Category Archives: BSL Proposed

Potential statewide BSL-Mississippi

UPDATED 1/27/2015:  We are hearing that the committee will not be bringing this bill forward to be heard.  It is unclear at this time if this is the action of the full committee or by request of the sponsor.  As of February 3rd, the bill will have passed its deadline for the committee to act and will be officially dead.  At this time we are removing contact information for the bills sponsors but will be monitoring the situation and calendars extremely closely, so that should HB 1261 be scheduled to be heard, we will be able to alert accordingly.  When we have more information or when the bill is either pulled or dead we will update here, as well as issuing a separate alert.

We are not taking the decision to remove contact information lightly and if we did not believe this was credible information, we would not have removed it.

1/25/2015-A state level alert is being issued for the state of Mississippi.

Best Friends Animal Society has discovered that a bill, House Bill 1261, has been introduced that would target dogs resembling pit bulls, including in the definition, American Bulldogs.

The language of the bill:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. The provisions of Sections 1 through 6 shall be known and may be cited as the “Mississippi Regulation of Dangerous Dogs Act.”
SECTION 2. For purposes of Sections 1 through 6 of this act, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed below, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: Dangerous dog means: 1. Any pit bull dog in a class of dogs that specifically includes the
breeds of American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog, and any other pure bred or mixed that is a combination of these breeds.

The bill creates a list of requirements for owners of dogs designated as restricted and criminal penalties for failure to meet these requirements.  Dogs must be muzzled when off the property, secured when on the property either by a kennel or tether.  The owner must place a sign on the property alerting the presence of the “dangerous dog,” keep their windows closed in a manner that the dog cannot potentially escape and a person convicted of a felony cannot own a “dangerous dog.”

One thing that stands out is the encouragement of tethering in this bill.  The bill specifies that an owner of a “dangerous dog” must  “Leash, chain, tie or tether the dog to an inanimate object other than one within a secure enclosure, such as a tree or building.

The bill gives “law enforcement officers” blanket authority to enter a person’s property in order to check that they are in compliance with the bill.

“In order to determine if there is a violation of this section, a law enforcement officer, at any time, may enter the premises where a dangerous dog is kept, or is believed to be kept, for an on-site inspection of the premises.” (emphasis mine)

This is a costly piece of legislation.  The Best Friends fiscal impact calculator estimates the expense of this piece of legislation at almost $4 and a half MILLION dollars a year.

As more and more states prohibit breed discriminatory laws, this would be a huge step back for community safety, and the rights of individuals, as well as starting a potential landslide of even more stringent forms of breed discrimination, such as bans, across the state.  We saw this effect in Ohio, when their statewide restrictions were in place.

The language of the bill in general tramples on many constitutional rights in many different ways, as well as allows dogs to be taken and killed off-hand under certain circumstances, regardless as to the actual breed or type of the dog.  As usual, we see no thought as to how these dogs will be identified and how people may contest identification, nor is there any understanding for the monumental financial strain this will put on both the state and the dogs owners.

You may view the full text of the bill here:  http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2015/pdf/HB/1200-1299/HB1261IN.pdf

Jurupa Valley California first reading of breed discriminatory spay/neuter

This Thursday, officials in Jurupa Vally, California will hold the first reading of a breed discriminatory mandatory spay/neuter law.

The move follows the passage of the county-wide measure which was passed recently in Riverside County, California.

While there are not a lot of details at this time as to the justification for the measure, it is important that residents reach out to oppose the move.

Spay/neuter is a very good thing but mandatory measures, especially those that require pediatric procedures have unintended consequences that not only effect the health and welfare of the dogs, but also have the exact opposite effect of the most commonly stated intention, decreasing shelter populations.

Mandatory spay/neuter has been shown in city after city to increase shelter populations.

The city would be far better served with extreme low-cost options, mobile clinics and community out reach.  Programs such as the Pets for Life Program show resoundingly that given the access people will come to use the provided resources but the community must be made aware that these options are out there and accessible.

Passing a law will not reach the under served communities, the places where people take dogs in off the streets or from neighbors as puppies, which is where the majority of unaltered dogs in the community come from.

If residents cannot attend this meeting, please take the time to write to the council to express opposition for a mandate and encourage community out reach and education.

