Tag Archives: presa canario

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

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Maryland HB 422 would prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level

A bill that has been introduced in Maryland that would prohibit breed discriminatory laws on the state level is being heard by the House Judiciary Committee today.

The catalyst for this bill is likely the situation with the Maryland court of appeals ruling that found “pure breed pit bulls” to be inherently dangerous, and that landlords were to be held strictly liable if a tenants “pit bull” caused injury to some one.

HB 422 , a bill which currently has 10 sponsors, would do several things.  The first is that it would prevent municipalities from enacting dangerous dog laws on the local level that single out any one breed or type of dog.  This bill would also prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to a person based on the heritage of their dog, as well as protecting renters from eviction because of their dog.

This is the first state-wide bill to specifically address landlord discrimination in rental practices based on the appearance of the dog.  It is not surprising that this would come out of Maryland at this time, considering the issues that have arisen out of the Tracey v Solesky ruling.

The pertinent text of the bill is listed below.   

” (B) A MUNICIPALITY MAY NOT:
(1) ADOPT AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING A PERSON FROM OWNING, KEEPING, OR HARBORING A DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE; OR
(2) DETERMINE A DOG TO BE A NUISANCE, POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, DANGEROUS, OR INHERENTLY DANGEROUS, OR OTHERWISE REGULATE A DOG BASED ON THE BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE OF THE DOG.

12 13–102.1. (A) THIS SECTION MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT A COUNTY FROM RESTRICTING THE OWNING, KEEPING, OR HARBORING OF A DANGEROUS DOG, AS DEFINED IN § 10–619(A) OF THE CRIMINAL LAW ARTICLE, OR A DOG THAT HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO BE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS IN ACCORDANCE WITH § 10–619(C) OF THE CRIMINAL LAW ARTICLE.
(B) A COUNTY MAY NOT:
(1) ENACT A LOCAL LAW PROHIBITING A PERSON FROM OWNING, KEEPING, OR HARBORING A DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE; OR
(2) DETERMINE A DOG TO BE A NUISANCE, POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, DANGEROUS, OR INHERENTLY DANGEROUS, OR OTHERWISE REGULATE A DOG BASED ON THE BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE OF THE DOG…

(C) REGARDLESS OF THE TERMS OF ANY CONTRACT, DEED, COVENANT, RESTRICTION, INSTRUMENT, DECLARATION, RULE, BYLAW, LEASE AGREEMENT, RENTAL AGREEMENT, OR ANY OTHER DOCUMENT, A HOMEOWNER OR TENANT MAY NOT BE:
(1) PROHIBITED FROM OWNING, KEEPING, OR HARBORING A DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE; OR
(2) DENIED OCCUPANCY IN OR EVICTED FROM RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY SOLELY BECAUSE THE PERSON OWNS, KEEPS, OR HARBORS A DOG OF A SPECIFIC BREED, TYPE, OR HERITAGE.”

This bill also specifically addresses current breed discriminatory ordinances, and would nullify them. This means that any and all existing breed discriminatory laws would be repealed by this bill.

Nothing in the bill prohibits any municipality, or landlord from rejecting dogs that have proven, based on their behavior, to be dangerous.

One of the largest issues effecting shelter populations of typically targeted dogs is a lack of pet friendly rentals.  This bill is an opportunity to address this problem and will set the precedent for other states to do the same, as well as repealing the long-standing breed discriminatory ordinances in Maryland.  The bill is set for its first hearing today.  Local groups have been working hard on support for this bill.

When the hearing is completed, we will know more specifically what is needed from Maryland residents in order to help support passage of this bill.

2013 breed discrimination year in review

In 2012, everyone felt the tide was turning against breed discriminatory laws.  This year is no different.  The following is a list of confirmed passages, repeals and refusals of breed discriminatory laws in 2013.

In 2013, 3 states passed laws on the state level that prohibit breed discriminatory laws.  Connecticut, Nevada and Rhode Island joined the other states that had previously outlawed breed discrimination on the state level.

This year we saw the effects of Massachusetts’ 2012 passage of a law prohibiting breed discriminatory laws, with all the municipalities in the state repealing their laws, instead of attempting to fight to keep them.  Boston was the only municipality that made an attempt to create an exemption in the state law that failed.  There are still a few that need to be confirmed as having removed their laws from the books officially.  Those listed are ones that have been confirmed as removed from the cities code of ordinances via e-mail or phone.

