BSL Watch 2010: Here’s What Happened

Toledo, Ohio adopted a groundbreaking breed neutral ordinance that also does away with the label "dangerous" for dogs and focuses on encouraging owners to take responsibility before there is a serious injury. Animal Law Coalition working with Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates proposed many of the key provisions adopted by the City. For more…..

Read Dept. of Justice comments rejecting limits on service dogs based on breed 

Denmark’s ban of numerous breeds to go into effect July 1.

Forsaken No More: Reclaiming the Truth to Save Man’s Best Friend

Read about Toronto Humane Society’s survey that shows breed discrimination does not work.

Go to Pet News and Views for a series on pit bulls.

State Laws

In 2010 Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell added a provision to a Virginia bill that would make it illegal for public shelters to euthanize dogs solely based on breed. Virginia bill, H.B. 281, passed the legislature and actually has nothing to do with breed discrimination. The Speaker of the House, however, declared the new provision "not germane" to the legislation, and the legislature would not consider it.

The prohibition added by the governor was identical to a bill that failed earlier in the session. When he was the state attorney general, Gov. McDonnell issued an opinion that euthanasia of dogs solely based on breed is illegal in the state. 

Local Legislation

Denver, Colorado – The city council declined to allow an exemption under the onerous pit bull ban for service dogs. The move to create an exemption was prompted by the U.S. Dept. of Justice rules issued earlier this year under the Americans with Disability Act that rejected breed limitations for service dogs. The DOJ also decided it was "neither appropriate or consistent with the ADA to defer to local laws that prohibit certain breeds of dogs". Like Denver’s broad ban on "pit bull" dogs.

For more on Denver’s law: Denver: Selective Counting and the Cost to Dogs and People; Denver pit bull litigation; and Denver’s Holocaust: A Call for an End to the Pit Bull Ban

Delta, British Columbia, Canada – The town repealed its 9 year old breed discriminatory law that required owners of "pit bulls" including mixes to keep their pets leashed and muzzled when outside, maintain a $1 million liability insurance policy, and pay much higher license fees and fines than other dog owners.

Under a new law just approved this month, November, 2010, dogs will be classified as dangerous or aggressive based on behavior, not breed.

To be declared dangerous or aggressive, a dog must have "pursued, attacked or bitten another animal or person" without provocation.

Dearborn Heights, MI 

The city already has a number of restrictions on "pit bulls" in Sec. 6-164. Then the city council considered a total ban on "pit bulls". After a first reading of a bill to ban "pit bulls", the city decided to study the matter further.


McMinnville, Tennessee  – The town council decided during a November 9, 2010 meeting to delay a vote on a law to restrict pit bulls. The animal control director has said he is not interested in singling out pit bulls but in drafting a law that will hold owners responsible for their dogs.

Blair, Nebraska – The town’s new breed discriminatory ordinance is now in effect as of Nov. 16, 2010. Find a copy here. The new law provides, "It shall be unlawful for any persons owning, harboring or having the care of a pit bull to permit such dog to be outdoors unless confined in a securely fenced yard or unless the dog is under the control of a person 19 years of age or older, restrained securely by a harness and leash no longer than six feet and properly muzzled to reasonably prevent the dog from biting".

Pit bulls are defined to include "American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentina, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, American Bulldog, or any dog displaying the majority of such physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds (more so than any other breed), or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds."

Malden, Mass 

The city council is considering pit bull restrictions similar to those that were enacted in Lynn earlier this year. For more on Lynn’s ordinance, scroll down….

Send your well-reasoned arguments opposing BSL:

Malden City Council
200 Pleasant Street, Room 609, Malden, MA 02148
Telephone: (781) 397-7130; Fax: (781) 397-7004

Council emails:,,,,,,,,,,,

City Council meetings are held every Tuesday in the Council Chamber at Malden Government Center.

Ypsilanti Township, MI 

Update Oct. 20, 2010: Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees voted to approve an ordinance mandating the spay/neuter of "pit bulls". The Board put a sunset provision in the ordinance and indicated that by the end of the year there should be in place ordinances to regulate the commercial breeders. Typically, purebreds account for about 25% of animals in shelters. 

Under the ordinance owners must sterilize their pit bull ‘type’ dogs. A violation could mean a $500 fine and jail up to 90 days. For more on breed specific mandatory spay/neuter laws and mandatory spay/neuter laws in general, visit this site. This information was provided by Animal Law Coalition to Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees in opposition to this measure.

