Tag Archives: state law against breed specific legislation

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.

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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.

New bill filed to allow BSL in Massachusetts

A little while ago we received word about SD (Senate Docket) 1247 that would create an exemption from the new state law the prohibits breed specific legislation.

This bill has been renamed and has been sent to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government. SB 969 is the same as SD 1247.  The wording is identical, in that it will insert an exemption into the new comprehensive animal control law that would allow a municipality to prove through municipal bite statistics that they should be allowed to enact a breed specific law.

Massachusetts Residents:  Swift action is needed.  Reach out to your legislators and the members of the committee and ask them to opposed this bill.  Committee members can be found here. Specific legislators can be found on the government website, or if you are uncomfortable composing your own correspondence Best Friends Animal Society has created an alert form here.

Action Alert for New Mexico Residents

We received word from Melissa Roberts Schlough that HB63, a bill to prohibit breed specific legislation on the state level, has passed it’s first step with a unanimous vote and is moving on to the Judiciary Committee.  Though a date has not been set yet this could be called up at any time.

New Mexico Residents: It is important to contact the members of the judiciary committee and let them know that their constituents support HB63. Your continued support is needed to see HB63 become law in New Mexico!  Please contact your representatives , and as always be the best advocate possible for the dogs by being factual and polite.

For more information on HB63 and to track the bills progress see our previous post here.

The bills sponsor Yvette Herrel will be on Pit Bulletin Legal News Radio to talk about the bill on February 5th at 8PM EST.

SD1247 filed to allow BSL in Massachusetts

Thanks to Bless the Bullys for passing along this information from Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners. The bill to allow municipalities to pass breed specific laws in Massachusetts now has an official number.  Senator Michael Rush has proposed Senate Docket 1247 in his priority package of bills for 2013.  This bill would allow an exemption from the prohibition on breed specific legislation if a municipality can prove through statistical analysis of there bite data that one breed of dog is biting more than another. No additional details are given as to who would be responsible for the analysis and how they would assign breed descriptors, though we can only assume it will be based off visual ID. Once it is “proven” that one breed poses more of a risk than another the ordinance must then go through the normal channels in order to be voted into law.

From the MFDC&RDO website:

The Mayor of Boston put forth statewide legislation to return to breed-specific legislation (BSL) in his priority package of bills that was released on January 15. The bill is being spearheaded by Councilor Rob Consalvo of Boston, though has been filed in the state legislature by State Senator Michael Rush.

Please contact both your state senator and state legislator and ask them NOT to co-sponsor SD 1247. The bill, text below, would allow cities and towns to enact ineffective breed-specific legislation. Even though it was initiated by Boston, the bill would allow BSL anywhere in the state.

If you live in Boston, this is especially important, as the Boston delegation (representative and senators who represent any part of Boston) will likely be heavily lobbied by Councilor Consalvo to sign on as co-sponsors.

– You can find your representatives here:
– All legislators can be reached at: 617-722-2000
– The state’s website is here.

The text of SD1247 has not been posted on the Massachusetts legislature website.  It should be added to the website shortly, and we will provide the information to track the progress of the bill.

Some communication has been received  from various legislators in Massachusetts indicating that this could go either way, so it is very important for people to continue contacting their representatives.

The following is copied text of SD1247

“SD 1247, An Act relative to Dangerous Dogs in Cities and Towns

SECTION 1. Subsection a of section 157 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 31 of chapter 193 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting in the first paragraph, after the word “dog” in clause ii, the following:-

Unless municipal attack data indicates a specific breed may be deemed dangerous.

SECTION 2. Subsection c of section 157, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting in the last paragraph, after the word “breed”, the following:-

Unless a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.”

It has been brought to my attention that we had left off a credit for this posting initially. We are very sorry for having excluded that information and it has been fixed. We sincerely apologize.