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

  • Ricky G.

    Thumbs up to all you people in Ohio, Gov Kasich “Thank You Sir”.. I own to adopted pits and they are the most lovable loyal dogs I have ever had the privledge of being thier owner and friend..A pit bulls character, like most dogs are a mere reflection of how they were raised and what they were taught.. So sad they sometimes have to be held captive by some sorry, sick  individuals that classify their sorry selfs as part of the human race. And to some are even football heros.. Thanks again for all you great  people in Ohio { you know who you are} for all your efforts in giving one of the worlds most lovable dogs a fair chance. ~ RGG~

  • Seaottd

    Thank you Ohio advocates, Best Friends and the countless people who have worked on this.   I am so jazzed.   Let’s carry this on so that breed discrimination in every city, county, country is stricken down.  Here in CA the big problem is landlords discriminating based on insurance policies.  Let’s use the energy from this momentous Ohio victory to keep on working so these dogs have safe places to be adopted to, and live everywhere. 

    On behalf of myself, my angel/spirit Pitties and my current Am Staff companion, THANK YOU and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.  One way to do this may be to email the Best Friend’s email page to all the Craig’s List ads where they state breed discrimination.  Education is powerful and there is power in numbers. 

  • Randiwoods

    Thank you, Governor Kasich.  This helps us move toward a society where our behavior, not our appearance, is the key to how we are treated.

  • Gryhndlady

    Good news

  • Felicia E.

    Please, everyone, send a copy of this article to the cities in Colorado that still have breed bans, especially Denver and Aurora! This type of breed discrimination needs to end in all states and cities.

  • Thoughtsfurpaws

    I live here and was so excited when this passed:)

  • Meriannef

    Finally hope for these awesome dogs!!!!!

  • Iemmswenson

    thank goodness to see a bit of sanity emerging in this world. 

    do the people who demand the killing of all pit bulls ever think about how many people are injured or killed by pit bulls vs how many humans are intentionally killed and intentionally injured by other humans.  maybe the pit bull haters need to redirect their energies to protecting people from other people.

  • Jlseglem

    How wonderful. Now instead of punishing the dogs lets punish the people who abuse them and make them mean!!! This might just be me but do any of you feel that any state in this country is really, really, cracking down on dog fighting??? I don’t think so. In Oklahoma our law enforcement could care less and that is how they act!

  • Lizzard55

    Yahoo…  Lets hope other states see the light as well..  Thank you Ohio and Best Friends!!! 

  • Susan

    Hallelujah!! Congrats to everyone who worked so tirelessly on behalf of the dogs!

  • Sharonkees

    Thank you, Governor Kasich and everyone who helped make this possible.  At last, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Gigii

    What a great story.  Now I wish Best Friends would do the same thing for Colorado.  If you live in the city or county of Denver and have a pit bull AND it is found out, the city will come in and get the dog to be euthanized.  This isn’t fair to the people or the breed.  HELP

  • It is reassuring to know that goodness can still triumph in this world. Hooray for the Pitties!

  • mrsfluff

    YAY!!!  I am soooooo happy about this.  Frankly, this whole breed discrimination thing has got NOTHING whatsoever to do with public safety…it is borne out of ignorance partly, but from the insurance standpoint, GREED.  THANK YOU BEST FRIENDS!!!

  • Dina

    It’s hard to keep from crying upon hearing about the news in Ohio! We run a pit bull rescue in California and currently have 9 of the most awesome dogs ever! And gee, my husband just happens to be a veterinarian! Go figure! To the people who are anti- pit bull …..Get educated! You do not know as much as you might think you do! I applaud you Best Friends, Ledy (attorney) and everyone else who is intelligent enough to learn and KNOW the real truth about this breed…..Amen!

  • Donna Jackson

    Congratulations for your work to get Ohio out of the pit bull killing business.

  • Animalquackers1

    This is great news for pit bull terrier owners and friends of this fabulous breed. Now if we can only get out states to follow suit. Keep up the great work!

  • Helen

    What a blessing for these wonderful dogs.  I have know three pit bulls very well, and the only danger they ever posed was crushing you by trying to be lap dogs.  They all give lots of love and kises.

  • Lexi Federov

    Hooray! Finally a bit of good news in this ugly world we now live in. Thank you Mr. Guv’nor!

  • Dawn

    That is the best news. My granddog Marley is the sweetest pit bull in the world. The grandbabies can crawl all over him and he just loves it.

  • Lucyd1229

    Yeah!!! That’s one for the Pitties!!

  • Gsdjoann

    A law in the right direction for a change!

  • Animal Advocate

    Wonderful that this tide is turning and that common sense and education prevails over ignorance and unrational fear.   Congrats Ohio and everyone involved.    I’m in Missouri and we seem to keep taking steps backwards – at least our public officials do.    I’ve seen local municipalities here reverse BSL or decide not to enact it when residents got involved and wouldn’t tolerate it.

    Kudos !     This gives us all hope – especially the animals.

  • Jerilyn Capaccione

    Yes, thank you Ohio for taking the precedent and stopping BSL in your state!    I wish all states would follow suit!