Cited in Marmer, supra at n. 62. 1067, 1067-1068 (1984). In the United States and in other countries, some governments completely ban residents from owning specific breeds of dogs. 22 Accurate information on dog bites and the proportion of bites to breeds is difficult to determine at best, because accurate statistics would require "comprehensive reports of all bites, reliable breed identification, and detailed information about the demographics of the entire dog population of the area in question. 20 Mike Puffer and Dave Ferman, Clamping Down on Vicious Dogs, THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, Mar. The statute regulates dog behavior, rather than the identified breed of dog. Despite this, the long standing BSL in Denver was allowed to remain under a “home rule” exemption that essentially leaves regulating animals within the powers of the city. This type of legislation is usually enacted by local municipal or county governments and operates under the presumption that certain physical characteristics make some breeds of dogs more dangerous than others. Diane Blackman, Practicality of Breed Specific Legislation in Reducing or Eliminating Dog Attacks on Humans and Dogs (1995), available at http://www.dog-play.com/pitbull.html (last visited on March 10, 2001). The debate is ongoing, but the laws and regulations impacting "dangerous" breeds seem to fluctuate continually, and those restrictions differ in jurisdictions across the nation. Specificity aids enforcement and understanding of what is necessary to comply. Upon investigation, the author concludes BSL is not an effective means of regulating canine behavior in communities. We, the undersigned, petition the President, Senate and Congress of the United States, to draft and pass federal legislation banning Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). 24 Until more extensive statistical studies, using comprehensive counts of dogs and reliable breed identification, can be conducted, dog bite study results will not be certain enough to form the foundation for BSL, and even then the wisdom of BSL is suspect. Breed Specific Legislation in the United States. 10 In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a legislative committee is considering a bill that would allow Broward County locales to ban specific breeds of dogs from public areas. While proponents of BSL claim that it will reduce dog bite incidents, long-term studies show that BSL is not effective. (iii) An animal that is responding in a manner that an ordinary and reasonable person would conclude was designed to protect a person if that person is engaged in a lawful activity or is the subject of an assault. 46 Lynn, 533 N.E.2d at 647 . (ii) An animal that bites or attacks a person who provokes or torments the animal. Society’s view on pit bulls are changing, as are the perceptions that certain breed characteristics signal danger. As such, pit bulls were labeled aggressive, powerful and often attacking unprovoked. Courts often hold that for a dog owner to be liable under a common law rule regarding dangerous dogs (based on behavior, not breed), the owner must have known that the dog was "vicious" or had a "vicious propensity," and that if the owner had no knowledge or reason to know that the dog could be vicious, she could not be held liable for any resultant injury. Entire organizations have been formed solely to challenge BSL. Nearly all the laws, when implemented, included a "grandfather clause" which allowed current owners of the specified breeds to keep their dogs, but prohibited any prospective acquisitions or breeding. [P]it bull dogs possess a strongly developed "kill instinct" not shared by other breeds of dogs . BSL identifies a dog as "dangerous" based upon its breed alone and not based on any action or offense that the individual dog has ever committed. As mentioned, BSL has been around in some form for over thirty years. 35 Ohio, on the other hand, has specifically pointed to "pit bulls" as vicious dogs per se . Whether even an expert can adequately identify a mixed breed dog is itself subject to controversy. Strongly enforced dog control laws such as leash laws, generic guidelines for dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all positive ways to protect communities from dangerous dogs. . 11, 2001, at http://enquirer.com/editions/2001/02/16/tem_clamping_down_on.html . This has inevitably led to conflict, litigation, and protest from dog owners and breed advocates. CODE § 8-55(a) (2001). Statutes and Ordinances Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is defined as a law or statute that equates the qualities of a dangerous dog with a certain breed, and bans or restricts certain breeds based on identity, not behavior of a specific animal. A number of breeds have been restricted or banned, including Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Bull Terriers ("Pit Bulls"), Chow Chows, German Shepherd Dogs, and Doberman Pinschers, and the list is growing. It has wasted tax-payer dollars, misguided animal control departments, and continued discrimination against these dogs and those who own them. Supporters of BSL argue that restrictions like these are necessary to shield the public from vicious dog attacks. List of States that Prohibit Local Governments from Enacting BSL, Rebecca F. Wisch, Animal Legal & Historical Center (2017). Such numbers are often unreliable since compliance with local dog licensing or registration requirements is usually below 20% in most U.S. communities. 14 These organizations argue that the constitutional rights of the dogs' human companions are being violated by the application of special restrictions to certain dog breeds, in the absence of any injury or illegal conduct on the part of either the dogs or the dogs' owners. Ordinances outlawing pit bulls have at times clashed with disability rights by discriminating against owners with service dogs of a certain breed. BSL should be replaced with behavior-based regulations and sanctions if communities wish to effectively control the potential for canine aggression and encourage owner responsibility. Breed specific laws have been ruled unconstitutional and continue to be challenged in several court cases across the United States. 