Tag Archives: statewide

Georgia bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws moves forward

A bill that was introduced in the Georgia state legislature would prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

SB 184 is a relatively simple bill.  It would amend the current dangerous dog law to include the following language:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 4-8-1, no county, municipality, or local 12 authority shall adopt any ordinance or resolution for the regulation of domestic dogs that 13 classifies based on breed.

Most importantly, the bill expressly includes language that would repeal all existing breed discriminatory laws.

Last week, SB 184 cleared the Senate and moved on to the House.  The vote of 42-11 was a decisive victory for the bill.  SB 184 has been assigned to the House Government Affairs committee.

There is a companion bill in the House, HB 124.  This bill is identical in its language to SB 184.  This bill has cleared the second reading and is moving to the Senate side.  The fact that these bills have cleared the sides of the legislature that they started on is a very good sign.  There is support for the end of breed discriminatory laws on both sides.

The passage of these bills would be a huge step.  We do not see a lot of southern states taking on the issue of breed discriminatory laws and BDL seems to be more common in the south than in the north and west percentage wise.  Not only would this bill protect the rights of residents, it would also have a huge impact on the surrounding states and open the door to consideration of similar bills in the surrounding area.

GEORGIA RESIDENTS:  It is imperative that you continue to reach out to express support for this bill.  Take the time to write your Representative a note of support for SB 184.  A list of members of the House can be found here: http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx

You can find your specific Representative here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

The contact information for the House Government affairs committee is as follows:
Rep. Ed Rynders, Chair:  ed.rynders@house.ga.gov
Rep. Buzz Brockway,: buzz.brockway@house.ga.gov
Rep. Tyrone Brooks:  tyrone.brooks@house.ga.gov
Rep. Barry Fleming: barry.fleming@house.ga.gov
Rep. Hugh Floyd:  hugh.floyd@house.ga.gov
Rep. Mark Hamilton:  mark.hamilton@house.ga.gov
Rep. Dustin Hightower: dustin.hightower@house.ga.gov
Rep. Rusty Kidd:  rusty.kidd@house.ga.gov
Rep. Eddie Lumsden: eddie.lumsden@house.ga.gov
Rep. John Meadows:  john.meadows@house.ga.gov
Rep. Howard Mosby:  howard.mosby@house.ga.gov
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver: mary.oliver@house.ga.gov
Rep. Larry O’Neal:  larry.oneal@house.ga.gov
Rep. Alan Powell:  alan.powell@house.ga.gov
Rep. Jay Powell:  jay.powell@house.ga.gov
Rep. Tom Taylor:  tom.taylor@house.ga.gov
Rep. Darlene K. Taylor:  darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov
Rep. Bruce Williamson: bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov

Rhode Island bill would allow towns to reinstate breed discriminatory laws

Officials in Pawtucket, Rhode Island are once again trying to make it so they are allowed to retain their breed ban.

The ban was nullified by the recently passed state law prohibiting breed discriminatory laws.  When the state law was passed, officials claimed the law did not nullify existing ordinances.  Pawtucket was then sued by the Defenders of Animals and Albert Alix.  A judge found that Pawtucket did not have the right to retain the ban and the state law supersedes all existing breed discriminatory laws.  Pawtucket officials had time to appeal this decision.  They did not appeal.

Instead, they are attempting to get their breed ban back legislatively.

A bill, H 5800, would amend the state’s animal control law that prohibits breed discriminatory laws.  The amendment would allow cities that had such a law before July 15, 2013, to keep them intact.

6 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any rule, regulation 7 or ordinance specific to any breed of dog or cat enacted in any city or town prior to July 15, 2013, 8 shall remain in full force and effect until repealed by the appropriate officials of the city or town.

This bill has been referred to the House Committee on Municipal Government and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing date.

Pawtucket had their chance when the bill was being heard and again, during the court case.  The courts have ruled and this bill is a last-ditch attempt at being able to defy the order the judge.

This would not only affect Pawtucket, but would also allow any other town to re-instate their breed discriminatory law.


Reach out to the committee and respectfully ask that they do not support this bill.

The Defenders of Animals are collecting a legal paper petition in opposition to this bill.  Defenders of Animals will be at the Pet Supplies Plus at 171 Sockanosset Cross Rd Cranston, RI 02920 on Sunday March 8, 2015, between 12 Noon and 4 PM collecting signatures.  People in the area who can attend to sign should do so.

It is imperative that you reach out now, so this bill does not move forward.