Frank Johnston Higher FJohnston@JurupaValley.org
Micheal Goodland Mayor Pro-Tem MGoodland@JurupaValley.org
Brad Hancock Council Member BHancock@JurupaValley.org
Verne Lauritzen Council Member VLauritzen@JurupaValley.org
Laura Roughton Council Member LRoughton@JurupaValley.org

The meeting will take place at 7 PM  May 15th.  The meeting is held at the Former Sam’s Western Wear Building City Council Chamber, 8930 Limonite Avenue, Jurupa Valley, CA 92509 .

This is on the council agenda for consideration, item number 13.

Thank you Swaylove.org for the alert.

 

Albany Georgia passes first reading of breed discriminatory law

At last nights meeting, officials in Albany Georgia passed the first reading of an ordinance that would target “pit bulls.”

Initially some had been saying that this would be the first and only reading of the ordinance but this has turned out to not be the case.

There will be a second reading, tentatively scheduled for the middle of February, roughly one month after the first reading.

An interesting thing to note is that Commissioner Marietta, who had initially brought this forward, abstained from voting at last nights meeting.  He stated that he felt there were issues with the proposed ordinance that needed to be addressed and wanted more time, and a second review of the ordinance.

He also noted the many failures of breed discriminatory laws at last nights meeting.

“In fact some cities have tried it and it doesn’t work but since my colleagues are intent on passing something, I just thought that it would be wise to moderate it a little bit so that the average homeowner would be bankrupted by a dog ordinance,” said Marietta. full story

The current ordinance imposes several restrictions on owners of targeted dog.  They would have to register the dog with the police department, maintain either a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000 or a surety bond of at least $15,000 and meet confinement requirements.

According to the Best Friends Animal Society fiscal impact calculator a breed discriminatory ordinance will cost Albany over $100,000 to enforce.  One city commissioner had stated that though the ordinance was strict, it was designed for the entire city and not “a select few.”  This ordinance is NOT for the entire city and is only for “a select few” by only targeting part of the population of dog owners, and ignoring the recklessness of others.

Everyone in the area is encouraged to reach out and ask the commission to strengthen their dangerous dog laws in a breed neutral way.  All dogs that are a danger to the community must be dealt with, no matter what they look like, and all reckless dog owners need to be held accountable.  A breed discriminatory law is over and under inclusive in addressing these issues and fail to protect the community.

Everyone deserves to be protected from dangerous dogs of all kinds.  All victims deserve justice and all responsible owners deserve to have their property right maintained.

Alternatives can be found here and information on the failures of breed discriminatory laws can be found here.

Contact e-mails for city officials are as follows:

bob@langstafflaw.com
cpike@albany.ga.us
dhubbard@albany.ga.us
ihines@albany.ga.us
jhoward@albany.ga.us
rmarietta@albany.ga.us
tpostell@albany.ga.us

Pasadena CA to draft breed discriminatory law

Pasadena officials have been discussing the possibility of a mandatory spay/neuter law for some time now.  In October of this year officials said that they had tabled the discussion for six months.

Initially people were concerned that the proposal, which was breed neutral at the time, was an attempt to target the owners of dogs resembling pit bull terriers.

After supposedly postponing the conversation, officials jumped the gun on the time line given for the discussion and unveiled their intentions by voting at the end of November, 6-1, to draft a breed discriminatory spay/neuter law targeting pit bull terrier like dogs.

The proposal will require that those who own a targeted dog have them altered by the age of four months.  This mirrors the recently passed Riverside County ordinance.

People who are opposed to breed discriminatory laws often let spay/neuter laws slide by without opposition because people altering their dogs is a good thing for many reasons.  Some of the reasons cited by officials for wanting this law are to reduce over population, and aggression in dogs.  These are good things for officials to want to achieve.

They would be good things for officials to want to achieve, if that really was their intent.

The real intention is very clear.  They are not considering this because of population issues in shelters.  They are not considering this to curb backyard breeders.  They are drafting this law because they do not have the option to institute a ban.  Since 2008 officials have been discussing banning pit bull terrier like dogs, but are unable to do so because California state law prohibits it.  Councilman Steve Madison has said repeatedly that he would support an outright ban on pit bulls in Pasadena.  In fact, we reported on this in 2012.

The following are exact quotes from Mr. Madison about the issue:

“…inexplicably, state law prohibits municipalities from adopting breed-specific legislation. So the spay and neuter ordinance is a tepid response to an urgent problem… At present, it’s all we can do, supposedly. We should change this state law and then immediately ban pit bulls from Pasadena...

