Johnny Denney’s family has lived in their Planeview neighborhood home for 29 years, long enough for the rose of Sharon bush out front to set down deep roots and send out a tower of magenta blooms.
But because of a neighbor’s aggressive dog, they have become prisoners in their own home, Denney says. He is 65, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and has a knee replacement. He carries an aluminum bat when he goes outside. He has stared down the WHITE PIT BULL while gripping the bat, after it has repeatedly lunged at him or tried to tear through a front-porch gate to get to his 83-year-old mother, he said. They fear for their pet Yorkie even when it is in the fenced yard because the pit bull is big enough to leap over.
“We shouldn’t have to live like this,” Denney said Friday morning, newly frustrated after seeing the white pit running loose again. He said he has called 911 several times, but each time Wichita animal control officers told him they were unable to find the dog or that it was in an enclosure when they spotted it or that they couldn’t find the owner.
Denney’s frustration isn’t unique. The city animal control unit has limited staffing, and they
respond to thousands of calls a year. At most, the city has three animal control officers citywide per shift, but usually it’s one or two officers, said Wichita police Lt. Steve Kenney, who oversees animal control.
The legal process
Pit bull siege
Denney said that the white pit bull, which he estimated at “a good 75 pounds,” showed up
outside his house and tore up a lattice gate to the front porch as it snarled at his 83-year-old mother. The pit bull didn’t appear to have tags. A city ordinance sets specific requirements for pit bulls, including that they be sterilized and have a microchip for identification. Pit bull breeders have exemptions, but very few people qualify for a breeder’s license.