Best Friends Blog

Historic Ohio legislation spearheaded by Best Friends signed into law today

This morning, Ohio governor John Kasich signed House Bill 14 into law and forever changed the lives of pit-bull-type dogs in Ohio, ending the only statewide breed discrimination in the United States.

What this means in Ohio is local dog wardens will no longer be obliged to kill every pit bull who enters a shelter because the law banning the adoption of pit bulls to the public has been changed. Pit bull owners will no longer be forced to carry punitive insurance policies because their bully-looking dog will no longer be deemed legally vicious just because of his or her appearance.

“This is a great day for these wonderful dogs who have died by the tens of thousands over the years in Ohio just because of the way they look,” says Ledy VanKavage, Best Friends’ senior legislative analyst and the driving force behind the fight to end this longstanding injustice. She adds, “A dog warden was in tears at the signing. She never thought she’d see the day when pit bulls would no longer automatically be killed in Ohio shelters.”

HB 14 replaces the previous breed-based vicious dog law with a graded system based on behavior, not appearance. There are now three categories of problem dog: nuisance, dangerous, and vicious, with sanctions appropriate to the level of aggressive behavior.

Grateful Ohioans are already sending notes of relief and thanks to the governor and lawmakers:

“Thanks so much. We were unfairly ticketed last year as we were walking our dog along a country road. He’s never shown any aggressive behavior toward humans. We were forced to pay $550 for insurance and then had to erect a $1,500 fence to keep him.”

“I adopted a ‘pit bull’ mix last spring. She is the BEST dog ever! I also have a blue tick hound mix and a little collie mix. Most people just looking at my three dogs would believe the AmStaff mix to be the most dangerous out of ignorance of their personalities. My old blue tick and the little collie are actually much more inclined to attack a stranger without warning. My pit bull mix loves everybody … how ironic!”

While the passage of HB 14 represents the end of statewide breed bans, there are still many challenges ahead for these dogs at the local level in some cities and counties around the country where they are rounded up and “deported” or killed. There is still much to do as long as such injustices remain enforced by local laws. Our fight will continue.

A lot of work and grassroots support has gone into this victory. Our sincere thanks goes out to the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and to you, our dedicated supporters in Ohio who made this historic day possible.

Today was a great day for dogs!


Julie Castle
Senior Director, Communications

  • Scott Avnaim

    If I were to get legal problems because of my friendly pit bull, there would be a big fight in court about discrimination. Now to get the individual cities to back down.  My dog has been to car shows and been with thousands of strangers. The only dog that ever bit me was a Llasa apso.

  • Donna Boboch

    God bless you EVERY ONE, who worked to change this brutal and really unfair law…
    We are, after all, supposed to be a civilized society!

  • Pcarrellimd

    This is awesome…moving back to Ohio from Atlanta this fall, good to know I don’t need to worry about my AmericanBull- Pit mix “Hamburger”… Proud to be an Ohio Native

  • Homerlemoine

    Such very good news from Ohio.Hope this works its way to Ontario Canada.

  • Chakerns

    Well glad the law passed, However it doesn’t bring my beautiful pittbull, chow mix! never tried to bite anyone! By the way i guess I was right when I said its all in how you raise them!!!! Well atleast others wont have to deliver their friends to a lethal injection while you turn your head!

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful decision made by people with compassion, common sense and the facts.  The dogs need a responsible dog owner.  They always have and they always will. The dogs were never the problem.  There are so many mixes of dogs you would have to do DNA testing to determine the mixes.  BSL is unfair and impossible to achieve.  

  • Crissys55

    Horrible decision as it stands right now. In lieu of this, they should have a waiting period (background check), ala Handgun purchases, for potential owners of these breeds. That would make a bit more since, afterall, it appears that your focus is the owners and not the breeds.

  • Maryelizabeth42

    Im from Pennsyvania but it is wonderful news. Breed specific laws are discriminatory. Dogs will behave how you raise them to be.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful news.

  • Rareven

    they work hard on semi worthless legistation like this, but they wont work on stuff that matters…  such as right to carry laws. within cities.  if every person of stable mind of good character carried the thugs would have less targets..

  • Mom

    Thank You…this is good news to see a stupid ban supported by ignorant people get the flush.  Love to the dogs and the owners who treat them right.

  • Joan

    It’ so sad that this came too late for all the other pits that were euthanized but thank God this law was finally changed. Congrats Governor Katsich for your humanity!!!

  • Smailloux61

    Today was a great day for Dogs in Ohio!! Let’s get Ontario on this asap!

  • Julie

    Way to go TEAM BEST FRIENDS!!!  I’m so proud to be a supporter,,,,  Thank you so much for all your hard work on this!  My parents are still in Ohio and they supported the effort and are very proud that the bill passed!  I’m in Florida and working on the Miami Dade effort!  Let’s get that win too!

  • Kabljudy

    Step by step, state by state, hope it keeps spreading.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome. Hopefully Miami-Dade County follows suit with the proposition coming up.

  • Pilarcortina5

    Congratulations!!   Sooo happy for all you. One less State to end the war on our precious angels. Now we need your little prayers here in Miami.      

  • Tonia Rogan

    Thank you so much Best Friends, and Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates! You are amazing and so inspiring…

  • This is the best thing I have heard all year! Congratulations, Ohio!!!

  • K9mom0f8

    Thank you for working to get this passed.   Now we need to work on getting this passed in all the states.   Dogs are what their owners make them.  Let’s punish the people who make them mean and not just say the entire breed is bad.

  • vulturesandhyenas

    Hooray for dogs!

  • vulturesandhyenas

    Hooray for dogs!

  • Coryirvine

    You have help to set a precedent for cities,towns, states, provinces all over the world.  Thank you for realizing the truth.  Wonderful news!!!! 

  • Coryirvine

    You have help to set a precedent for cities,towns, states, provinces all over the world.  Thank you for realizing the truth.  Wonderful news!!!! 

  • Sherry L Moon

    I am SO happy to see such a bad law rescinded! It’s about time!