Douglasville, GA – On Oct. 4, 2010, by a vote of 4-3 (it was close!) the city council defeated a proposed pit bull ban. A committee was appointed to draft a dangerous dog ordinance and present it by Oct. 28.

Topeka, Kansas – The city has repealed entirely its extensive ordinance regulating "pit bulls"! Pit bull restrictions proved too costly. The city reported its budget for animal control averaged $27,000 each year in cost overruns primarily for confining dogs suspected of being pit bulls. The city has adopted instead a breed neutral ordinance that creates a new definition of dangerous dog and procedures for determining whether a dog is dangerous and handling of such dogs. The bill bans chaining without supervision except for 15 minutes at a time and strengthens and clarifies animal care requirements for owners. Read the ordinance here. 

Sheboygan, Wisconsin – A large crowd including a number of dogs appeared to protest a proposed ordinance to place restrictions on "pit bulls" and their owners. As of October, 2010, the council agreed not to consider the ordinance further and is now drafting a new breed neutral ordinance. That’s one for the dogs!

Morton, Mississippi – Mayor Greg Butler has announced, "On October 7, all breeds of dogs pertaining to the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier and the Wolf-dog hybrid will be banned. The breeds may not be owned, harbored, or kept within the city limits of Morton". 

Port Washington, Wisconsin

A local resident planned to submit a demand for an ordinance targeting "pit bulls". But as of October, 2010, the council had rejected the idea.

Sylvan Park, MI 

The town of Sylvan Park, Michigan has passed an absolute ban on "pit bulls" though "pit bull" dogs already there can stay subject to a number of restrictions.  The restrictions require licensing, tattooing, an onerous $100,000 insurance policy to cover any damages caused by the dog, and housing that is "secure" with sides and a top, and dogs must be muzzled and leashed when out and under the control of an adult. For more….. 

The ordinance includes a number of myths about "pit bulls". Go here and also here for why these claims about pit bulls’ bite and other alleged behavior are simply myths.

The ordinance also includes an elaborate scheme for determining whether a dog is a "pit bull". Basically, 2 officers will agree on whether a dog is a pit bull and will refer to "standards" and "shall become familiar with the pit bull terrier, as defined, by reference to photographs, physiological diagrams and breed behavior patterns." Part of the determination can be based on the officer’s having observed "pit bulls" previously. A dog can also be determined to be a pit bull if the owner or keeper, a veterinarian or a witness designate the dog as such.

An archaic, unreliable method of identifying dogs that will surely result in the deaths of untold numbers that are not pit bull or only a small percentage of one of the "pit bull" breeds. Maybe they haven’t heard of DNA testing. For more on the difficulty of identifying dogs by breed, read Animal Law Coalition’s materials at the end of this forum.

Of course, the ban itself of dogs based on breed and appearance will not make the town safer. Dogs don’t bite because of the way they look or their breed. Aggression issues develop because of the owner’s irresponsibility or even criminal conduct. For more, read Animal Law Coalition’s materials at the end of this forum.

Blackman Townhip, Michigan

Blackman Township was said to be considering a pit bull ban, but as of  October, 2010, the council indicated a ban was not under consideration.

Worcester, Massachusetts  A breed specific ordinance has been in the works for some time now in Worcester, and passed on Sept. 7, 2010 by a 9-2 vote.

The ordinance which was actually requested by several members of the City Council is similar to the Boston pit bull law. The ordinance was amended at the last minute to apply for the most part to all "dangerous dogs" including pit bulls. When it goes into effect next April, it will require pit bull owners to register and license the dogs with a higher fee for pit bulls and "dangerous dogs"; harness, leash or muzzle their dogs or place them in a secure enclosure when off the owner’s property; and post warning signs. Tenants will be required to obtain their landlords’ permission to keep a pit bull or dangerous dog. 

Colerain Township, Ohio

The town’s Board of Trustees was considering adding restrictions possible a ban that targets "pit bull" dogs. About 100 people showed up on Sept. 14, 2010 for the Board’s meeting to discuss the ban. There was a heated, divided debate, and no decision has been reached. 

Ohio state law already defines "vicious dog" to include dogs commonly known as "pit bulls" and places a number of restrictions on dogs and their owners.

Hollister, California

The City Council has passed an ordinance to mandate the sterilization of all Chihuahuas and "pit bulls" in city limits

This is in response to a recent report by the Hollister Animal Control stating that there has been a significant increase in shelter intake, euthanasia, and dog attacks among these breeds, although the term "pit bull" is not defined. 