The committee contact information is as follows:

 Representative Mia A. Ackerman: rep-ackerman@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Gregg Amore: rep-amore@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Jean-Phillipe Barros: rep-barros@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative David A. Bennett: rep-bennett@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Gregory J. Costantino: rep-costantino@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative David A. Coughlin, Jr.: rep-coughlin@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Robert E. Craven, Sr.: rep-craven@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Blake A. Filippi: rep-filippi@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Kathleen A. Fogarty: rep-fogarty@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Joy Hearn: rep-hearn@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Raymond H. Johnston, Jr.: rep-johnston@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Charlene Lima: rep-lima@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Shelby Maldonado: rep-maldonado@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Kenneth A. Marshall:  rep-marshall@rilin.state.ri.us

 Representative Justin Price:  rep-price@rilin.state.ri.us

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:


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

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.

Washington legislator pre-files bill, HB2117, to prevent breed discriminatory laws on state level

A bill has been pre-filed in Washington state that would prevent municipalities from enacting breed discriminatory laws.

The bill, House Bill 2117, was pre-filed for introduction on December 10th, 2013 by  Sherry Appleton.

The bill is to amend portions of the state’s dangerous dog statutes, in order to prevent municipalities from being able to enact breed discriminatory laws on the local level.

The introduction to the bill reads as follows:

(1)A number of local jurisdictions have enacted ordinances prohibiting or placing additional restrictions on specific breeds of dogs. While the legislature recognizes that local jurisdictions have a valid public safety interest in protecting citizens from dog attacks, the legislature finds that a dog’s breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not the dog is dangerous and that the criteria for determining whether or not a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous should be focused on the dog’s behavior.
(2) The legislature further finds that breed-specific ordinances fail to address any of the factors that cause dogs to become aggressive and place an undue hardship on responsible dog owners who provide proper socialization and training. The legislature intends to redirect the focus away from particular breeds and to instead encourage local jurisdictions to employ more effective and data-driven prevention models to control dangerous dogs and enhance public safety.

It is not clear at this time how the issues of home rule or grandfather clauses will be addressed.

In 2013 there were 3 states that passed bills that prohibit breed discriminatory laws.  These laws passed with overwhelming support from legislators and received overwhelming support from residents of those states.

It is well documented that a multi-faceted community based approach to dangerous dogs is far more effective than breed discriminatory laws.  These types of laws protect the property rights of responsible owners and require that the issue of dangerous dogs be looked at comprehensively.

Washington state residents:  Please reach out to your Senators and Representatives and respectfully ask them to support this bill.  It is important for residents to be involved in the legislative process and voice their support of such bills.  Legislators cannot act on their constituents interests if they are not expressed.

You can find your legislator via the states website here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Rhode Island HB5671, the bill to outlaw breed discrimination passes full Senate

UPDATED:  7/16/2013:  The Governor has signed this bill into law. Rhode Island now prohibits breed discriminatory laws on the state level.


Rhode Island HB5671 was passed by the full Senate today with a vote of 21-6.

The bill has moved along very quickly after an initial stall out of the gate.  Introduced in late February, the bill was held for study by the House committee.  The House committee passed the bill on June 20th and in 13 days the bill moved from the first step to the last.

There was opposition to this bill from the legislators in municipalities that have breed discriminatory laws in place, as well as some legislators who were undecided and abstained from voting.

Most notably, legislators from Pawtucket have been in the news speaking out against the bill.  They expressed concerns that this bill would make their communities unsafe and had attempted to mount an e-mail campaign to oppose HB5671.  What this bill will do is make sure that all responsible citizens have their rights intact, and make municipalities address the real cause of dangerous dogs of any kind, reckless and negligent dog owners.  Officials have said in news accounts that, if passed, they will abide by the new law but it remains to be seen if they will comply willingly.

It does appear that the bill will not allow places with existing breed discriminatory laws to keep them.  According to sources, Pawtucket attempted to get grandfathered in during the Senate committee but was not successful.

The bill must be enrolled before it gets to the Governors desk.  After enrollment HB5671 will move to Governor Lincoln D. Chafee’s desk to be signed into law.

After being signed into law, Rhode Island will become the 16th state to outlaw breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

Please take a moment to reach out to the Governor to politely and briefly ask that he sign HB5671 into law.  Remember to put “Support HB5671” in the subject line so they topic may be easily accessed.

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee: governor@governor.ri.gov

Please also take a moment to write to the bills sponsor and co-sponsors and thank them for all the hard work they put into this bills passage.

Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Palangio:rep-palangio@rilin.state.ri.us

Rep. Charlene Lima: rep-lima@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. Anastasia Williams :rep-williams@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. John DeSimone: rep-desimone@rilin.state.ri.us
Rep. Peter Palumbo :rep-palumbo@rilin.state.ri.us

Thank you Melissa and Dennis.

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