18. Unfortunately, large breeds of dogs such as Dobermans, German Shepherd Dogs, and Pit Bulls are popularly believed to be dangerous, and therefore may be judged more severely by judges than smaller, "cuddlier" breeds. 5 Marner, at 1069. 32. Sign this petition 30 CHARTER TWP. Banning a breed or declaring it inherently vicious punishes those responsible dog owners who are the type of citizens that communities need to keep, not drive away. 13 The American Dog Owners Association opposes bans on "dangerous breeds," including those affecting Rottweilers. By regulating the behavior, state and local officials can be most effective in using their resources to keep their communities safe from truly "dangerous dogs," without infringing on the freedoms of dog owners whose animals are singled out solely because of an American Kennel Club designation. Although such bans might comfort individuals who have had unpleasant experiences with particular breeds or have heard of attacks by specific dog breeds in the media, the bans do not act to effectively regulate the behavior of any breed or of dogs and their owners collectively. For example, Michigan's state statutes define a "dangerous animal" as: [A] dog or other animal that bites or attacks a person, or a dog that bites or attacks and causes serious injury or death to another dog while the other dog is on the property or under the control of its owner. Investigation of Maquoketa's Pit Bull Ban Ordinance and Enforcement, Overview of Breed-Specific Local Ordinances, Summary of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): Denver's Ban as a Case Study, Breed-Specific Legislation in the United States, The Post-Conviction Remedy for Pit Bulls: What Today’s Science Tells Us About Breed-Specific Legislation, Breed Specific Legislation: The Gap in Emergency Preparedness Provisions for Household Pets, Pit Bull Bans and the Human Factors Affecting Canine Behavior, Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won't Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma, Dog-Focused Law's Impact on Disability Rights: Ontario's Pit Bull Legislation as a Case in Point, The Case Against Dog Breed Discrimination By Homeowners' Insurance Companies, Breed Specific Legislation: Unfair Prejudice and Ineffective Policy, List of States that Prohibit Local Governments from Enacting BSL, Pleadings for City and County of Denver v. State of Colorado, DogsBite.org - Breed-specific laws state-by-state. Breed specific legislation or as it is often called, BSL, is a law that bans or restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance or breed in an effort to decrease dog â¦ 40 Id., at 759 . Local governments calmed the fears of the public by passing legislation banning all pit bulls. 1989). 27 Rott-n-Chatter, Breed Specific Legislation Page, at http://www.rott-n-chatter.com/rottweilers/laws/breddspecific.html . In one form or another, BSL is still present in many U.S. cities and counties. Concerned dog lovers are encouraged to serve on or start animal control advisory boards to monitor problems and help develop reasonable solutions to dangerous dog issues. . OF WATERFORD, MICH., CODE OF ORDINANCES ch. Finally, the OVDO urges the education of the community's children about responsible dog ownership and treatment, in order to prevent dog behavior problems before they start. 8, 2001, at http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/California/stories/doglaw_20010308.htm . 32 NORTH LITTLE ROCK MUN. 1 Lynn Marner, Comment: The New Breed of Municipal Dog Control Laws: Are They Constitutional? 2 The regulation applied to several breeds, collectively identified as pit bulls. 37 Court Decisions Diane Blackman, in her article "Practicality of Breed Specific Legislation in Reducing or Eliminating Dog Attacks on Humans and Dogs," gives a concise summary of legal jurisprudence related to BSL: Breed specific legislation is probably not a practicable approach to regulation of dogs. The bill's proponents view the legislation as a means for reducing the pit bull threat, while the opponents state that the law would be unenforceable and unfair . Fla., 1989), challenged an ordinance strictly restricting ownership of pit bulls in Dade County. Whether the ordinance will be applied in a discriminatory fashion is a question that cannot be determined in the context of this pre-enforcement action." 11 Brittany Wallman, House Advances Bill Allowing Broward Cities to Ban Dog Breeds, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, Mar. at 1534 . Although states like Colorado have in a sense overruled BSL with state law, some cities still maintain their anti-pit bull laws decades later. 43 Dog Fed'n of Wisconsin v. City of South Milwaukee, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis. Ct. App. Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won't Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma, Safia Gray Hussain, 74 Fordham L. Rev. In actions challenging such ordinances, courts have found that local governments are within their right in passing BSL, as a valid exercise of police power in support of community safety. Repealing breed-specific legislation Breed-based laws are a dying trend - find out how you can fight them in your community. The general purpose of these laws is to either discourage, restrict, or prohibit certain breeds of dogs which are defined as "dangerous" within certain jurisdictions. Application of breed specific ordinances to mixed breed dogs presents both legal and practical difficulties. Breed-Specific Legislation in the United States, http://www.akc.org/love/dip/legislat/dangerous.cfm, http://www.ocregister.com/living/dog00212cci1.shtml, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/Florida/sfl-fdog21mar21.story?coll=sfla%2Dnews%2Dflorida, Dog Fed'n of Wisconsin v. City of South Milwaukee, http://www.canismajor.com/orgs/ovdo/bslho.html, http://enquirer.com/editions/2001/02/16/tem_clamping_down_on.html, http://www.canismajor.com/orgs/ovdo/bs101.html, http://www.rott-n-chatter.com/rottweilers/laws/breddspecific.html. From 1979 through 1994, attacks by dogs resulted in 279 deaths of humans in the United States (1,2). 