Sterling Heights, Michigan 

A resident has demanded a ban on all "pit bulls". The town officials were evaluating the current ordinances to determine if changes should be made.

A public Pit Bull Workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the Senior Activity Center drew a passionate crowd. Officials were provided with input concerning breed restrictions.

A copy of the current law can be found here, Chapter 8, Animals, Art. II, Sec. 8. 

City council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 40555 Utica Road, Sterling Heights, Michigan  48313; 586.446.CITY (2489).

Kirksville, Missouri 

A public forum to hear from the public about a proposed ban on the ownership, sale or transport of pit bulls on October 18 was well-attended. Pit bull dogs already living in the town would be allowed to stay. A violation could mean a $200 fine and, of course, confiscation of the dog. A vote on the proposal may be held at any time.

From Jodi Priess, Bless the Bullys, "Kirksville, Missouri is currently considering an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of ‘pit bulls’ and ‘other animals deemed vicious.’ While the ordinance being drafted includes a grandfather clause, Councilman (and Mayor Pro Tem) Richard Detweiler is pushing for a total ban with no grandfather clause…. ‘Kirksville has a generic vicious dog ordinance which, if properly enforced, would adequately address any vicious dog – not only those labeled as ‘pit bulls.’ 

"From 2006 to 2010, there were 63 reported dog bites, 17 of which did not break the skin. Of the 46 that did, only three were said to be from "pit bulls". 

Find current ordinances for animals here.

Rochester Hills, Michigan 

It was rumored the City Council would consider a breed ban or other breed restrictions at its March 1, 2010 meeting, but that didn’t happen. Then the city council did consider it but as of October, 2010 had rejected the idea. 

 Elgin, Illinois 

Update Sept. 6, 2010: Go here for a look at how Elgin’s new breed neutral animal control ordinance is working. 

Update Mar. 11, 2010: In the end, the Elgin city council backed away from enacting breed discrimination! Before a packed city council chamber this week, it was announced the council would adopt many of the changes previously approved but they would apply to all dogs determined to be dangerous or vicious and not pit bulls per se. 

Here are some highlights of the new law: Owners of dogs declared dangerous or vicious must obtain a 3 year $100 license, keep the registration and rabies shot tag on the dog at all times, along with proof of spay/neuter and micro-chipping. These dogs must be kept within an enclosure with a 6-foot-tall locked fence. The owner of a dangerous dog must have $100,000 in liability insurance, and an owner of a vicious dog $500,000 in liability insurance.

The ordinance requires that dangerous dogs on public property must be muzzled and on a short leash under the control of an adult 18 years or older. A vicious dog is not allowed on public property at all. Go here for a complete copy of the new ordinance.

Illinois state law prohibits breed discriminatory ordinances, 510 ILCS 5/24, but the city of Elgin took the position there is an exception for cities organized under "home rule" that allows the city to decide to pass breed bans or breed discrimination regardless.

The Elgin City Council had passed by a 4-3 vote an ordinance that restricted "pit bulls".  The final vote was thought to be a formality. Fortunately, well-reasoned arguments won the day.

Lynn, MA

After a public hearing on July 13, 2010, the Lynn City Council approved a proposal to require regisration and restrictions on pit bulls. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy
781-598-4000, has delayed a decision on whether to veto the ordinance. The new law would describe American Pit Bull Terriers or Staffordshire Terriers as "dangerous animals" with "powerful instincts for dominance" and "unyielding aggressiveness."

The ordinance limits each address to 2 pit bulls and owners must fill out a registration form describing the dog, its health records and providing a separate sign-off provision for a landlord renting to a tenant who owns a pit bull. The registration fee is $50.

The ordinance requires owners to muzzle the dogs or make sure they are "securely led and leashed" before taking them to public places.

Violators would face fines up to $300. 

Ironically, in 1989 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion in the case American Dog Owners Association, Inc. v. City of Lynn, 404 Mass. 73, 533 N.E.2d 642 (1989). The issue was whether ordinances passed in Lynn, Massachusetts violated due process because they were unconstitutionally vague. The ordinances regulated or banned pit bulls. The court found the definition of "pit bull" was too vague to give people notice fair notice of the law or the kinds of dogs affected by it, to wit:

Unlike an ordinance which generally prohibits the keeping of a ‘vicious dog,’ enforcement of which involves questions of fact whether the particular dog is vicious or known by its owner to be vicious…, the Lynn Pit Bull ban ordinance depends for enforcement on the subjective understanding of dog officers of the appearance of an ill-defined "breed," leaves dog owners to guess at what conduct or dog "look" is prohibited, and requires "proof" of a dog’s "type" which, unless the dog is registered, may be impossible to furnish.  Such a law gives unleashed discretion to the dog officers charged with its enforcement, and clearly relies on their subjective speculation whether a dog’s physical characteristics make it what is "commonly understood" to be a "Pit Bull."

