Ohio HB 14 signed by governor

Ohio HB 14 was signed by the governor this morning. This bill repeals Ohio’s state-level BSL and overhauls the state’s dangerous dog laws. I believe the bill will go into effect in 90 days.

Many thanks to the advocates and ordinary citizens who worked diligently to get this passed. It is a huge step forward not only for Ohio, but for those places around the U.S. and the world that have looked to Ohio when discussing or passing their own dog laws.

Please note, this bill only affects the law at the state level. Municipalities are not required to change their own ordinances. If a city or county within Ohio has BSL or a breed ban, that will not change, so please exercise caution when traveling in Ohio with your dog. Know the local laws!

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9 responses to “Ohio HB 14 signed by governor

  1. I live in Fairfield county Ohio, in the country not in town. How can I find out how this effects me without calling my dog warden? They have my dog classifief as “vicious ” because of his “looks.”

    • Fairfield county (and city) dog laws remain in effect. It depends in part on how your dog was declared “vicious” (via state law, county law?) and in part on whether Fairfield County has breed-specific dog ordinances. For example, if Fairfield County ordinance is not breed-specific, and your dog was determined to be a “pit bull” and therefore vicious under state law, then this should no longer be true once HB 14 comes into effect. However, if Fairfield County ordinance itself is breed-specific and considers all “pit bulls” to be vicious dogs, and your dog was declared vicious pursuant to the county law, then your dog will continue to fall under Fairfield Co. law as long as you live there. You will need to find out what the law is in Fairfield County (or, if you live in a city, find out the law in the city you live in).

  2. What does it exactly mean to be a “state-level” law, if municipalities are not required to change their own ordinances???
    Way to go Ohio!!!! Hopefully we can end breed discrimination across the world sooner than later!!!

    • The U.S. follows a general preemption structure. Federal laws preempt state laws preempt local laws. Ohio’s state-level BSL applied to the entire state, regardless of whether municipalities within the state had BSL or not. (Preemption.) With the repeal of state-level BSL, municipalities are now free to have–or NOT have–BSL. Cities without BSL in their local ordinances are no longer forced to enforce the state level BSL.

      Ohio basically has become like most other states in the U.S. Most other states in the U.S. don’t have any BSL–or prohibition against BSL–written into their state laws.

      Only a handful of state laws expressly forbid municipalities from passing BSL. Most municipalities in most states are free to pass BSL, or not.

  3. stephanie speltz

    this is wonderful news! hopfully other states will follow this example.

  4. I’ve emailed Rep. Sears (the bill’s sponsor) but have not heard back. Do you know if now that this is signed into law are owners required to still carry $100,000 liability insurance? Also, barring local ordinances are they required to still be muzzled when in public? My daughter is moving from CA to OH soon and has a pitty. (Who btw is a sweetie!!)

    I sent so many letters to the congress and senators trying to get them to vote in favor of this. I am so happy that they’ve taken the right steps to get rid of BSL!!!

    • When the bill goes into effect, in about 90 days, the entire state law will basically be replaced to match HB 14. The previous law won’t exist anymore. The new state law no longer distinguishes between “pit bulls” and other types of dogs. This means that the old rules regarding liability insurance and muzzles for pit bull-looking dogs will no longer exist and therefore will not apply AT THE STATE LEVEL.

      If you want to know what the new state law will say, you can read HB 14 here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_14

      If a city or county has an ordinance that requires insurance and muzzles, then it will still apply in that city or county.

      With HB 14, Ohio basically has become just like 37 other states in the U.S. Municipalities in Idaho, South Carolina, New Mexico, Iowa, and many other states (and now Ohio) are free to pass their own local animal ordinances that may or may not include breed-specific restrictions or bans. Always check and abide by local ordinances when moving or traveling with your dog.

    • Thanks for your reply! I actually have read and reread the wording of this. I just wasn’t positive of what it all really meant. I guess I wasn’t grasping that what it means that is “any” dog placed on the dangerous list then would have to follow the insurance, muzzle and other stipulations. Until then all dogs are the same. I do know that a lot home insurance companies still will not insure if you own not only a pit but many other breeds such as German Sheppard’s, Dobermans and Rottweiler’s.

      Anyway thanks for your reply! This is soooo a step in the right direction for the state!

    • Homeowners’ insurance companies have their own policies that are not really related to state law. Some homeowners’ insurance companies are breed-specific, but many are not. The new Ohio law makes it easier to get homeowners’ coverage with companies that are not breed-specific.

      For example, State Farm is not breed-specific, but they do not cover any dogs that are declared “vicious.” So they did not cover “pit bulls” in Ohio because Ohio “pit bulls” were automatically labeled “vicious” by state law. With the new law, it will be possible to get coverage under State Farm because “pit bulls” are no longer labeled “vicious.”

      (Except, of course, in municipalities within Ohio that still label all “pit bulls” to be “vicious”; or in cases where the individual dog’s behavior causes it to be labeled “vicious.”)