Tag Archives: bsl repealed

Spring Hill, Kansas, repeals breed ban

Spring Hill Kansas has repealed their ban on “pit bull dogs.”

The old law, which was passed in 2008, defined a pit bull dog as follows:

Any pit bull dog.  (1) “Pit bull dog” means:
a. The bull terrier breed of dog;
b. The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog;
c. The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
d. The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
e. Dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than above-listed which breed or mixed breed is known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers;
f. Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of Bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier; any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers; or a combination of any of these breeds.

The penalties for violation were severe, with fines of up to $2,000 and up to 179 days in jail.  This ordinance was rare, in that it included the reasoning for the original passage of the ban.

“1. That as a breed of dogs, all pit bulls are inherently dangerous.
2. That the possession of pit bulls within the City poses a significant threat to the public’s health, safety and welfare.
3. That numerous instances of attacks by pit bulls have occurred against members of this community and attacks by pit bulls in surrounding communities have resulted in serious injuries.
4. That protective measures by pit bull owners are inadequate to protect the public from attacks by these animals.”

On November 13th, the city council approved the final reading of an ordinance to repeal the breed ban.  The issue was originally raised at a previous meeting and the city took on the task of investigating the issue.  Topeka, Kansas’ dangerous dog law was selected for review.  The council notes  mention Topeka’s breed neutrality, and the issues they had found with their former breed discriminatory law and the cost to tax payers.

Topeka had a breed discriminatory law that was repealed in 2010.  It makes sense that the Spring Hill Council would look at the information from there, considering that Topeka had a committee that spent substantial time and energy reworking the animal control ordinances.

The breed neutral law goes into effect after its publication in the local news.  The new law will prohibit any dog that is declared dangerous, based on the actions of the animal, and not it’s perceived breed.

South Bend Indiana unanimously repeals breed discriminatory law

After much hard work, officials in South Bend, Indiana, have voted on the new animal control ordinance that includes the repeal of the long-standing breed discriminatory law.  They voted unanimously to pass the new law and repeal the outdated breed discriminatory law.

Passed in 1987, the law restricted American Pit Bull Terriers and those resembling this breed only.  The ordinance was very clear in the definition that American Pit Bull Terrier was defined as the UKC (United Kennel Club) and ADBA (American Dog Breeders Association) standard.

” American Pit Bull Terrier means the breed of dog registered and described by the United Kennel Club (U.K.C) and the American Dog Breeders Association (A.D.B.A.) as the American Pit Bull Terrier, also known as the pit bull terrier, and any crossbreed of the American Pit Bull Terrier; but does not include the breeds known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the English Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, or the Bulldog, all of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.).”

This particular definition had proven to be completely unenforceable considering that it specifically excluded so many breeds and types that are typically lumped into the definition of “pit bull.”

The repeal is not surprising, considering the breadth of the ordinance that is taking its place.  A work group was formed over a year ago to study the issue and the current law, and to draft changes.  The group took their time, forming a new law based on best practices in the industry regarding the care and control of all animals.

Councilwoman Valerie Schey took the issue on head first, recognizing, based on municipal statistics, that the current animal control ordinance wasn’t working to do what was intended.  The changes to the ordinance began in early 2013.

Interestingly, the animal control changes coincided with the dismissal of the long time head of animal control back in April of 2013.  In a local story on the dismissal, Schey commented that “Even though we’ve made significant strides in the care we provide with the new building, I still don’t feel the (euthanasia) numbers are where they need to be.”

Though the media made it seem like the issue of repeal was a hotly contested one, there were no speakers in favor of keeping the old breed discriminatory law at the meeting.

To say the new animal control ordinance is a comprehensive one would be an understatement.  The ordinance covers breeding practices, standards for animal related businesses, animal based entertainment, husbandry issues for all kinds of animals, from horses to bees.  There are detailed definitions for dangerous, potentially dangerous and vicious animals.  There are additions to the law that outline the standard of care for animal owners.  Specific to dogs, there are tethering provisions, husbandry issues addressed and a more detailed dangerous dog law that includes due process for owners, which had been seriously lacking in the old law.

The ordinance is 60 pages and contains some fabulous provisions that will make South Bend a safer and more humane community, which was the goal of Schey when she undertook this project.

South Bend also highlights another issue we have seen recently where proponents of breed discriminatory laws have been interfering with the local legislative process.  We are aware of several well-known pro-BDL advocates, who live out-of-state, that wrote to the legislators misrepresenting themselves as residents.  This has become a recent trend that can be seen in other municipalities as well, Riverside and Pasadena, California, Aurora, Colorado and Missouri are just a few of the other places these tactics are being used.  These people, however are increasingly being seen for what they are, as residents come forward and dominate the conversation, overwhelmingly against breed discriminatory laws.  Councils are more aware than ever that this handful of people, and the groups they represent, are using these tactics in an attempt to sway the conversation, but have no presence in the actual community.

We would like to congratulate Councilwoman Schey for her hard work in crafting the new law, and setting South Bend on the path to becoming a model city for animal care and control.


Garden City Kansas repeals breed discriminatory law

Garden City officials have been considering a repeal of their long-standing breed discriminatory restrictions since late 2013.

At last nights meeting officials were set to hear a proposal to repeal their breed discriminatory law that targeted “American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier, or any mixed animal that appears to be predominantly one of those breeds.”

Officials voted to repeal the old breed discriminatory law at this meeting.

Under the old law, those previously mentioned breeds were considered to be vicious by default.  Owners of targeted breeds had to abide by the restrictions set out for dogs that had previously attacked, even though they had done nothing wrong in the community.  This included muzzling, confinement requirements and posted sign as well as a handful of other restrictions often seen in these laws.

A local attorney had asked the commission to consider repealing the law back in December of 2013.  As a result of last nights vote, all dogs will be targeted based on their behavior instead of their appearance.

The city attorney had immediately expressed support for repealing when the issue was raised, and had stated that he had the conversation with other officials about a repeal before.

Congratulations to those in Garden City.  This was truly a grassroots effort, with presentations by concerned citizens, and officials that listened to their concerns and responded accordingly.

Clayton MO unanimously repeals breed discriminatory law

Clayton Missouri repealed their long-standing breed discriminatory law.

The old law considered all “pit bulls” to be dangerous and mandated a list of requirements to own one.  The requirements included registration and reporting. The dogs had to wear a bright orange collar and be confined per the ordinance, be on a leash and wear a muzzle. The owner must post warning signs, keep liability insurance.

From the ordinance, a targeted dog was defined as follows: “Any bull terrier breed of dog, which shall be defined as any Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog and/or any American pit bull terrier breed of dog and/or any American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog and/or any mixed breed of dog which contains, as an element of its breeding, genetic components of the aforementioned bull terrier breed of dog and/or any dog which has the appearance and characteristics and is known by the owner to be predominantly of the breeds of the bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and/or any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers or a combination of any of these breeds.

This is a good example of the broad reaching definition of “pit bull” some municipalities take.

Examining the ordinance, it becomes clear why this was repealed.  Not only has the language “as an element of its breeding” been challenged and struck down in court, the general definition is so wide and to literally encompass anything that has short hair and is a medium-sized dog.

Thought there is not much information at this point, we do know from those that attended the meeting, it was repealed unanimously.

Canton Michigan officials vote to repeal breed discriminatory law

Tuesday night, officials in Canton unanimously voted to repeal their 20-year-old restrictions on dog deemed to be pit bulls.

The old ordinance targeted, “Any dog known by the owner to be a pit terrier, which shall be defined as any American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog known to contain as an element of its breeding any of such breeds.”  Dogs that met this definition were considered vicious by default.

It is important to note that the specific language that is included in the old ordinance, the “as an element of its breeding,” has been subject to litigation and defeated as lacking in a rational basis.

Owners of targeted dog, under the old ordinance, had to have the dog tattooed, muzzled, confined according to the ordinance and have a file with animal control.

Officials said that the restrictions were passed when other places were instituting bans in the area.  It is not uncommon for areas to enact similar ordinances, as well as repeal ordinances, in tandem with what surrounding areas do.  Breed discriminatory laws were at their height during this period and there was no data to support or oppose them as related to public safety.  As more data mounts against these kinds of laws as effecting means to improve the safety in the community, more places are repealing their old laws, leading into more places repealing.

The changes come after a local couple with a targeted dog approached the council and advocated for the removal of the breed discriminatory language.

The revised ordinance still addresses the issue of dangerous dogs but dogs will no longer be target based on their looks, but rather on the manner in which they are being handled in the community, as well as their behavior.  All dogs are still required to be maintained on a leash except for designated off leash areas.

The changes will take effect in the end of January after the second reading of the repeal is approved.

Bonner Springs Kansas lifts pit bull ban

Monday night officials in Bonner Springs Kansas voted to repeal their ban on pit bulls.

Last year a dog named Titan was picked up by the local animal control as being a banned dog.  When the dog was adopted several years ago it was listed as a terrier mix and adopted legally, but when animal control became involved they decided the dog was banned.  Animal control became involved when a neighbor called to complain about the dog.

The owner went to city officials to ask them to reconsider the ban.  In response city officials put together a task force to examine the issue.  The task force recommended repealing the ban.

Earlier this year one council member had said he supported the ban because he was concerned about animal controls ability to handle “large dogs.”

While handling of an animal could be a concern, the nature of animal control should involve training that helps to actively control any animal regardless of size or temperament.

Most of the council were immediately supportive.  Councilmen Jack Knight noted that, “Some of these ordinances go back and a lot of them has to be changed.”

Council President Tom Stephens was also supportive of the change.  He said, while researching the issue, he had found a book, likely the Pit Bull Placebo, that discussed how different breeds have been demonized throughout history.

“Sometimes we get a false sense of security if we look at a breed and say ‘That breed is the problem, so if we make a law banning it, we’ll be O.K.,’” Stephens said back in July of 2013.

This had not been the first time a resident had requested the change, and city officials listened to their constituents, researched the issue and repealed their ban, based on the facts.

The changes to the law will take effect on January 16th.

Orrville Ohio Repeals breed specific law

We received a heads up from an unnamed source that Orrville Ohio has repealed their breed specific law and have confirmed this is in fact true!  This repeal is already in affect. The minutes from the first meeting cite the repeal of Ohio’s state law one of the reasons for the change, as well as the hard work of advocates out there.  The minutes of that meeting can be found here. In a meeting on Dec. 17th 2012 the second reading took place and a unanimous vote repealed their BSL.  The minutes of the second meeting can be found here.

The portion relating to BSL is as follows…

Leathers moved that Ordinance W-12 be place on 2nd reading. Aspiras seconded. Roll call vote. All ayes. Motion carried. ORDINANCE W-12, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 505 RELATING TO DANGEROUS AND VICIOUS DOGS OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF ORRVILLE, OHIO, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

Baker: Second reading on this one. Anyone have any comments this evening? I see none.
Leathers moved that the rules, regulations, and statutes requiring the reading of an ordinance on three separate days be suspended. Corfman seconded. Roll call vote. All ayes. Motion carried.
Leathers moved that Ordinance W-12 be adopted as read. Shupp seconded. Roll call vote. All ayes. Motion carried.

The current breed neutral ordinance can be found in our file Orrville Ohio’s breed neutral ordinance.

The old ordinance is no longer on the website but the wording of the portion in question is the following.

“(4) A. “Vicious dog” means a dog that, without provocation and subject to subsection (a)(4)B. hereof, meets any of the following:

1. Has killed or caused serious injury to any persons;

2. Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury to any person, or has killed another dog;

3. Is a pit bull terrier, the ownership, keeping or harboring of such a dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.”

Congratulations to Orrville and the hard working advocates out there fighting BSL.