The following municipalities in MA repealed their breed discriminatory laws, to be in compliance with the state law:

-Amesbury
-Boston
-Canton
-Everett
-Haverhill
-Lynn
-Medway
-Rockland
-Winthrop
-Whitman

The following municipalities have repealed a breed discriminatory law in 2013:

-Basehor, Kansas
-Osawatomie, Kansas
-Garnett, Kansas
-Riverside Missouri
-Annapolis, Missouri
-Waunakee, Wisconsin
-Darlington, Wisconsin
-Bessemer, Pennsylvania
-Wooster, Ohio
-Pickering, Ohio
-Orrville, Ohio
-Welsh, Louisiana

The following places had a partial repeal of their breed discriminatory laws:

-Newark, Ohio
-Bloomer, Wisconsin
-Dodge City, Kansas

The following places rejected breed discriminatory laws:

-Waterloo, Iowa
-Camanche, Iowa
-Ringstead, Iowa
-Baker City, Oregon
-Breckenridge, Colorado
-Greybull, Wyoming
-Watertown, Wisconsin
-Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
-Rockaway Beach, Missouri
-Westwego, Louisiana
-Columbus, Nebraska
-Great Bend, Kansas
-Manderson, Wyoming (rejected adding additional  breeds to existing ban)
-Flint, Michigan
-Lansing, Michigan
-Royal Oak, Michigan
-Broward County, Florida
-Bronwood, Georgia

The following states had failed attempts to pass breed discriminatory laws at the state level or to repeal state level prohibitions on BDL:

-North Carolina
-Tennessee
-Rhode Island
-Oklahoma
-Massachusetts

The following places passed a breed discriminatory law:

-Riverside City, California (spay/neuter)
-Riverside County, California (spay/neuter)
-Dover Arkansas (ban)
-Garland County, Arkansas (confinement)
-Murfreesboro, Arkansas (ban)
-Livingston County, Kentucky (restrictions)
-Clay, Alabama (ban: In litigation)
-Bluefield, West Virginia (ban)
-Hornbeak, Tennessee (restrictions)
-Schuyler, Nebraska (restrictions)

In Summation, we have 3 states pass prohibitions against breed discriminatory laws and 5 states who rejected either a state-wide restriction, or an attempt to repeal the prohibitions against BDL.  One of those states, Rhode Island, went from a bill to restrict breeds at the state level, to a prohibition against breed discriminatory laws at the state level in one year.

Additionally, New Mexico and Georgia both proposed state level prohibitions.  New Mexico came close to passing a state level prohibition against BDL, but the legislative session ended before a final vote was taken.  The bill had passed all other steps nearly unanimously.   The Georgia prohibition was attached to some very controversial measures and though legislators were supportive of the aspect addressing BDL, they were not supportive of the other sections, so the bill died.  At least 5 states looked into prohibiting discrimination in insurance practices, Maine, New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Massachusetts.  Most of these bills were tabled for study.

There were 10 passages this year that effect 14 distinct breeds, and their mixes, as well as wolf hybrids.  The breeds effected by the places that passed these laws are as follows: Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Akitas, Chows, American Bulldogs, Dogo Argentino,  Presa Canario, Cane Corso, American Bandogge and Wolf hybrids.

There were 12 municipalities who decided, based on the evidence, to repeal their breed discriminatory laws, and 10 that repealed due to a state law having been enacted, bringing total repeals to at least 20.

There were at least 18 municipalities who had a proposal that was rejected.  This number is actually much higher than what is listed here.  The reason for this is that there are quite a few places that had a proposal or recommendation that was breed discriminatory that has not been officially rejected, but rather “tabled indefinitely.”  Only places that officially rejected a proposal or recommendation were counted.

While we tend to focus on places considering breed based laws, it is important to note that there have been hundreds of places (at the very least) that amended their dangerous dog laws in 2013.  Only a very small minority ever even consider targeting certain breeds or types of dogs.  

Breed discriminatory laws are not the norm now, nor have they ever been.

We try our hardest to make sure these numbers are as accurate as possible but there may be some omissions.  Should there be something we missed, that is between the dates of January 1st, 2013 and December 31st, 2013 that can be confirmed, please feel free to reach out to us at StopBSL.org@gmail.com, so that we may correct the omission.