The new proposed ordinance in Lynn is similar to the Boston pit bull law in effect since August 1, 2004. 

Lynn Council President Timothy Phelan and Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi are responsible for the new pit bull restrictions.

Russellville, Kentucky – Go here for information about the city’s recently announced plan to round up "pit bulls".


A number of local governments in California have recently passed or are considering breed specific legislation. California prohibits breed discrimination California Food & Ag. Code Div. 14, Chpt 9, Art. 5 §31683 except see Cal Health & Saf Code §122331 which allows local governments to require spay/neuter of particular breeds. San Bernardino County discussed more fully on this page, recently passed an ordinance requiring spay/neuter of pit bull breeds.  Auburn and Contra Costa County seem to have dropped the idea in 2010;  Hollister, California, passed the ordinance though owners can seek an exemption. (See below.)

Yucaipa also passed a breed discriminatory law. (See below.) 

Santa Clara is still debating a  breed discriminatory law that will require spay/neuter of pit bull breeds.

Brandon and Flowood, Mississippi

After rescinding a pit bull ban in 2006, city officials in Brandon have now along with those in Flowood adopted restrictions on pit bulls or dogs having the "majority" of the characteristics of pit bull breeds. In July,  2010, the cities passed ordinances requiring owners of these dogs must keep them in a 100-square-foot pen with a concrete floor and enclosed with at least a six-foot chain-link fence and a roof. In Brandon, the pen must be inside a fenced backyard. Owners must also obtain a permit and $100,000 in liability insurance.

Violations can mean a fine up to $1,000 and jail up to 3 months.

The restrictions appear to have resulted from complaints about dogs running loose. Wouldn’t a strong leash law have made more sense? 

Mexico, Missouri

City officials were considering breed discriminatory laws during a series of meetings but then seem to have abandoned the idea. 

Sioux City, Iowa 

Update June 20, 2010: An effort to overturn the Sioux City, Iowa pit bull ban was narrowly defeated on June 28 by a 3-2 city council vote. Council members Aaron Rochester, John Fitch, and Keith Radig voted against repeal of the ban while Mayor Mike Hobart and Council member Tom Padgett voted in favor of a proposal to restrict "pit bull" dogs as "high risk".

The council also rejected City Attorney Andrew Mai’s recommendation to strengthen provisions to make pet owners more responsible.

Some changes to the vicious animal ordinance won first round approval: a change in location of hearings from the police department to the local court; animals declared vicious could be relocated rather than simply killed and would be micro-chipped; and owners could keep their pets during an appeals process.

The original proposal would have repealed the current ban on pit bulls and adopt the following restrictions: 

1) Places pit bulls in the high risk category and removes the pit bull ban.

2) Amends the definition of irresponsible animal owner to provide that two violations of licensing laws makes a person an irresponsible animal owner.

3) Increases the regulations related to keeping high risk animals in the City by requiring warning signs on properties which have a high risk animal and requiring the animal to be micro chipped.

4) Provides for a three step process for high risk animals whereby a high risk animal that is seized for the second time must be removed from the City and a high risk animal that is seized for the third time must be euthanized.

Here are the ordinances with the proposed changes. 

The city banned "new" pit bulls and pit bull mixes in 2008. Chapter 7.10.

Marshfield, Wisconsin – City officials  floated the idea of banning pit bulls, but nothing more happened.

Shadyside, Ohio

The town government has now banned pit bull dogs. Pit bull dogs already living there are grandfathered in but are subject to restrictions. Ohio state law already defines "vicious dog" to include dogs commonly known as "pit bulls" and places a number of restrictions on dogs and their owners.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

Council member Debora Coelho has proposed an ordinance also similar to Boston pit bull law

Contact city officials with your well-reasoned arguments opposing BSL:

City Clerk Rita Aruda,
New Bedford City Hall, 133 William Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

Mayor Scott Lang,
City Council:,,,,,,

Rockville Centre Village, NY

Update July 8, 2010 – The village has suspended enforcement of its breed specific ordinance pending further evaluation. The public outcry forced officials to take a look at New York law which prohibits breed discrimination and also at the evidence that breed profiling simply doesn’t work to reduce dog bites or attacks. 

