Tag Archives: doberman

South Dakota bill end prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level goes to the Governor

The South Dakota bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws in the state, SB 75, passed the full House.

The vote was 41-28, for the bill.  SB 75 now moves to the Governor’s desk.  The Governor can either sign the bill or veto it.  If he signs it, the South Dakota will become the 18th state to outlaw breed discrimination on the state level.

This bill was passed through the process at an incredible speed.   SB 75 had its first reading on January 23rd.   The bill received a favorable vote by the Senate committee of 6-1 on January 31st and was moved to the full Senate.

The February 4th vote by the full Senate was very close.   The bill barely passed with 19 votes for and 16 against.  There was a lot of talk of opposition to the premise of the bill, but as we have seen in the past, there were some whose issue was states power versus municipal rights to self governance.

The bill comfortably passed the House committee on February 27th with a 10 to 3 vote for the bill to be moved to the full House.  On March 4th, the bill had its final House vote of 41-28.

The text of the bill is very simple.

Section 1. That chapter 40-34 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:   No local government, as defined in § 6-1-12, may enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance, policy, resolution, or other enactment that is specific as to the breed or perceived breed of a dog. This section does not impair the right of any local government unit to enact, maintain, or enforce any form of regulation that applies to all dogs.”

It appears that this bill may nullify existing ordinances.  The fact that it specifics that a municipality may not maintain or enforce a breed discriminatory law points to a retro active application.

We will not know for sure until the bill is signed and applied.  Some times the language is too vague to really know the intent of the legislators until the issue of existing ordinance is raised after the bill comes into effect.

South Dakota residents should reach out the Governor Dennis Daugaard via the states website and ask that he sign SB 75 into law.

Missouri HB 1116 to prohibit breed discrimination on the state level passes committee

A bill in Missouri that would prohibit municipalities from enacting breed discriminatory laws has been heard by the House judiciary Committee.

HB 1116 is very simple.  The bill seeks to add an amendment to the current state code that reads: “273.195. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit in any manner the authority of any village, town, or city to prohibit dogs from running at large or to further control or regulate dogs within its boundaries; provided that, no such ordinances, orders, policies, or regulations are specific to breed.”

Missouri HB 1116 has been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.   The committee voted 13-2 for the bill.  HB 1116 now goes to the full house for a vote.    If it passes the full House, the bill will move to the Senate side, where it will go through the same process of committees and hearings by the Senate.  If it passes the full Senate the bill will then need to be signed by the Governor.

The legislative process is a long one, but it is important that residents continue to contact their Senators and Representatives expressing support for this bill.

There is currently no date set for the next reading.

Some have said that there are some legislators who have received correspondence against the bill, so it is important that those residents that support the bill reach out to their legislators and ask them to support it as well.

Missouri residents can find their specific legislators in the Senate here.  House representatives can be found here.

This post has been edited to reflect that there is no second committee hearing, as was reported by a local organization.  The bill is moving to the full House so residents should contact their Representatives to ask them to support this bill.

Maryland HB 422 hearing overview

The House Judiciary Committee met to hear HB 422, a bill that would prevent breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

According to the bills sponsor, the bill was submitted due to the Solesky decision.   The bill, which if it remains as is, would outlaw breed discriminatory laws on the state level, repeal existing ordinances and prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenets with certain breeds of dogs.

The bills sponsor pointed out the some of the numerous issues caused by BDL and the precedent of the 17 states that currently outlaw BDL and the additional states that are considering anti-BDL bills this year.

Right away one member of the committee raise the issue of Prince George’s County and what would happen to their ban.  The sponsor stated that it was her intention that existing ordinances would be grandfathered in, but the language of the bill does not allow for that.  The bills sponsor said that she would amend to clarify that issue.

It is important to note that the Chief of Prince George’s County Animal Management Division was present and testified in support of the bill.  He was asked to testify for the bill by the head on the Animal Management Services Division.  During what was a compelling testimony, he stated that 793 dogs were confiscated under the ban in the 2013 fiscal year.   Roughly 75% of confiscated dogs were euthanized.  $250,000 have been spent in Prince George’s County on enforcement of the ban in 2 years.  He also testified that the number one biter was either labs or cocker spaniels.  He stated that the ban has done nothing for Prince George’s County but separate well-behaved dogs from good families and that the focus needs to be on effective solutions.  He testified that the ban has not worked for Prince George’s County.

The portion of the bill which was most hotly contested was the portion relating to landlords.  Many people testified in support of the bill, with the exception of that particular portion.  Considering that the legislature has failed to address the effects of the court ruling, that particular portion of the bill would put landlords in an impossible position.  Again, amendments were suggested to remove the language pertaining to landlord discrimination.

Many people testified in support of the bill, but very oppose it.  Not surprisingly, Tony Solesky, whose son was the center point in the appeals court ruling, testified against.  There was a pattern during that day’s hearing.  There were many bills regarding dangerous dogs that were heard.  Tony Solesky testified against every single one regarding dangerous dogs, and spent the entire time focusing on breed instead of lobbying for effective solutions that have a chance of effecting change, and passing through the process.

For example, HB 371 was heard.  This bill is to strengthen the dangerous dog laws in breed neutral way.  Increasing penalties, and strengthening the requirements for those who have dangerous dogs.  Solesky testified against strengthening the dangerous dog laws because it was breed neutral and behavior based and tried to lobby for the bill to be breed based, saying that Maryland should be able to “…simply eliminate certain breeds of dogs the same way we eliminate, why wild animals aren’t allowed among us.”

This stark opposition to any form of solidifying the dangerous dog laws in a breed neutral way is confounding.  Victims are no more or less of a victim if they are attacked by one type of dog or another.  We point to this specifically in order to show that the issue is not really about public safety for the pro-BDL lobby.

Maryland legislators have heard a lot of information about the failures of breed discriminatory laws over the last few years.  Many of them come into the hearing for HB 422 extremely well versed in the failures and short comings of such legislation.

As things stand now, the committee has not acted.  Because the sponsor has said that she is drafting amendments to the bill, it is possible that the committee will not act on the bill until that is done.

Residents of Maryland please reach out and write a brief letter of support for this bill to the committee.

Joseph.vallario@house.state.md.us
Kathleen.dumais@house.state.md.us
Curt.anderson@house.state.md.us
Sam.arora@house.state.md.us
Jill.carter@house.state.md.us
Luke.clippinger@house.state.md.us
John.cluster@house.state.md.us
Frank.conaway@house.state.md.us
Glen.glass@house.state.md.us
Michael.hough@house.state.md.us
Kevin.kelly@house.state.md.us
Susan.lee@house.state.md.us
Susan.mccomas@house.state.md.us
Mike.mcdermott@house.state.md.us
Keiffer.mitchell@house.state.md.us
Neil.parrott@house.state.md.us
Samuel.rosenberg@house.state.md.us
Luiz.simmons@house.state.md.us
Michael.smigiel@house.state.md.us
Kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us
Geraldine.valentino.smith@house.state.md.us
Jeff.waldstreicher@house.state.md.us

Breckenridge Colorado is considering a breed discriminatory law

After a dog related incident that was attributed to a dog officials describe as “pit bull terrier”, officials in Breckenridge Colorado are investigating the possibility of enacting a breed discriminatory law.  The incident in question involved a dog on dog attack.

Though Colorado state law prohibits breed based laws, Denver had successfully sued against the state based on what is called home rule.  Denver won the case, effectively opening the door to a home rule city in Colorado being allowed to enact similar laws.

Simply put, home rule is a town charter that allows a municipality the right to self governance, independent of the laws of the state.

A report created by the chief of police mentions the ability of home rule jurisdictions to be able to pass these laws.

From the report:

In 2004, the State of Colorado passed a statute prohibiting municipalities from enacting breed specific bans. The City and County of Denver filed a civil complaint citing their ability as a Home Rule entity to enact and enforce legislation as a matter of local or jurisdictional concern. The District Court upheld the right of a Home Rule municipality “to regulate dangerous dogs within its community”.

