Category Archives: BSL Defeated

Baker City Oregon unanimously rejects breed discrimination

Following a fatal attack earlier this year, officials in Baker City Oregon were discussing the possibility of a breed discriminatory law targeting pit bull terrier like dogs.

The proposal would have declared targeted breeds to be dangerous and impose restrictions on them that were also to be imposed on dogs with a history of bad behavior. Targeted dogs would have included “… pit bull terrier, an American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier breed of any dog or any mix of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier as to be identifiable by the Hearing Officer as partially of the breed of American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier.”

A committee was formed to study the issue.  The committee examined many ordinances from across the country.   In the video from the last meeting, we have the opportunity to see the results of advocacy done right, and a group of council members who were very clearly concerned about the community, but needed just a little gentle guidance to come to the best possible ordinance.

During the discussion from the members of the committee and community, Councilor Coles made a motion to accept the proposal as is, minus the section that was breed based.  He cites the resolution from the American Bar Association urging municipalities to pass breed neutral laws as having had a great impact on him.  At that time there was no second, but a comment from another councilor that they would like to hear the rest of the testimony regarding the proposal.

Not one person who spoke, spoke in favor of breed based language. Watching the decorum of the speakers in very interesting.  Each speaker thanked the council and praised the process, starting off their commentary on a positive note.  At no time were any direct comments made about the council, or the council members, all comments were reserved for the material.

At the end, the initial motion to strike the breed discriminatory language is seconded by Councilwoman Mosier, who proceeds to make the commentary that is transcribed below. (edited for length, full comment available in the video linked above)

“I don’t have any special love for pit bulls or for any particular breed.  For me what it has come down to is increased community safety…All of the studies that I read…and pieces of information from peer-reviewed sources seemed to come down to the idea that multi-faceted approaches work best in achieving community safety.  That means not just banning a specific breed or restricting a specific breed, but community education, and insuring that we have problem pet owners addressed and insuring that we have dangerous dog ordinances enforced and that there are many fronts that have to be addressed in order to actually achieve community safety…I have a list of the organizations that support breed neutral ordinances and I’d just like to read them for you…the CDC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Animal Control Association, the Humane Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, the American Bar Association and the White House even had an article supporting breed neutral ordinances that address… the problems that tend to lead to dangerous dog situations…There was one set of statistics that I did see…that refers to some success of such legislation but for my money that one set of statistics, or that one set of scenarios that cited success of breed specific legislation doesn’t outweigh that long list of peer-reviewed studies.

The council unanimously voted to remove all breed discriminatory language from the ordinance.

The proposal, as it stands now, addresses many things that will improve community safety, including addressing tethering, a tiered declaration for dogs who, based on their behavior, are causing issues in the community, mandatory obedience training for dogs declared dangerous and a section specific to reckless dog owners.  More communities are moving to enact reckless dog owner ordinances.  Most dangerous dog legislation follows the dog but does not address repeated negligent behavior by the owner.  Reckless dog owner ordinances make sure that people who have a history of not operating proper care and control of their dogs are held accountable for their history of negligent behavior.  Educational programs for school children were also discussed as a supplement to the ordinance.

If anyone would like to reach out and thank the council for their common sense, community based approach, the council members contact information is below.

Richard Langrell:
Clair Button:
Roger Coles:
Dennis Dorrah:
Mike Downing:
Barbara Johnson:
Kim Mosier:

Thanks to the Portland Pit Bull project for continuing to update on this issue.

Riverside, MO Repeals Long Standing Breed Ban

Brent Toellner reported that the City of Riverside, which is an inner ring suburb of Kansas City, has repealed its ban on pit bulls.

The city’s newsletter stated: “The former ban on owning pit bulls has been revised, and the breed is now allowed within the city limits. The new code prohibits animals whose behavior has been deemed dangerous, regardless of a specific breed.”

It is not clear what went on behind the scenes to prompt what is contained in the newsletter, but as news becomes available, we will report on it.

Rockaway Beach MO pit bull ban proposal fails

A proposed breed ban and vicious dog ordinance has failed in Rockaway  Beach Missouri.

The ban failed, according to officials, because it was not seconded for a reading.

The bill died due to the lack of a second for a reading,” said Rockaway Beach City Clerk Susan Kettlekamp. “The bill was quite broad and encompassed dangerous dogs and a ban on pit bulls.Full story (subscription only)

This means that one Alderman brought the proposal forward but no other council member would support the proposal in its current form.

