A bill has been filed in the North Carolina House of Representatives that would restrict the ownership of several breeds of dogs.
HB 956, a bill to “Regulate Ownership of Aggressive Dog Breeds,” proposes an amendment to North Carolina’s dog laws that would impose restrictions on the following breeds and “dogs that are predominantly of any of the following breeds:”
pit bull, which are defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier
The following are the requirements proposed to own one of the targeted dogs:
-Submission to a criminal background check
-Enrollment in “a course of instruction of no less than four hours duration provided by the Humane Society of the United States, or any of the rescue organizations for any of the aggressive dog breeds as defined in subsection (a) of this section that is designed to educate the owners of these dogs about their temperament and about the requirements for responsible ownership of the breed”
-A person must notify their insurance carrier, if any, of compliance with the other provisions
-A person must obtain a special permit from the Department of Insurance
Once again, we have a piece of legislation that fails to outline, in the case of mixed breed dogs, what the standard is to prove a dog is one of the listed breeds or mixes.
Also notable is the lack of definition of what constitutes a “mastiff.” There are roughly 20 separate breeds that are considered mastiffs.
The question must be raised as to who will be developing a curriculum for these classes people are supposed to take. Who determines exactly what constitutes the requirements for responsible ownership of one breed over another? Who will pay for developing this program?
In an interview, the bills sponsor Representative Rodney Moore was quoted saying, “It’s just to let people take responsibility for owning those breeds. Because they’re good dogs, all of them. But they have the potential.”
Representative Moore is clearly concerned about both the dogs and his community but this particular piece of legislation is a misdirected attempt at forcing responsibility on some people, while allowing lax care from others. All dog owners need to be held to the same standard. By creating special standards for one breed over another, we alienate good owners and create a false sense of security when it comes to other dogs. A gross disparity in the expected care and control of dogs invariably fails the community as a whole.
The financial impact of breed discriminatory laws is something that cannot be ignored. According to Best Friends Animal Society’s fiscal calculator, the estimated cost of enforcing this type of legislation for pit bulls only would be over $14,000,000 a year. This does not factor in the cost of enforcing this for all the other dogs listed.
North Carolina Residents: Please reach out now to your Representatives to ask them to oppose HB 956. Also, politely and professionally, reach out to Rep. Rodney Moore and the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Larry Pittman, to ask that this bill be withdrawn.
You can find your specific representatives on the states website.
Representative Rodney Moore: Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net
Representative Larry Pittman: Larry.Pittman@ncleg.net