““I would have no problem saying ‘Pasadena’s a special place: If you want to live here, come, but don’t bring your pit bull.’

“I don’t think (this ordinance) is as effective as what I had hoped, which was a ban, but I think we have to do what we can.

“There’s no sound policy reason why a community like Pasadena shouldn’t be allowed to ban such dangerous animals,”

There is absolutely no ambiguity about the intent of this proposal when you see what they have to say first hand.

Please write or call the members of the council to respectfully and factually oppose this ordinance.  When writing it is of the utmost importance to stay calm and focused.  The facts are on the side of breed neutral laws and need no emotional embellishment. Jacque Robinson was the only opposing vote, so a note of thanks for her opposition would also be a very nice gesture.  Additional district information can be found on the cities website.

Mayor Bill Bogaard: bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4311
Jacque Robinson, District 1:  district1@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4444
Margaret McAustin, District 2:  district2@cityofpasadena.net 626-744-4742
John Kennedy, District 3:  district3@cityofpasadena.net, 626-744-4738
Gene Masuda, District 4:  district4@cityofpasadena.net
Victor Gordo, District 5: district5@cityofpasadena.net,  626-744-4741, 626-831-8609
Steve Madison, District 6: smadison@cityofpasadena.net, 626-744-4739
Terry Tornek, District 7: ttornek@cityofpasadena.net, 626-441-4802

Greybull Wyoming to discuss breed discriminatory law

Officials in Greybull Wyoming are discussing the possibility of enacting a law that would restrict “pit bulls.”

The proposal targets “any American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or any dog which as the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly in any one or more of the aforementioned breeds.”

Greybull has not has any incidents by dogs labeled as pit bulls.  The council admits as much, but are citing personal fears as the reason for the proposal.  One Councilman says that it is needed because, “We have some very scary pit bulls out there.”  He cites that the community has a justification for a ban because other communities have done the same.  Another councilman stated that, “There’s a reason they are banning them all around the United States.  Towns and cities aren’t banning other breeds; they’re only banning pit bulls.”

Councilman Collingwood stated that the proposal doesn’t go far enough, that more “vicious breeds” should be added.

The thinking of the council is directly against the recent trends in dangerous dog laws.  More and more communities are rejecting and repealing breed discriminatory laws than enacting.  It is worth noting that roughly 96% of municipalities in the United States do not regulate dogs based on their appearance, and instead target reckless owners with strong breed neutral fine structures and nuanced designations for dogs that are not being properly managed in the community.

Not only that but there are many different breeds that are targeted by breed discriminatory laws all over the United States.  These other breeds are likely what Councilman Collingwood has in mind.

It is also worth noting that there is one community in Wyoming that we have confirmed as having a breed discriminatory law.  Even adjusting for the inability to know every single ordinance in the state, the amount of places in Wyoming with these laws are null compared to the numbers of communities that have chosen to institute more effective breed neutral laws.

The restrictions being sought include confinement requirements inside and outside the house, leash length requirements, muzzling, special registration and photographs on file with the local authorities and a $250,000 insurance policy.

The thinking of the members of the council seem to be born out of hysteria.  The only council member who cast the dissenting vote expressed this same sentiment, saying the ordinance was a knee jerk reaction.  Councilman Bob McGuire stated that they have laws on the books and he does not see any justification for changing them leery of changing them.

This is an astute observation but exactly are they are reacting to?  There have been no incidents, and the only statistics they have are the number of registered “pit bulls” in the community increasing.  Considering that according to Vetstreet and Banfield Pet Hospitals, pit bull type dogs are one of the most popular dogs in American households, this is far from extraordinary.

It is very likely that officials have not thought about how much such an ordinance is going to cost the community, nor the legal issues this opens up for them.  They have also most likely not investigated the massive failure of these laws to reduce the number of dog attacks in communities.  It is important that officials understand exactly what breed discriminatory laws entail, in enforcement, due process and litigation.

Please reach out to the members of the council to politely and factually support a strong reckless owner based breed neutral law.  It is admirable that the members of the council would like to take a proactive approach to the issues of dangerous dogs but the current proposal will do nothing to effect community safety.

