Bessemer PA repeals breed based restrictions

In June a story was covered by a local news agency about a town in Pennsylvania that had increased the cost associated with an ordinance that targeted pit bulls.  This ordinance was reported to have been enacted in the mid 80’s and on the books since then.

It turned out the story was more complicated then that.  Bessemer officials had, in fact, found that a breed discriminatory ordinance was in their legislative history but had never been ratified and was therefore not active legislation.  When a resident brought the issue of dangerous dogs forward, officials voted to ratify the ordinance and change the costs associated with the ordinance, which officials thought were out of date.

Officials did not know, at that time, that what they passed violated state law. Pennsylvania state law prohibits any municipality from passing an ordinance that targets a specific breed.  There is no home rule exemption or grandfather clause in the law that would allow officials to have this law.

When the issue was brought to the Councils attention, they responded immediately.

Council President John Kleim said that he had asked the Mayor to veto the ordinance or, barring that, the full Council would repeal the ordinance at their next meeting.

The ordinance was supposed to have gone into effect on July 1st but, because it violated state law, officials were not going to enforce it in the time between the laws passage and when they could act to repeal it.

We are happy to report that the Council has stayed true to their word. They voted to repeal the ordinance at their meeting this week.  Bessemer PA is officially breed neutral, after roughly 20 days of having a breed discriminatory law.

Thank you Hello Bully.


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