This report appears to be an investigation of the other places in Colorado that have breed discriminatory laws in place.  There was no official recommendation but the report mentions a work session that was scheduled for September 10th.

Officials set up a survey for community feedback on the issue.

Under the item asking if a person feels some breeds are more dangerous than others, there are several breeds listed for people to indicate which dogs they feel are more dangerous.

The breeds listed are Doberman, Mastiff, German Shepherd, pit bull, Malamute, Chow, Rottweiler, Husky and an “other” category.

According to the minutes of the August 27th meeting, a council member raised the issue of the dog attack, which occurred during a cycling event.

This was taken directly from the minutes of that meeting,  “Mr. Gallagher mentioned the pit bull terrier incident on Hoosier Pass during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He stated he believes Breckenridge should get in front of the situation and do something about aggressive dogs in general and pit bulls in particular. Mayor Warner polled the Council on their thoughts about this issue and the decision was made to charge staff with identifying problem breeds and look to see what other communities have done regarding this issue.

The statement of “identifying problem breeds” implies what the survey backs up, that, should they continue down this path, they will be restricting multiple breeds, their mixes and look a likes.

The minutes from a subsequent meeting contain the following excerpt, “We would like to have a bigger discussion about dogs and people being irresponsible with their pets. Look for some more conversation in the community.”

Residents of Breckenridge should reach out now to their council members and ask that all dog owners be held to the same standards.  The importance of making sure that everyone in the community is safe from dangerous dogs of all kinds should be stressed.  Politely and respectfully oppose any breed discriminatory laws and point out their failure to improve public safety.  Since officials were looking at Denver, you can view information on Denver’s failure here: http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/state-by-state-information/co/denver

Breed neutral alternatives can be found here: http://stopbsl.org/alternatives-to-bsl/

There is no direct contact information available for the Mayor or the Town Council but there is an online contact form available on the cities website.

Rhode Island HB5671 to prohibit breed discriminatory laws advances to Senate

Today Rhode Island HB5671 passed the full House with a vote of 59-9.

The bill, which would prohibit any municipality from enacting a breed discriminatory law, was initially recommended to be held for further study by the House Committee.  The bill was held for over a month but was subsequently passed unanimously out of Committee. A little over a week later the bill passed the full House.

HB5671 now moves onto the Senate side, beginning with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sources inside Rhode Island have stated that more support is needed to push this bill through the Senate.  The legislative session in Rhode Island ends soon.  Legislators have been tallying supportive e-mails so it is imperative that everyone reach out and express support for this bill.

Below is the contact information for the committee.  Please remember to use the cc or bcc function when copying the e-mail addresses.  Despite sources knowing a large number of people who wrote in support of this bill, many of the legislators have said they have not received a lot of correspondence about it.  E-mails with many addresses in the “to” line are usually bounced into spam boxes, so dividing the addresses is extremely important to making sure they are received by legislators.

When writing include “Support HB5671″ in the subject line so that those who are going through the e-mails do not have to read the entire thing to know what it is about.  This will make any “at a glance” tallying easier and more effective.

Committee Chairman: sen-mccaffrey@rilin.state.ri.us

sen-archambault@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-conley@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-hodgson@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-jabour@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lombardi@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lynch@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-metts@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-nesselbush@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-raptakis@rilin.state.ri.us

New York A3952 to end discriminatory practises in insurance advances

UPDATE:  Unfortunately the New York legislative session has ended without any further action on this bill.  Hopefully with the advancement this bill saw at the end of this session, a similar bill will be brought forward in the near future.

Earlier this year a bill was introduced in the New York state legislature that would prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage or renewal of a policy based on the breed or type of dog the applicant has.  Additionally this bill would also prohibit an insurance company from charging a different rate to a person because of the type of dog they own.

