestown Road from Masterson Station Park.
McCurn said the homeowner’s association did not have a vote on the restrictions and did not “write the language.”
Since the memo was sent out, McCurn said he has heard from those who don't have pets, don’t have dogs or don’t want to be restricted in what kind of dog they can have.
“I've heard it from both ends of the spectrum,” McCurn said.
The developer for McConnell’s Trace, Anderson Properties, could not immediately be reached for comment.
“As the president, I’ve reached out to the neighbors and said I would be happy to have a one to one sit-down with them ... and relay any message to the developer,” McCurn said.
There is also a semi-annual meeting for the McConnell’s Trace Neighborhood Association scheduled in late May, according to the association’s Facebook page.
McCurn himself owns a Doberman and two other dogs, but said that to his understanding current animals and their owners would be grandfathered in.
According to the deed of restrictions for McConnell’s Trace Subdivision, the banned breeds are as follows:
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
- Pit Bulls (including American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and “any dogs containing characteristics of these breeds”)
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Great Danes
- St. Bernards
Shannon Smith, the founder of pit bull advocacy group Lexington Pit Crew, said breed restrictions are disheartening.
Smith said that issues with “bully breeds” such as pit bulls and rottweilers often are the result of human error, particularly by the owner of the dog. She admits that pit bulls and pit bull mixes are strong dogs and said that their owners have to be willing to work and train them.
“You have to be on top of your game,” Smith said. “If you have a bully breed, you do have to watch it because regardless of the situation, you’re going to be to blame.”
As for the reported ban on such breeds in McConnell’s Trace, Smith said these kinds of restrictions can also impact dogs that aren’t pit bulls or pit bull mixes at all.
“We started slapping names on dogs with big square heads, but there’s no telling without a DNA test what kind of dog they are,” Smith said. She’s repeatedly seen other mix-breed dogs, including boxer mixes, be misidentified as being full or part pit bull.
As the owner of two pit bull mixes, Smith said she has to be aware of potential bans anytime she thinks of moving.
“I’d like to think that Lexington is above that,” Smith said. “But here I sit talking to you about a neighborhood implementing a ban.”