The proposal came at the request of a resident who was attacked by 2 dogs, identified as pit bulls.  A man in a car stopped to ask the victim for directions when 2 dogs jumped out of the car and attacked the victim and his dog.  According to the previously cited report, the dogs were being transported by the father of the owner, who turned the dogs over to his father because he was in the process of being arrested at a nearby motel.

Officials cited the Springfield ordinance which was enacted in 2006 in discussions. The was some vocal opposition from at least one board member at the time the issue was raised.  The Springfield ordinance has been under debate for some time, and investigations into it have shown the law to be a public safety failure.

It is possible that the proposal will be brought back to be re-written.  Indeed, strengthening the dangerous dog laws in a breed neutral way would benefit the community, so it would be good for the laws to be evaluated for weak points.

The spurning incident, however, may not have been avoided by any law.  This seems like an instance of a lack of knowing these dogs personally and therefore not exercising the precaution of rolling up the windows of the car.  The man who was supervising the dogs was not the owner of the attacking dogs, and may not have been aware of any issues they had.  This does not negate his responsibility for the incident but this is clearly not a breed issue.

We hope that the victim is afforded justice for his damages.  There may be criminal charges levied, and the medical bills have amounted, so a civil suit also may be in the works.

If you are in Rockaway, please reach out and thank your Aldermen for rejecting the idea of a breed discriminatory law, and urge them to craft a breed neutral bill that would best serve the community.

There is limited contact information but you may write, call or fax with a note of attention to the Board of Aldermen.City of Rockaway Beach,  2762 State Highway 176, Rockaway Beach, MO 65740

Phone: (417) 561-4424
Fax: (417) 561-6025

Westwego Louisiana Councilman pulls breed ban

The town of Westwego Louisiana can breathe a bit easier.  Councilman Glen Green, who has been adamantly pushing a breed ban, has pulled the ordinance.

A friend and constituent of Councilman Green’s was severely injured after being attacked by her boyfriend’s dogs, which were identified by the couple as pit bulls.  Early reports quoted Green as saying that he blamed the dogs owner, the victim’s boyfriend, saying he “did not properly take care of his animals.”

In spite of this, Green had been pushing to make Westwego’s current breed discriminatory ordinance into an all out ban.

There had been a lot of confusion about what the proposal actually entailed, with some even claiming that this proposal was not a breed discriminatory ordinance, based on massive miscommunication from some in the area. Westwego’s full ordinance can be viewed here.  It is clear from reading the ordinance that this was a ban.  Only dogs registered within 60 days of the ordinances passage would have been allowed to stay, and only after the owners complied with a long list of requirements including $100,000 in liability insurance, confinement requirements inside and outside the house, spay/neuter and a host of other regulations.

According to a story on, Green pulled the proposal indefinitely after failing to garner the support of his fellow council members.

A public hearing was held on the matter, during which clear opposition came from the newly elected council members, as well as the residents.  Only one resident spoke in favor of a breed discriminatory ordinance but, according to the report, they supported the current breed discriminatory law that is on the books in Westwego.  Current law requires owners of pit bulls to confine the dog in a kennel when not under the supervision of the owner or inside the house and restrict the number of targeted dogs allowed.  The owner of the dogs involved in the attack was in violation of all the current restrictions in Westwego.

One Councilman pointed out that the insurance was impossible to get. Insurance coverage in Louisiana tends to be extremely discriminatory towards certain breeds of dogs, making getting coverage nearly impossible.  Coverage that could have been obtained is incredibly expensive.

The most profound statement in the article was made by Fifth District Councilman Larry Warino Sr., “Legislation after the fact is sometimes not the best legislation.”

Councilman Green claims that he has received death threats over this matter.  It is never right to threaten officials, no matter how much we may disagree with their opinion.  Councilman Green’s heart was in the right place, feeling that he was doing something to try to protect the community and finding justice for the victim, who Green described as a close friend.  The fact that he did not know the repercussions of this ordinance speaks more to a lack of knowledge on the topic than anything else.  It is never to the benefit of the community to speak out of anger or emotion.  One could say that this ordinance was drafted out of emotion.  We can and must do better.  The facts are on the side of owner focused, breed neutral laws.  The case for public safety needs no threats or emotional pleas to be recognized and is better received when those things are left out of the discussion.

The injuries the victim suffered are life altering in a way many of us will never be able to comprehend. When a friend is hurt this way, we all experience anger and a sense of helplessness.  Often breed discriminatory laws are proposed or enacted as a result of these feelings.  Cooler heads must prevail on all sides in order for the community to benefit and become a safe and humane community for all.