47 Bradacs v Jiacobone, 2001 Mich. App. 48 MICH. COMP. American Dog Owners Ass'n v. Lynn, 533 N.E.2d 642, 646 (Mass. For example, a dog owner can post "Beware of Dog" signs prominently on his property, including warning symbols that are understood by non-reading young children. 44 Conversely, in a 1989 decision, a Massachusetts court found an ordinance severely restricting possession of pit bulls to be unconstitutionally vague: "If identification by breed name does not provide sufficient ascertainable standards for enforcement, then the 'definition' of "Pit Bull" in the . This site is not a law firm and cannot offer legal advice. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) is, in simple terms, a statute or regulation that is directed toward one or more specific breeds of dogs. Thesis: Breed Specific Legislation is ineffective and should be outlawed in the United States because breed identification methods are flawed, no dog breed is truly more dangerous than another, and the cost to enforce breed specific legislation is high. 42 Id., at 1543. However, a dangerous animal does not include any of the following: (i) An animal that bites or attacks a person who is knowingly trespassing on the property of the animal's owner. 31 DES MOINES, IOWA, MUNI. 8 Maggie the Goat Will Stay in City, DES MOINES REG., May 19, 1999, at 3. J. 42 The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin reviewed a lower court decision which determined that a City of South Milwaukee ordinance imposing restrictions on the ownership and keeping of "pit bulls" was valid. 2847 (April 2006). 43 The appellate court affirmed the lower court holding that the "pit bull" aspects of the ordinance were not facially invalid for vagueness or overbreadth, nor did the ordinance violate the dogs' owners' right to equal protection of the law. 47 The statute provides, in pertinent part: If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. 27 Some examples of currently active breed-specific municipal ordinances: (1) Denver, Colorado has prohibited "any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city any pit bull." 3, art. Join Katherine and 2,218 supporters today. 51 It also recognizes that proactive measures, such as education sessions which promote responsible dog ownership and provide safety information about dealing with strange dogs, can be more effective than sanctions after an attack. 12 Id. 35 FLA. STAT. The American Kennel Club (AKC), one of the most prominent canine organizations in the world, recently issued a position statement on breed-specific laws: The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly supports dangerous dog control. The court further opined that, based on research, pit bull dogs are "twice as likely to cause multiple injuries as other breeds of dogs, . Shortly after the introduction of BSL, some state legislatures responded by choosing to preempt breed bans by passing anti-BSL ordinances and outlawing regulation based on breed. In recent years, however, many state and local governments have adopted a new tactic for eliminating dog aggression. 30, (3) Des Moines, Iowa defines "vicious dog" to include the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier, and imposes stringent confinement, licensure, and control requirements (including provisions for animal seizure and disposal) upon any animals deemed "vicious" under the ordinance. Final Rule to adopt enforceable accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (28 CFR Part 35). 28 DENVER, COLO., REV. 59 Id., at 11/14. This site is not a law firm and cannot offer legal advice. Instead, the statutes tend to focus more on the dogs' and owners' conduct, and on dangerous behavior regardless of breed. Summary of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): Denver's Ban as a Case Study, Rebecca F. Wisch, Animal Legal & Historical Center (2008). 31, (4) North Little Rock, Arkansas has restricted ownership of Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, or Bull Terriers or mixes thereof by implementing a breed-specific licensure fee of $500.00 - far more than license fees for other breeds. The author discusses the current state of breed-specific legislation (BSL) in several states, examining the efficacy of each law and the application to commonly assumed "dangerous breeds" of dogs. And, in the event that a dog has caused injury or damage in the past, and the dog is sold or otherwise rehomed, the owner should notify the new owner in writing that the dog has injured or damaged in the past, so the new owner can take appropriate precautions as well. 57 Tribune News Services, Pet Liability Law Advances, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Mar. Passage of laws that are only enforced on complaint cause two problems: they create disrespect for the law if the authorities require compliance only upon complaint, and they provide ammunition for neighborhood feuds. 39 Hearn, 772 P.2d at 765 . Dog Fed'n of Wisconsin v. City of South Milwaukee, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis. Ct. App. ", Stopbsl.org: "Stop BSL seeks to halt discriminatory, ineffective, unsafe legislation; to educate the public about safe and humane treatment of dogs; to encourage responsible dog ownership; to make communities safer through education and non-breed-specific measures; and to enhance public communication and knowledge by providing a single point for access to news about breed-specific legislation and similar activities.". Overview of Breed-Specific Local Ordinances, Charlotte Walden, Animal Legal & Historical Center (2012) (includes reference to actual language of local laws). Insurance Companies, Larry Cunningham, 11 Conn. 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