Update: July 1, 2010 – Residents turned out en masse to protest the new breed ban that went into effect June 8. 

Original Report: The village officials decided to ignore New York state law which prohibits breed specific legislation and  have passed an ordinance banning "pit bulls" and rottweilers. New ones, that is.  All "pit bulls" or rottweilers currently in the village can stay. There are exceptions for people driving thru the village with "pit bulls" or rottweilers, veterinarians who treat or care for the dogs, dog shows and shelters.

The village officials took this arbitrary action despite the fact there have been no bites or complaints filed involving these breeds.

Hinds County, Mississippi (Jackson)

The county supervisor, George Smith, pursued a pit bull ban and instead the Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a requirement that "pit bull" owners must obtain a permit and a $500,000 insurance policy.  Read below for the efforts to pass BSL in Jackson.

San Bernardino County, CA 

The county Board of Supervisors has now approved an ordinance that will require spay/neuter of all pit bulls over the age of 4 months. The ordinance applies to unincorporated areas of the County. The county supervisors claim they are overrun by "pit bulls" causing injury and even death.

The county does not have a vicious or dangerous dog ordinance.

California Health and Safety Code Section 122330-122331 allows local agencies to enact breed specific programs for spaying/neutering.

Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin 

Prairie du Chien already restricts pit bull breeds and dogs that are "partially" those breeds.  A town ordinance defines pit bull breeds and mixes as "vicious" and subjects the dogs to the same restrictions as "vicious" dogs. A copy of the current law is here at Sec. 12.30.

Mayor Hemmer asked the Protection and Health Committee to consider a pit bull ban. The Committee has voted to table that proposal and at its July 1, 2010 meeting the committee voted unanimously to offer a resolution at the council’s July 20th meeting that would remove pit bulls from the definition of "vicious" dogs, meaning these dogs would no longer be deemed "vicious" simply because of breed or appearance.

Crawford County, Arkansas

Update July 5, 2010: It appears Justice of the Peace Sharon Partain’s plan to introduce a bill to ban all pit bulls has failed. The current plan is to offer a breed neutral dangerous dog ordinance. 

Butte-Silver Bow, Montana

There was discussion including some public comment on July 1 at the Health Dept. by the Animal Services Board about a proposal to restrict "pit bulls".

Commissioner Terry Schultz proposed an ordinance that would require that "pit bulls" be leashed or tethered. There would be a $100 fine on a first offense and $250 fine and seizure of the dog for a second offense.

Fortunately, it was agreed not to proceed with this ordinance, but there is still a possibility a new ordinance may restrict dogs by breed.

A copy of the current animal ordinances can be found here.

Local residents, including Samantha Collier, owner of All About the Dawg dog daycare, has organized opposition to any breed discrimination. Contact Samantha, for more info.

Center, Missouri

Center officials have banned all dogs commonly known as "pit bulls" including mixes. Dogs that look like pit bulls or that officials think are pit bulls will, as usual, be targeted. Residents have 30 days to remove prohibited dogs from the town. The law was effective immediately when it was passed on June 2.

Lincoln Parish, Louisiana

Lincoln Parish’s Police Jury has approved an ordinance that requires "dangerous" dogs and "pit bulls" to be confined inside or in an enclosed pen. Warning signs must be posted. If the dog must be muzzled and also leashed or restrained in some way if he is off the owner’s premises.

There are exceptions, such as when dogs are used for hunting or herding other animals.

Violators face a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail. 

Garland, Texas

Though Texas law prohibits breed specific laws, Sec. 822.047, there is this news release from the city of Garland, Texas: Garland Animal Services is preparing to enforce new fencing requirements for pit bull dogs or pit bull crossbreeds. Pit bull dogs or crossbreeds thereof have been responsible for the most dog bites since statistics have been kept (2004).

Additionally, 27% of the dogs caught while running at large are pit bull dogs. In response to this growing public safety problem, Garland Animal Services has developed an ordinance based directive that requires owners of pit bull dogs to maintain the animals within a six foot fence.

Specifically, the fence must meet the following requirements:

  • The fence must be six feet tall, measured from the ground.
  • The fence must be constructed of wooden planks at least ½ inch thick or 11 gage chain link fencing.
  • There may be no gaps or openings larger than 2 inches.
  • Fencing must be firmly attached to brace posts buried no less than 18 inches deep.
  • All gates must have a locking mechanism that keeps the gates securely closed.

These directive requirements become effective August 1, 2010.