Though Green is saying his proposal is pulled indefinitely, it may still become an issue in the future.  When an official does not let a proposal get voted down, it usually means they intend to bring it forward in the future.  Now would be the time for residents and locals to reach out to offer strong breed neutral alternative.  We do hope that officials take a look at their current laws to find the weaknesses and strengthen them in a breed neutral way to make everyone safe from reckless dog owners, no matter what their dog looks like.

Thank you Ken Foster and the Sula Foundation for the ordinance and for your continued work in the area fighting for a breed neutral law.

North Carolina bill to restrict multiple breeds is nixed

Rep. Rodney Moore, of North Carolina, was not anticipating the backlash he received in response to his bill that would restrict multiple breeds of dogs and their mixes.

We have been hearing rumors that he pulled the bill since roughly 72 hours after the bills introduction.

This bill is officially dead, though there is some confusion as to whether this was a voluntary action or an action by the assigned committee.  In a news report it is stated the bill died in committee, not that Rep. Moore pulled it.

The breeds of dogs targeted by this bill were Rottweiler, Mastiff, Chow, Presa Canario, wolf hybrid, pit bull (which are defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier).

In the same report Rep. Moore is quote saying, “he wasn’t sure that the breeds designated by the bill as aggressive are ones “with the most incidents,” but he said they “were the most prevalent by the feedback that I’ve gotten.”

Initially, Rep. Moore was saying that he created the list of targeted breeds based off of those restricted by insurance companies.  This may be the “feedback” he is referring to.

Regardless of the reason the bill has died, we are pleased with the outcome.

Some people having been expressing support for this legislation, which would require a criminal background check, as well as a class to own the previously mentioned dogs.  We feel that a much larger point was being missed in support of the bill. Aside from the fact the breed discrimination is breed discrimination, no matter how you package it, this bill by default would have legally labeled all dogs of those breeds, their mixes and their look a likes as aggressive.

We already know where this road leads. We can look to Ohio as an example.  The severity of the restrictions does not matter. Such a label on the state level targeting certain breeds creates an avalanche of local municipalities that create tighter restrictions on the same dogs targeted by state law, as well as creating a dangerous precedent for other states.  One can applaud intentions but should never applaud intentions implemented in a thoughtless or reckless way that would create a swath of chaos in its wake.

First alert for NC, Second alert for NC

Chippewa Falls Wisconsin rejects breed discrimination

Thursday night city leaders in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin rejected the call for a ban that would target certain types of dogs.

City leaders agreed Thursday night at a Committee of the Whole meeting that a ban on any single dog breed would not be a positive solution to the city’s dog problems.Read more

Rejection of a breed discriminatory law was unanimous among the committee members.  Instead, they will be looking at breed neutral regulations that will add stiffer penalties for people who are not operating proper care and control of their dogs.  The changes being looked at are increasing fines for dogs at large, hiring an animal control officer to deal with dogs at large, and administrative fees for people whose dogs are confiscated and causing expense to the city.

Officials are also looking into a better way to proactively protect the community from dogs that have proven to be a danger to the community, like clearer administrative protocols for dogs that have already shown dangerous behavior.

We applaud officials for rejecting the unenforceable and going, instead, to common sense effective alternatives to creating a safer community for all the residents of Chippewa falls.  Constituents may reach out and thank them for doing what is best for the entire community.

Royal Oak Michigan goes breed neutral

After an attack on a dog in December, Royal Oak Michigan was considering instituting a breed specific law.  Monday March 18th the Board of Commissioners met in Royal Oak to discuss amendments to the cities dangerous dog laws.

City Attorney David Gillam recommended that Royal Oak adopt an ordinance similar to Farmington Hills and Wyandotte, which both have three classifications for dogs: dangerous, potentially dangerous and all others. Currently, Royal Oak has no way to address dogs that do not technically meet the definition of dangerous but that have exhibited behavior that would allow officials to reasonably conclude that the dog may become a threat to the community.  It short they have no “potentially dangerous” classification.

Officials will also be conducting a “dog census.” Council members said that almost all dogs that have been found at large or involved in a bite were unregistered. The census will be an attempt to begin getting a handle on exactly how many dogs there are in town and increasing registration numbers.

The following is an excerpt from the commission meeting letter on this matter from last night.

The chief of police has discussed the issue with the City’s Animal Control Officer.  At this time, neither the Police Department nor my office supports the adoption of a breed specific ordinance here in Royal Oak.”

The full letter can be found here.

Congratulations to Royal Oak advocates on a job well done.

Previous Alert for Royal Oak.