Nevada, AB 110, to prevent breed discrimination, advances to full Senate vote

A bill to prevent breed discrimination at the state level has been working its way through the Nevada legislature. Despite some opposition during the Senate Judiciary Committee, we have just found out that AB110 has passed the committee unanimously.

The results of the vote can no doubt be linked to the hard work of representatives from Best Friends Animal Society. Last week on Pit Bulletin Legal News Radio, Laura Handzel discussed some of the issues that had been raised by the committee and how, through respectful and clear communication, the concerns of the legislators were addressed.  Most of the objections revolved around either the issue of home rule or a general misunderstanding of the bill and breed discriminatory laws in general. The efficacy of the approach is reflected in the unanimous vote.  Even those legislators who had the largest opposing voice voted in favor of ending breed discrimination in Nevada.

Nevada residents: The bill is almost there! The full Senate vote should come up soon so please contact your Senators to ask that they support this bill. After the vote it just needs to be signed into law. Reach out and ask your Senators to support this bill.

You can find your respective Senators here.

Or if you are having trouble with wording you can us the contact form Best Friends has set up. Click here for the Best Friends Action alert.

Nevada AB 110, the bill to prevent breed discrimination, needs help NOW

We received an e-mail from Ledy VanKavage of Best Friends Animal Society that AB 110, the bill to prevent breed discrimination on the state level,  has hit a speed bump.  One Senator in particular has pushed the case to the committee that municipalities should be able to ban any breeds they want. This bill may not make it out of committee.

NEVADA RESIDENTS: AB 110 NEEDS you now!

Please call and write the members of the committee today to urge them to support this bill.  We have been asked to urge folks to cite studies on the failure of breed discriminatory legislation to make communities safer. As usual be polite and professional.

You can find information to include here.

Best Friends Animal Society has a form to contact the members of the committee.

Phone numbers for the committee:

Aaron Ford: 702-772-5544

Tick Segerblom: 775-684-1422

Ruben Kihuen: 702-274-1707

Justin Jones: 775-684-1421

Greg Bower: 775-684-1419

Scott Hammond: 702-523-9055

Mark Hutchinson: 702-233-2049

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

North Carolina HB956 assigned to committee

UPDATED INFORMATION HERE

The North Carolina bill to restrict ownership of multiple breeds of dogs has been referred to the House Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House. No date has been set as of yet for the bill to be heard.

HB 956 would restrict the following breeds and their mixes:

Rottweiler
Mastiff
Chow
Presa Canario
wolf hybrid
pit bull, which are defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier

The bills sponsor Rep. Moore is now saying that he derived this list based off of dogs that insurance companies restrict.  Basing legislation on restrictions from insurance companies would be absolutely detrimental to dog owners everywhere who currently have insurance, or want to obtain insurance. Considering that one of the requirements of the bill is to notify an insurance company that you have a targeted dog and are in compliance with the regulations, should this pass, we can expect people to be dropped from their insurance, even if there were previously no issues.

North Carolina residents: Members of the committee to write in opposition of the bill can be found here.

Block e-mails: (Remember that if you put all the e-mail addresses in the “to” line the e-mail may be bounced back as spam so be sure to utilize to CC address line):

Tim.Moore@ncleg.net, Justin.Burr@ncleg.net, Paul.Stam@ncleg.net, John.Blust@ncleg.net, Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net, Marcus.Brandon@ncleg.net, William.Brisson@ncleg.net, Becky.Carney@ncleg.net, Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net, Jean.Farmer-Butterfield@ncleg.net,
Elmer.Floyd@ncleg.net, Larry.Hall@ncleg.net, Susi.Hamilton@ncleg.net,
Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net, Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net, Darren.Jackson@ncleg.net, Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net, David.Lewis@ncleg.net, Tim.Moffitt@ncleg.net, Jason.Saine@ncleg.net, Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net, Edgar.Starnes@ncleg.net, Michael.Stone@ncleg.net, John.Torbett@ncleg.net

Please continue to reach out to the bills sponsors to urge them to withdraw the bill.

Representative Rodney Moore: Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net

Representative Larry Pittman: Larry.Pittman@ncleg.net

Previous alert for North Carolina.