Pit bull dog owners are exempt from the aforementioned requirements if their dogs are properly registered prior to August 1, 2010 and if they maintain compliance with all applicable Animal Service Ordinances such as the display of city tags and not allowing the dogs to run at large. Pit bull dogs not registered prior to August 1, 2010 must be maintained within an enclosure that meets these requirements. Owners who obtain pit bull dogs after August 1st must consider the cost of fence construction as a cost of owning a pit bull dog.

Fencing Requirement – Pit Bull Dogs

The city has not been adopting out pit bulls, arguably another violation of Texas law. The city says with this directive, animal control can adopt out pit bulls. 

Carthage, Mississippi 

The city has enacted a harsh ban of pit bulls and pit bull mixes. There is no grandfather clause. The city’s mayor Jimmy Wallace, announced, in fact, officials would begin rounding up pets deemed to be pit bulls or mixes. The ban applies to American pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, any dog which substantially conforms to any of these breeds and any pit bull mix, any dog commonly referred to or recognized as a pit bulls, and any dog whose owner believes or has registered the dog as a pit bull.

The law even directs animal control to "capture" these dogs.

City attorney Alan Rhea was quoted as saying "By putting in the ban on the specific breeds….you eliminate having to prove the dogs are dangerous."

Clarksdale, Mississippi – The local government was discussing an ordinance that may ban or restrict pit bulls and rottweilers.

Barnhill Village, Ohio

Barnhill Village city council has adopted breed discriminatory laws, claiming the ordinances were adopted as "emergency" measures. The emergency is apparently the existence of a pit bull rescue that recently opened in town. Under the new laws citizens will be limited to one "pit bull" per household. To keep even one pit bull dog, the residents will be required to pay a $50 registration fee, obtain liabity insurance, and provide a secure enclosure.

The town council met on May 8 and heard opposition to the new ordinance. Many believe there was no "emergency" and that the new ordinance was passed to shut down a pit bull rescue in town. Catherine Parrish, operator of the rescue, said she was not contacted at all prior to passage of the ordinance and it was based on a misinformation about her dogs.

Despite opposition to the new ordinance, after the May 8 hearing, the town council remained resolved and refused to rescind it. 

Garfield, New Jersey

Update May 15: After a public outcry against breed discrimination, the Garfield, New Jersey City Council has tabled the proposed pit bull restrictions.

Original report: Though breed discrimination is illegal in New Jersey, the city of Garfield has announced a final vote on May 11 on an ordinance that the council has already approved to restrict "pit bulls".

The measure defines "pit bull" as "any canine bred or used for fighting with other animals or with people" and includes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and "dogs that have the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of these breeds of dogs."

The ordinance requires the owners of "pit bulls" to obtain special licenses, $100 for the first one and $75 for each subsequent license. 

The ordinance requires the dogs to be muzzled and leashed when off the owner’s property. The leash must have a "minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds" and restrict the dog from moving 3 feet from the owner. Only one pit bull can be walked at a time.

Owners of "pit bulls" must obtain $50,000 in liability insurance to cover injuries and damages inflicted by the dogs.

No one under 18 years old can own, care for or even walk a "pit bull". Any minor who violates this provision will be considered to have committed an "act of delinquency".

Violations can mean fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

Lodi, New Jersey

Update: Lodi, like Garfield, has decided to table further discussion of breed discrimination.

Breed discrimination is illegal in New Jersey, but, like Garfield, Lodi officials were considering restrictions on pit bulls. The restrictions are like those listed above that were to be included in the Garfield ordinance until a public outcry prompted officials in that city to table the matter. 

Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana

Parish Police Juror Russell Young is pushing the parish to adopt a  ban on pit bulls, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, boxers, Akitas, chow chows, and maybe other "breeds".

 A legislative committee has proposed restrictions on these breeds as well as dogs declared dangerous and which include registration, micro-chipping, proof of current vaccinations, payment of a $50 fee; also, owners would be required to be at least 18 years old and never convicted of a felony, keep the dog secured at home or behind a fence and also muzzled and leashed when in public. Violations could mean fines up to $500 for the first offense, a minimum fine of $300 for the second offense and a minimum fine of $500 for a third and subsequent violations.

The parish attorney is reviewing the proposal, and at a police jury meeting on May 25, members appear unpersuaded by arguments against breed discrimination. The police jury has asked the City of Roads, the largest city in the parish, to adopt the restrictions as well. 