Block e-mail: mylesfoley@hotmail.com, cgcollingwood2000@yahoo.com, badge@tctwest.net, jorgensen.greybull@yahoo.com, greybull.mayor@wyonet.net

Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana Considering Breed Discriminatory Legislation

The Tangipahoa Parish Council discussed requiring pit bull owners to have their dogs licensed, vetted and micro-chipped at their last meeting. Animal Control Director Chip Fitz said he’s leaning towards such regulation because “If we have an animal able to do damage, we want to be able to track it.”

According to Fitz, the ordinance has not been finalized and no timetable was set for it to be brought before the parish council for consideration.

Fitz admitted that overall bite counts had remained constant over the last two years: 55 in 2011 and 53 in 2012. His concerns with pit bulls, however, were irresponsible ownership and level of strength. “My concern is traditionally when a pit bull bites, it’s bad.” Pit bulls have also become a lot more popular in the last year.

It is inconceivable that regulation of pit bulls in Tangipahoa Parrish is even being considered without some kind of objective evidence it is needed. Bite data remains the same, despite the observation that pit bulls “have become a lot more popular.” No evidence has been produced as to the number of pit bulls, nor any evidence that pit bulls have been involved in bites more than any other breed. And, of course, there has been nothing shown that indicates pit bull bites have been more severe than any other type of dog.

Please send objective, polite, and respectful communication to the Council members below to let then know you are against this potential pit bull regulation.

Hon. Trent Forrest
19334 Hwy 38
Kentwood, LA 70444
(M) 985-514-1955

Hon. Ronnie Bankston
43229 Sweetpea Lane
Hammond, LA 70401
(O) 225-567-2350/985-320-6159

Hon. Greg Varnado
59467 Dummyline Rd.
Amite, LA 70422
(O) 985-748-9320

Hon. Lionel Wells – Chairman
1700 Mooney Avenue
Hammond, LA 70403

Hon. Louis Nick Joseph
279 Highway 40 West
Independence, LA 70443

Hon. David Vial
47162 Oak Creek Trace
Hammond, LA 70403
(M) 985-974-0570

Hon. Carlo S. Bruno
P.O. Box 1274
Independence, LA 70443

Hon. Harry Lavine
21145 Esterbrook Rd.
Ponchatoula, LA 70454
(M) 985-222-5325

Hon. Nicky Muscarello, Sr.
105 Abingdon Way
Hammond, LA 70401

Hon. Bobby Cortez
42102 Jefferson Drive
Hammond, LA 70403
(O) 985-542-1581

Kristen Pecararo
P. O. Box 215
Amite, LA 70422
(O) 985-748-3211/748-7041

Three Cities in Pope County Arkansas Considering Breed Discriminatory Legislation: Dardanelle, Dover and Pottsville

Three cities within Pope County, Arkansas are considering breed discriminatory legislation. Proponents have been strong fighting for BDL, and it is only by reaching out to officials and actually attending the meetings that breed discriminatory legislation will be defeated. Proponents are using the fact that Russellville, the county seat has a breed specific ordinance, and using that as precedent.

Of note is the fact that there have been no incidents, nor is there any bite data in any of these three cities that regulation is needed. They are using the same justification that Boston used for targeting pit bulls, saying that there is an “increase in criminals using vicious dogs, especially pit bulls to guard drug houses.” Of course, this is not a real reason to pass such a law. It is a smokescreen and playing on the fear of the public of crime in general. We need safer communities for everyone from all dangerous dogs, not a specific breed. The meetings and contacts are listed in the chronological order of upcoming meetings. Pottsville’s meeting is tomorrow! Dover’s meeting is this Tuesday!

Pottsville, Arkansas

The Pottsville ordinance was previously tabled, but will be reconsidered on Monday, September 30, 2013.

City of Pottsville, Arkansas
City Hall
173 E. Ash Street
Pottsville, AR 72858
Phone: (479) 968-3029
E-Mail: ptsvlcty@cswnet.com


Dover, Arkansas

The third and final reading for the ordinance targeting pit bulls takes place October 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Mayor Patrick Johnson
mayorofdover@centurytel.net

City Treasurer/Recorder
Regina Kilgore
treasurerofdover@centurytel.net

Dardanelle, Arkansas

The second reading of the pit bull ordinance with be held on October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Mayor Carolyn McGee
CMcgee@dardanelle.com

City Clerk
cityclerk@dardanelle.com