The bill text:

S 3421. HOMEOWNERS’ LIABILITY INSURANCE; DOGS. 1. WITH RESPECT TO HOMEOWNERS’ INSURANCE POLICIES AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO THOUSAND  THREE HUNDRED  FIFTY-ONE  OF THIS CHAPTER, NO INSURER SHALL REFUSE TO ISSUE OR RENEW, CANCEL, OR CHARGE OR IMPOSE AN INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED SOLELY UPON HARBORING OR OWNING ANY DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED OR MIXTURE OF BREEDS.
2. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT PROHIBIT AN INSURER FROM REFUSING TO ISSUE OR RENEW OR FROM CANCELING ANY SUCH CONTRACT OR POLICY, NOR FROM IMPOSING A REASONABLY INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH A POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED UPON THE DESIGNATION OF A DOG OF ANY BREED OR MIXTURE OF BREEDS AS A DANGEROUS DOG PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THE AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW, BASED ON  SOUND UNDERWRITING  AND ACTUARIAL PRINCIPLES REASONABLY RELATED TO ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED LOSS EXPERIENCE SUBJECT TO THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS  OF  SECTION THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE.

After a rather long period on inactivity this bill is moving forward.  The bill has passed the full Assembly and has moved on to the Senate side of the legislature.

Bills of this kind can be very difficult to pass because of the prevalence of the insurance lobby in the legislature. There is often staunch opposition to them.  The fact that the bill made it this far with the amount of votes it received is promising.  The bill passed Assembly with a comfortable majority of 105-34.

However, it is incredibly important the New York residents step up and make their voice heard.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee.  Please reach out and ask them to pass this bill to allow all residents of the state to be able to get insurance.  This bill not only helps dog owners but also helps victims of dog bites, insuring that they receive some kind of compensation for an incident the requires medical care.

Contact information for the committee members:
Senator James Seward: seward@nysenate.gov
Senator Neil Breslin: breslin@senate.state.ny.us
Senator David Carlucci: carlucci@nysenate.gov
Senator Adriano Espailla: espailla@nysenate.gov
Senator John Flanagan: flanagan@nysenate.gov
Senator Martin Golden: golden@nysenate.gov
Senator Mark Grisanti: grisanti@nysenate.gov
Senator Timothy Kennedy: kennedy@nysenate.gov
Senator Andrew Lanza: lanza@senate.state.ny.us
Senator William Larkin: larkin@senate.state.ny.us
Senator Kenneth LaValle: lavalle@nysenate.gov
Senator Jack Martins: martins@nysenate.gov
Senator Ted O’Brein: obrien@nysenate.gov
Senator Thomas O’Mara: omara@nysenate.gov
Senator Kevin Parker: parker@senate.state.ny.us
Senator Jose Peralta: jperalta@nysenate.gov
Senator James Seward: seward@nysenate.gov
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky: stavisky@senate.state.ny.us
Senator David Valesky: valesky@nysenate.gov
Senator Catharine Young: cyoung@senate.state.ny.us

Hornbeak Tennessee passes multiple breed restrictions

Tuesday night the Aldermen for the city of Hornbeak Tennessee gave final approval to an ordinance that places restrictions on 10 different types of dogs.

The dogs that are effected by this ordinance are Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Akitas, Chows, and Wolf hybrids.

These types of dogs will be considered vicious solely based on their appearance. Owners of these dogs must have a special registration, leash and muzzle requirements, confinement requirements, the placement of “beware of dog” signs, proof of insurance and identification photos of the dogs to be provided to the city recorder.

The ordinance passed with a vote of 5-1, with one official refusing to vote for the new law because they felt it went to far.

The initial stories out of Hornbeak cite issues with dogs at large. In such a small town there is a very accessible way to address these issues since the community is so close-knit. It is rather disconcerting that instead of addressing the real issues behind the problems Hornbeak was experiencing, they chose instead to restrict the rights of responsible owners.

Hornbeak is an extremely small town with limited financial resources. The population is around 450 people. They do not have animal control of their own, or an animal shelter, which poses the question of how exactly any ordinance will be enforced. This new ordinance will undoubtedly be a public safety failure. The people who lose in this are the citizens.