Send your well-reasoned arguments to these parish officials: 

Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury
P.O. Box 290, New Roads, Louisiana 70760
(225) 638-9556 – Fax (225) 638-5555

District 1: Allen Monk
P.O. Box 285, Batchelor, LA 70715
(225) 492-3704

District 2: John Pourciau
3768 La. Hwy. 419W, Batchelor, LA 70715
(225) 492-2701

District 3: Russell Young 
9005 Mandela Drive, New Roads, LA 70760
(225) 638-3941

District 4:  Glenn Ray Cline
14110 Chenal Road, Jarreau, LA 70749
(225) 627-9511

District 5: Willie Olinde
P.O. Box 256, Ventress, LA 70783
(225) 638-8726

District 6:  Melanie Bueche
11850 Hwy 416, Lakeland, LA 70752
(225) 627-4055

District 7: Albert Dukes
8979 Rodney Drive, New Roads, LA 70760
(225) 638-3383

District 8: Cornell Dukes
309 Railroad Street, New Roads, LA 70760
(225) 638-8778

District 9: Janet Vosburg
9431 False River Road, New Roads, LA 70760
(225) 638-8328

District 10: Kurt Jarreau
P. O. Box 383, Livonia, LA 70755
(225) 637-2540

District 11: Joseph Bergeron, Sr.
P. O. Box 90, Fordoche, LA 70732
(225) 637-3486

District 12: Clifford Nelson
P. O. Box 336, Ventress, LA 70783
(225) 638-3589

Laurel, Mississippi

An ordinance has passed and defines these breeds as "vicious": "American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier [sic], American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler Breed Standard, Doberman Pinscher Breed Standard and Chow Chow Breed Standard."

Vicious dogs in Laurel must be kept in a secure building or fenced area or under the control of the owner. Violations would mean a fine of $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense.

Warwick, Rhode Island

The city council has approved a plan to require spay/neuter for all pit bull breeds except those held by licensed breeders or which are entered in shows or other competitions.

Europa, Mississippi

Update: Following an April 5 public hearing, Europa’s city council and mayor approved the breed discriminatory ordinance. The provision requiring liability insurance was struck from the final ordinance though persons must show proof of such insurance after one violation of this law. 

The ordinance states a dog of one of the following breeds is "prima facie" dangerous:

1. Pit Bulls
2. Rottweilers
3. Dobermans
4. Chow Chows
5. Dalmations
6. Any type or breed of "guard dog" (a/k/a German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, etc.); and
7. Wolf hybrids

Dangerous dogs would be required to be registered as such, spayed/neutered, and have current rabies vaccinations. Owners must be at least 21 years old, pay a $50 fee and upon one violation, maintain $50,000 in liability insurance to cover injuries and damages caused by the dog. The dog must be kept in a locked enclosure with a top or a fenced yard with protection from the weather, and a photo of where the dog is kept must be provided to the clerk.

When these dangerous dogs are walked, they must be on a leash and muzzled. No such dog could be walked within 50 feet of a school, public event, park or playground.

Members of the Board of Aldermen and the police chief cited loose dogs and an increase in people fighting dogs as reasons for the new law. 

Mitchell, South Dakota

There was a growing call in Mitchell, South Dakota for a pit bull ban. This began after 3 dogs escaped from their owner’ yard, and a frightened resident encountered one of the dogs said to be a pit bull mix. The dog did not injure the resident but she reportedly held him at bay with a shovel until help arrived.

The dog was declared dangerous and ordered to be removed from the city or euthanized. The owner, Susie Contreras, has said the dogs are not dangerous but has removed the one so declared from the city. The owner also says the dogs are boxers, not pit bulls. 

The Mitchell City Council meets the first and third Monday’s of each month. City Council  meetings begin at 7:30 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 612 N. Main. 

Yucaipa, California

California law prohibits breed discrimination except with respect to spay/neuter requirements. Yucaipa has adopted such an ordinance.

Regent, North Dakota

Go here for information about a proposed ordinance to ban several breeds in Regent, North Dakota  

St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana

Despite that not one resident spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance and many opposed it during a hearing this week, BSL passed unanimously in St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana. The new ordinances, effective July 1, places a number of restrictions on pit bull dogs in the unincorporated areas of the parish including: (1) the owner must pay a one time license fee of $50 per "pit bull", be at least 21 years old and live at the same physical address at which the dogs are housed; (2) there must be proof of rabies vaccinations; (3) the dog must be micro-chipped, (4) keep the dog in a secure kennel with a concrete floor, (5) "Beware of Dog" signs must be posted on the property.

