Category Archives: Non-BSL

Massachusetts S.2192 signed by governor

Massachusetts S.2192, a comprehensive overhaul of Massachusetts state animal control laws, was signed by the governor today. The new law specifically states: “No city or town shall regulate dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.”

In essence, BSL will be illegal in Massachusetts when the law goes into effect at the end of October. Massachusetts joins 12 other U.S. states that prohibit municipalities from passing breed-specific laws.

The big question now is: What about the cities in Massachusetts that currently have BSL in place?

The answer is not as cut and dry as you’d expect. State law generally preempts (takes precedence over) municipal ordinances, but there are several ways that cities can get around the preemption and keep their BSL, most commonly using “grandfathering” (as happened in Miami-Dade) or “home rule” (as is common in Colorado and Illinois) justifications. In particular, every state handles home rule a bit differently; some states severely limit home rule powers, while other states are more flexible. From what I’ve gathered so far, there are differing opinions about whether cities that are in conflict with the new state law (e.g. Boston) can use home rule as a viable defense of their BSL.

I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but unfortunately, we may have to wait for a better answer. I expect that, as news of the law’s passage sinks in, city councils across the state will consult with their attorneys to figure out what, if anything, they need to do in response to the changes in state law. Legislators and judges may also weigh in. We’ll know more as time goes on.

In the meantime, congratulations to Massachusetts for sweeping animal control reform and for making a stand against BSL.

Law bans breed-specific dog regulation

By Steve Decosta,
August 02, 2012 6:06 PM

With New Bedford Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel by his side today, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a new, broad-based animal control bill into law, that, among its many provisions, prevents the regulation of dogs based solely on breed.

Stating clearly that “No city or town shall regulate dogs in a manner that is specific to breed,” the legislation ends debate in New Bedford and elsewhere on whether pits bulls should be banned.

The law further states that “no dog shall be deemed dangerous … based upon the breed of such dog.” […]

Full article retrieved 8/2/12 from

Many thanks to the MSPCA for keeping us up to date. Visit their page to learn more about the many changes that this bill brings to Massachusetts:

Bill tracking page:

All alerts for S.2192:

Hammond, LA update: Proposed dog laws will not be breed specific

Earlier this year, Hammond, LA, was looking at some new dog laws with a special focus on “pit bulls.” The city has now written up some proposed dog laws that, according to the article below, are not breed-specific.

We are waiting to receive the actual proposal to confirm that this is the case. But for now, Hammond appears to have rejected BSL.

All alerts for Hammond:

Hammond council to consider toughening dog ordinances

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News

HAMMOND, La. — A committee in Hammond charged with creating new elements to the city’s vicious dog ordinance has finalized its recommendation for the city council.

[…] The current ordinance does not outline any specific breed […]

Full article retrieved 7/12/12 from

New York: Assembly Bill 3507 would prohibit insurance breed discrimination

New York Assembly Bill 3507 prohibits insurers from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium for homeowners’ insurance policies based on the breed of a dog owned.

Insurers may still take any of these actions if the individual dog has been declared dangerous. (In New York, dogs cannot be declared dangerous based on breed.)

This bill has passed the Assembly and is now on the Senate side.

New York residents, please contact your Senators and show your support for this bill! Find your Senator here:

Bill tracking page:

Many thanks to North East Animal Rescue for the info.

Waterbury, CT: Proposed animal ordinance revisions are not breed-specific

We have finally gotten a copy of Waterbury alderman Brunelli’s proposed animal ordinance revisions, and we are pleased to say that the revisions are not breed-specific.

The proposal is not exactly easy to find, so here it is (PDF): waterbury_brunelli_proposal

There will be a public hearing on the proposed revisions on June 11 at 6:30 PM in the council chambers. You must be a Waterbury resident to speak.

As we have confirmed that BSL is not a concern, StopBSL will no longer actively track Waterbury. However, locals and residents are encouraged to attend the public hearing and stay actively involved in the lawmaking process.

All alerts for Waterbury:

Wareham, MA: Dog bylaws will be revised (whispers of BSL)

Wareham, MA, was considering breed-neutral revisions to their breed-neutral dog bylaws. The revisions failed to pass, and the council decided to create a committee to look at the proposal further. However, some of the residents and the animal control officer expressed concerns about the danger of specific breeds. We are concerned that the committee may consider or add breed-specific restrictions to the proposal while they are looking at it.

Residents of Wareham are encouraged to inquire and get on the committee that will discuss the revisions further. This is an opportunity to provide reasonable breed-neutral solutions and education to guide the direction of the town’s dog ordinance revisions.

Dog laws postponed for Fall 2012 Town Meeting

By Rishi Sidhu | May 02, 2012

Town Meeting decided on Tuesday to further study a proposed bylaw aimed to prevent dog bites and excessive dog barking after voters expressed concern that the regulations were too restrictive to individual dog owners. […]

Ultimately, the proposed bylaw failed, though voters OK’d the creation of a “Dog Regulation By-law Committee,” which will meet once per month and draft a bylaw for approval at Town Meeting in the fall.

The five-member committee will consist of the Animal Control Officer, one member of the Board of Selectmen, and three citizens-at-large.

Full article retrieved 5/2/12 from

Nevada: Assemblyman plans to introduce bill to make BSL illegal

Nevada’s 2013 legislative session will be an exciting one!

Assemblyman John Hambrick plans to introduce a bill in 2013 that would prohibit Nevada municipalities from passing BSL. If the bill passes, Nevada would become the 13th state in the U.S. to prohibit its municipalities from passing BSL.

This isn’t Hambrick’s first attempt to “ban BSL” in Nevada. In 2011, he sponsored Assembly Bill 324. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t get far before bogging down in committee and missing a critical deadline.

Although we have a while before the 2013 legislative session, supporters of the new bill are already organizing. Let’s help Nevada make BSL illegal in 2013!

You can help Nevada become BSL-free.

Sign the online petition to make breed discrimination illegal in Nevada:

Nevada residents, contact your assembly members and senators and tell them you want to make breed discrimination illegal in Nevada.
Legislator Finder:

Up for a bigger challenge? Hambrick could use some additional sponsors for his bill (more sponsors means a better chance of survival). Ask your assembly members to sign on to Hambrick’s bill.

Join up with other supporters.
Las Vegas-based Incred-a-Bull is on top of the initiative.
Facebook page:

West Virginia HB 4432 would prohibit breed discrimination by property insurance co

Update 5/28/12: The legislative session is over and this bill is dead.

Filed this week in West Virginia, HB 4432 is a very simple bill that would prohibit declination or termination of property insurance based solely upon a home owner’s possession of a certain breed of dog. The bill does not prohibit insurers from denying coverage for any dog that has actually bitten.

Some people have had difficulty finding a place to live with their pet dog, even if it’s well-trained and well-behaved, because it looks like a breed that the property insurance company prohibits. HB 4432 would make it possible for people to get property insurance no matter what their dog looks like. However, bills like HB 4432 can be a hard sell; insurance companies have a lot of money and influence, and they don’t like being told to stop discriminating.

With things going well for BSL repeals in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere, we feel that with enough public support, WV HB 4432 has potential to succeed.

HB 4432 has been moved to the House Banking and Insurance committee. It is not on the agenda yet. Please write the following committee members and ask them to support HB 4432.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Read the text of WV HB 4432:

All alerts for HB 4432: