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South Dakota bill end prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level goes to the Governor

The South Dakota bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws in the state, SB 75, passed the full House.

The vote was 41-28, for the bill.  SB 75 now moves to the Governor’s desk.  The Governor can either sign the bill or veto it.  If he signs it, the South Dakota will become the 18th state to outlaw breed discrimination on the state level.

This bill was passed through the process at an incredible speed.   SB 75 had its first reading on January 23rd.   The bill received a favorable vote by the Senate committee of 6-1 on January 31st and was moved to the full Senate.

The February 4th vote by the full Senate was very close.   The bill barely passed with 19 votes for and 16 against.  There was a lot of talk of opposition to the premise of the bill, but as we have seen in the past, there were some whose issue was states power versus municipal rights to self governance.

The bill comfortably passed the House committee on February 27th with a 10 to 3 vote for the bill to be moved to the full House.  On March 4th, the bill had its final House vote of 41-28.

The text of the bill is very simple.

Section 1. That chapter 40-34 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:   No local government, as defined in § 6-1-12, may enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance, policy, resolution, or other enactment that is specific as to the breed or perceived breed of a dog. This section does not impair the right of any local government unit to enact, maintain, or enforce any form of regulation that applies to all dogs.”

It appears that this bill may nullify existing ordinances.  The fact that it specifics that a municipality may not maintain or enforce a breed discriminatory law points to a retro active application.

We will not know for sure until the bill is signed and applied.  Some times the language is too vague to really know the intent of the legislators until the issue of existing ordinance is raised after the bill comes into effect.

South Dakota residents should reach out the Governor Dennis Daugaard via the states website and ask that he sign SB 75 into law.

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Missouri HB 1116 to prohibit breed discrimination on the state level passes committee

A bill in Missouri that would prohibit municipalities from enacting breed discriminatory laws has been heard by the House judiciary Committee.

HB 1116 is very simple.  The bill seeks to add an amendment to the current state code that reads: “273.195. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit in any manner the authority of any village, town, or city to prohibit dogs from running at large or to further control or regulate dogs within its boundaries; provided that, no such ordinances, orders, policies, or regulations are specific to breed.”

Missouri HB 1116 has been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.   The committee voted 13-2 for the bill.  HB 1116 now goes to the full house for a vote.    If it passes the full House, the bill will move to the Senate side, where it will go through the same process of committees and hearings by the Senate.  If it passes the full Senate the bill will then need to be signed by the Governor.

The legislative process is a long one, but it is important that residents continue to contact their Senators and Representatives expressing support for this bill.

There is currently no date set for the next reading.

Some have said that there are some legislators who have received correspondence against the bill, so it is important that those residents that support the bill reach out to their legislators and ask them to support it as well.

Missouri residents can find their specific legislators in the Senate here.  House representatives can be found here.

This post has been edited to reflect that there is no second committee hearing, as was reported by a local organization.  The bill is moving to the full House so residents should contact their Representatives to ask them to support this bill.

Maryland HB 422 hearing overview

The House Judiciary Committee met to hear HB 422, a bill that would prevent breed discriminatory laws on the state level.

According to the bills sponsor, the bill was submitted due to the Solesky decision.   The bill, which if it remains as is, would outlaw breed discriminatory laws on the state level, repeal existing ordinances and prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenets with certain breeds of dogs.

The bills sponsor pointed out the some of the numerous issues caused by BDL and the precedent of the 17 states that currently outlaw BDL and the additional states that are considering anti-BDL bills this year.

Right away one member of the committee raise the issue of Prince George’s County and what would happen to their ban.  The sponsor stated that it was her intention that existing ordinances would be grandfathered in, but the language of the bill does not allow for that.  The bills sponsor said that she would amend to clarify that issue.

It is important to note that the Chief of Prince George’s County Animal Management Division was present and testified in support of the bill.  He was asked to testify for the bill by the head on the Animal Management Services Division.  During what was a compelling testimony, he stated that 793 dogs were confiscated under the ban in the 2013 fiscal year.   Roughly 75% of confiscated dogs were euthanized.  $250,000 have been spent in Prince George’s County on enforcement of the ban in 2 years.  He also testified that the number one biter was either labs or cocker spaniels.  He stated that the ban has done nothing for Prince George’s County but separate well-behaved dogs from good families and that the focus needs to be on effective solutions.  He testified that the ban has not worked for Prince George’s County.

The portion of the bill which was most hotly contested was the portion relating to landlords.  Many people testified in support of the bill, with the exception of that particular portion.  Considering that the legislature has failed to address the effects of the court ruling, that particular portion of the bill would put landlords in an impossible position.  Again, amendments were suggested to remove the language pertaining to landlord discrimination.

Many people testified in support of the bill, but very oppose it.  Not surprisingly, Tony Solesky, whose son was the center point in the appeals court ruling, testified against.  There was a pattern during that day’s hearing.  There were many bills regarding dangerous dogs that were heard.  Tony Solesky testified against every single one regarding dangerous dogs, and spent the entire time focusing on breed instead of lobbying for effective solutions that have a chance of effecting change, and passing through the process.

For example, HB 371 was heard.  This bill is to strengthen the dangerous dog laws in breed neutral way.  Increasing penalties, and strengthening the requirements for those who have dangerous dogs.  Solesky testified against strengthening the dangerous dog laws because it was breed neutral and behavior based and tried to lobby for the bill to be breed based, saying that Maryland should be able to “…simply eliminate certain breeds of dogs the same way we eliminate, why wild animals aren’t allowed among us.”

This stark opposition to any form of solidifying the dangerous dog laws in a breed neutral way is confounding.  Victims are no more or less of a victim if they are attacked by one type of dog or another.  We point to this specifically in order to show that the issue is not really about public safety for the pro-BDL lobby.

Maryland legislators have heard a lot of information about the failures of breed discriminatory laws over the last few years.  Many of them come into the hearing for HB 422 extremely well versed in the failures and short comings of such legislation.

As things stand now, the committee has not acted.  Because the sponsor has said that she is drafting amendments to the bill, it is possible that the committee will not act on the bill until that is done.

Residents of Maryland please reach out and write a brief letter of support for this bill to the committee.

Joseph.vallario@house.state.md.us
Kathleen.dumais@house.state.md.us
Curt.anderson@house.state.md.us
Sam.arora@house.state.md.us
Jill.carter@house.state.md.us
Luke.clippinger@house.state.md.us
John.cluster@house.state.md.us
Frank.conaway@house.state.md.us
Glen.glass@house.state.md.us
Michael.hough@house.state.md.us
Kevin.kelly@house.state.md.us
Susan.lee@house.state.md.us
Susan.mccomas@house.state.md.us
Mike.mcdermott@house.state.md.us
Keiffer.mitchell@house.state.md.us
Neil.parrott@house.state.md.us
Samuel.rosenberg@house.state.md.us
Luiz.simmons@house.state.md.us
Michael.smigiel@house.state.md.us
Kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us
Geraldine.valentino.smith@house.state.md.us
Jeff.waldstreicher@house.state.md.us

Breckenridge Colorado is considering a breed discriminatory law

After a dog related incident that was attributed to a dog officials describe as “pit bull terrier”, officials in Breckenridge Colorado are investigating the possibility of enacting a breed discriminatory law.  The incident in question involved a dog on dog attack.

Though Colorado state law prohibits breed based laws, Denver had successfully sued against the state based on what is called home rule.  Denver won the case, effectively opening the door to a home rule city in Colorado being allowed to enact similar laws.

Simply put, home rule is a town charter that allows a municipality the right to self governance, independent of the laws of the state.

A report created by the chief of police mentions the ability of home rule jurisdictions to be able to pass these laws.

From the report:

In 2004, the State of Colorado passed a statute prohibiting municipalities from enacting breed specific bans. The City and County of Denver filed a civil complaint citing their ability as a Home Rule entity to enact and enforce legislation as a matter of local or jurisdictional concern. The District Court upheld the right of a Home Rule municipality “to regulate dangerous dogs within its community”.

This report appears to be an investigation of the other places in Colorado that have breed discriminatory laws in place.  There was no official recommendation but the report mentions a work session that was scheduled for September 10th.

Officials set up a survey for community feedback on the issue.

Under the item asking if a person feels some breeds are more dangerous than others, there are several breeds listed for people to indicate which dogs they feel are more dangerous.

The breeds listed are Doberman, Mastiff, German Shepherd, pit bull, Malamute, Chow, Rottweiler, Husky and an “other” category.

According to the minutes of the August 27th meeting, a council member raised the issue of the dog attack, which occurred during a cycling event.

This was taken directly from the minutes of that meeting,  “Mr. Gallagher mentioned the pit bull terrier incident on Hoosier Pass during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He stated he believes Breckenridge should get in front of the situation and do something about aggressive dogs in general and pit bulls in particular. Mayor Warner polled the Council on their thoughts about this issue and the decision was made to charge staff with identifying problem breeds and look to see what other communities have done regarding this issue.

The statement of “identifying problem breeds” implies what the survey backs up, that, should they continue down this path, they will be restricting multiple breeds, their mixes and look a likes.

The minutes from a subsequent meeting contain the following excerpt, “We would like to have a bigger discussion about dogs and people being irresponsible with their pets. Look for some more conversation in the community.”

Residents of Breckenridge should reach out now to their council members and ask that all dog owners be held to the same standards.  The importance of making sure that everyone in the community is safe from dangerous dogs of all kinds should be stressed.  Politely and respectfully oppose any breed discriminatory laws and point out their failure to improve public safety.  Since officials were looking at Denver, you can view information on Denver’s failure here: http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/state-by-state-information/co/denver

Breed neutral alternatives can be found here: https://stopbsl.org/alternatives-to-bsl/

There is no direct contact information available for the Mayor or the Town Council but there is an online contact form available on the cities website.

Rhode Island HB5671 assigned to committee

The Rhode Island bill to prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level has officially been assigned to committee.

Initial information was that the bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  A last-minute change, however, puts the bill in the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.  This Committee will be meeting next on Monday July 1st, and it is very possible that HB5671 could be heard then.

When writing please put Support HB5671 in the subject line so legislators can see the support without having to read all of the e-mails.

There is opposition coming out of the places that have breed discriminatory laws, most notably Pawtucket,  so the more support offered, the better.  Officials from Pawtucket have done several interviews in opposition to the bill, and we can be sure they are also talking to legislators in opposition.  In the House vote those legislators who voted against this bill were from these areas.

The contact info for this committee is below:

Chairman: sen-sosnowski@rilin.state.ri.us

sen-archambault@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-bates@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-conley@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-coolrumsey@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-goldin@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-goodwin@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-kettle@rilin.state.ri.us
sen-walaska@rilin.state.ri.us

Rhode Island HB5671 to prohibit breed discriminatory laws advances to Senate

Today Rhode Island HB5671 passed the full House with a vote of 59-9.

The bill, which would prohibit any municipality from enacting a breed discriminatory law, was initially recommended to be held for further study by the House Committee.  The bill was held for over a month but was subsequently passed unanimously out of Committee. A little over a week later the bill passed the full House.

HB5671 now moves onto the Senate side, beginning with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sources inside Rhode Island have stated that more support is needed to push this bill through the Senate.  The legislative session in Rhode Island ends soon.  Legislators have been tallying supportive e-mails so it is imperative that everyone reach out and express support for this bill.

Below is the contact information for the committee.  Please remember to use the cc or bcc function when copying the e-mail addresses.  Despite sources knowing a large number of people who wrote in support of this bill, many of the legislators have said they have not received a lot of correspondence about it.  E-mails with many addresses in the “to” line are usually bounced into spam boxes, so dividing the addresses is extremely important to making sure they are received by legislators.

When writing include “Support HB5671” in the subject line so that those who are going through the e-mails do not have to read the entire thing to know what it is about.  This will make any “at a glance” tallying easier and more effective.

Committee Chairman: sen-mccaffrey@rilin.state.ri.us

sen-archambault@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-conley@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-hodgson@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-jabour@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lombardi@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-lynch@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-metts@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-nesselbush@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-raptakis@rilin.state.ri.us

Connecticut HB6311 to prohibit breed discrimination moves to the Governor’s desk

This Thursday the Connecticut bill to out law breed discriminatory laws on the state level passed the full Senate with a vote of 30-4.  The bill now moves to the Governor to be signed into law. The bill must go to the House for concurrence first but this is usually a very simple matter especially since the bill was voted for unanimously.

If the Governor signs the bill, this will not only be the 15th state to out-law breed discriminatory laws but it would also be the second state this year to do so, following Nevada AB110 that was just signed into law.

If signed the bill would go into effect October 1st 2013. There is no home rule exemption in this bill and there is also no grandfather clause.  This means that any place with a discriminatory law in place would have to repeal it.

Connecticut residents: Please reach out to Governor Dannel P. Malloy and ask that he sign this bill, ensuring that the real causes of dangerous dogs are addressed at the municipal level.

You can e-mail the Governor via the states website.