Beatrice, Nebraska

Beatrice City Council member Jason Moore proposed during a city council meeting this week that the city adopt a ban on all dogs that are part pit bull. Moore explained such dogs currently in the city could stay as long as the owner purchase $500,000 in liability insurance and muzzle their dogs when off their property.  

Council member Al Fetty pointed out it is not possible to tell if a dog is a pit bull or other breed without a DNA test. Indeed.

BSL has been averted, but Moore may persist.

Livingston County, Michigan

Some good news for dogs. Livingston County officials are considering allowing pit bull dogs to be adopted. Currently, animal control determines if a dog resembles a pit bull in which case the dog is not allowed to be adopted. At a county commission hearing this week, members heard testimony about the difficulty, if not impossibility, of identifying breeds based on appearance and that as a result, many non-pit bull dogs are not adopted. They also heard from a researcher that pit bulls are not more violent than other breeds and their bad image is undeserved.

The county did adopt an ordinance that was breed neutral, banning adoption of aggressive dogs.

Poplar Bluff, Missouri

The city has banned pit bull dogs except those currently living there can stay as long as their owner has the dog registered and micro-chipped and provides animal control with a photograph of the dog. Animal control will maintain a file on each dog believed to be a pit bull. April 1 was the deadline for compliance.

Jackson, Mississippi 

Update Mar. 9: A city council rules committee has killed a proposed pit bull ban. Council President Frank Bluntson said the proposed ban was discriminatory and unenforceable.  "You can’t even pick up the dead dogs, how can you enforce it with the live ones?" he asked Gerald Jones, animal control supervisor, during a meeting where supporters and  opponents faced off on the issue. The dogs won! 

Boaz, Alabama 

Update Mar. 24: The city council decided to amend the dangerous animal laws but did not target "pit bulls" as planned. The ordinance amendments contain no BSL!

Basically, owners of dogs declared dangerous because of a bite history or demonstrate aggressive behavior towards peopole by lunging, must obtain $500,000 in liability insurance and pay a one time $25 fee. 

Natchez, Mississippi 

The city council was moving quickly to develop an ordinance either to ban or restrict "pit bulls". The idea was dropped, however, upon advice of the city attorney.

Pearl, Mississippi

The city plans to review and perhaps revise its dangerous dog ordinances which are found here in Chapter 4 and may consider a ban or restrictions on pit bulls. It is not clear at this point, however, that there are any actual proposals for breed discrimination. 

Putnam County, West Virginia 

The county passed an ordinance in December, 2009 that defines "vicious" dogs to include dogs "commonly referred to as pit bull" or "clearly a mix thereof".  The ordinance requires vicious dogs to be held on a 4 foot leash when off their owner’s property and behind a 6 foot secure fence when at home. 

Violators can be fined up to $1,000 for the first offense, and a $300 to $2,000 fine for the second offense. A third offense could mean up to a year in jail and a $300 to $2,000 fine.

Because of protests to the new law, the county council may consider overturning it if provided with alternatives.

County officials to contact:  

County Commissioners Gary Tillis, Stephen Andes, Joseph Haynes
Ph: (304) 586-0201
Fax (304) 586-0200

Exeter, California 

Update April 28: A dangerous dog ordinance was passed but it is not breed specific. The new ordinance classifies dogs that demonstrate aggression on one of two levels: 

Level 1: Any dog engaging in unprovoked attacks on humans that require a defensive action to prevent bodily injury, or that cause minor injury to other dogs.

Level 2: Any dog engaging in unprovoked attacks on humans that result in minor to moderate injury, or that cause moderate to serious injury to other dogs.

Whether the dog is dangerous or vicious at all would be determined at a hearing. The disposition of a dog determined to be dangerous including any restrictions would also be decided at a hearing.

Original report: Though California prohibits breed bans, (California Food & Ag. Code Div. 14, Chpt 9, Art. 5 §31683 except see Cal Health & Saf Code §122331 which allows local governments to target certain breeds for spay/neuter requirements) the city is considering an ordinance that would impose onerous licensing and confinement requirements on certain breeds, but mainly "pit bulls". The original proposal is being re-drafted, however.

Hemet, California 

California prohibits breed discrimination California Food & Ag. Code Div. 14, Chpt 9, Art. 5 §31683 except see Cal Health & Saf Code §122331 except that local governments may require spay/neuter of particular breeds. Hemet may consider a breed ban or restrictions though at the moment the mayor is hoping to avoid that.