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

  • Madelon McClure

    I am so happy for all the bully owners and lovers in Ohio ~ it’s about time!!!

  • Alliesw

    Such happy news!!!!!!!

  • Deb552

    I think this is so exciting. This breed has been given a ‘bad’ name, simply because of how so many have been raised in an unfavorable way. Raise them with the love they deserve just like any other breed, and they’ll be an owner’s best friend (pun intended!)


    Fantastic   Finally a giant step in the right direction.  Thank you BF for all your hard work

  • Lyndie Kelley

    Wow! All I can say is wow! This is incredible. The dogs in a “scary” pittie outfit are getting a better name thanks to Best Friends. You all make my heart melt. I’m so grateful that people like all of exist. I’m a dog trainer and behavior consultant in Pittsburgh, PA and the pit situation is quite sad to say the least here. I hope this new look at the breed spreads like wild fire. Thank you :)

  • Steve

    Great news! The most misunderstood of all dogs as they really are quite affectionate and if handled properly never a problem!

  • Lottydah2002

    I am a shelter volunteer  and I see so many sweet pitbulls. Thank you for a sept in the right direction.

  • Lori Cole

    Congratulations! This is a spectacular win. As the owner of two rescue pit bulls, I am so grateful for your hard work on their behalf.  They are loving, wonderful dogs. I agree with the comment by Helen–my smallest pit bull, weighing 37 lbs, can’t stand not being on my lap but he is oh, so not meant to fit on my lap. :)  I love my dogs and again, am so grateful. Thank you for all you do.

  • Joy4katz

    God bless these sweet pitties!  It is about time.
    And god bless Gov. Kasich !!

  • Ztks5

    So Happy!  A Victory for the bullys and their owners.  I have 4 and they are the best companions and the most loving dogs!!!

  • Sarah

    This is great news!  Thank you.  Now it needs to continue to the local levels in every state where this foolish and unproductive law still resides.

  • Djana

    Awesome! Hope more states and cities follow suit!!!!

  • Klynnlynn111

    Family members have long rescued and owned pit bulls. I suggest for states that still allow insurance companies to “outlaw” pits that owners first obtain a DNA of any mixed rescue (my vet originally thought that my mixed rescue was pit; but, he is lab/boxer/unknown terrier); work toward an AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate; and obedience or agility classes for socialization. I can remember when I showed Dobermans during the 1960s, they were often outlawed by legislative actions. My daughter, at N.C., who recues pits and cats, has had home insurance problems. Good job, Best Friends

  • Lj11050

    That’s fantastic ! I am learning firsthand about the discrimination of Pitties. I have rescued one and to say that he’s not vicious is an understatement. I now have a 60 lb lapdog who is turning out to be a goodwill ambassador. I hope this is the beginning of wonderful things to come. God bless you all who fought for this

  • RescueRick

    Laws like these always targeted the wrong end of the equation. Prosecutors should have instead focused their efforts on dog fighters, the audience at such events, and breeders of fighting dogs. If you do not shut off the supply of dangerous dogs (and certainly the majority of pits are not dangerous), you will never improve the situation.

    Further, there is an INCREDIBLE need for dog owner education in general – people in low-income communities are often unaware of even basic necessities like parvo and rabies vaccination, much less heartworm.  

  • Rustedspur

    Its a beautiful thing when like minded individuals come together to give voice to those that cannot speak for themselves!! It takes a village to make the world a better place for all beings and I am so happy with the outcome of this fight:-) Yeah Pitties

  • Soozyb

    This is the most excellent way to end the week. Finally a law being past about discrimination  against any one dog breed! Now if we can get everyone else to think the same way :) I have had way more incidents with little dogs in my journeys in the dog world than I ever have with any Pitbulls, I mean really it is the HUMAN not the dog!  Thank you Ohio

  • Lisa Horn

    Yea! Way to go Ohio and Best Friends and everyone involved with this important legislation. Now, onto Miami… Pitties rule!  :-)

  • Debkirts

    I have a Pit Bull and he is one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. Here’s hoping this can happen in other states as well!

  • ReneeJ

    wow… Best Friends what a great job your doing. I also saw locally where they gave a very large donation to help a rescue group in San Antonio that saves dogs from the Animal Shelter, definately a cause worth donating to. I have 2 pitbulls that are my babies and I know how good these dogs can be. i could not imagine them being discriminated against based just on their breed.

  • Monsterbaby73

    Wonderful news, now we just need to keep the momentum going.  There are plenty of places and people still trying to justify BSL using fear and misinformation. 

  • Hngladlee

    Yeah!  Now they should introduce a law addressing the humans who make dangerous dogs.  It is the human who perverted the breed!

  • N Worsley

    Thank you Govenor Kasich for setting a good precedent. We need to punish the people not the dog or breed.

  • Lancegyoung

    I have 3 pit mixes; having rescued a 6-month old female Red Nose Pit. She’s an angel. In fact, that’s her name…Angel!

  • Virginia Abreu de paula

    Congratulation for such a great victory. I am celebrating.

  • Dmgawron

    I am so excited that this bill passed.  I had written letters to my state reps and state senators regarding this issue.  I have 2 pit mixes – one that looks a lot like a pit bull and one that doesn’t as much.  Both are the sweetest dogs and the pit mix although protective, is the gentlest of the two dogs.  She absolutely loves people to pay attention to her and is more than happy to snuggle up with all my friends if they let her.  They are both wonderful pets and to think of them automatically being killed if in a shelter is a horror.  The oldest of my two was being abandoned on the street when we took her in.  I don’t understand how just leaving a dog on a street is considered by some a viable alternative to a rescue society.  I truly believe there is a special judgement reserved by God for those who abuse and abandon the lives that depend on them for care be they animal or human.

  • Kantoniotti

    Unfortunately, some communities in Ohio still ban pits. Akron, in Northeast Ohio is one of them. 

  • Janelle

    This is why we need to keep advocating, continue to be the voice for these dogs, and prove their is no such thing as too much love and compassion for our four-legged friends.

  • Anonymous

    Welcome back from the dark ages Ohio!! Pit bulls are all about LOVE!!