Best Friends Blog
 

Nevada AB 110 is signed into law

As I have stated numerous times in this blog, the best way to protect the public from bites or attacks by dangerous dogs is through proactive dangerous dog laws that target dangerous dog behavior and reckless dog owners before a bite incident occurs. The least effective way to protect the public from dangerous dogs is to ban breeds or types of dogs on the assumption that only certain breeds or their mixes pose a risk to public safety.

I know this for a fact because I am typing this blog entry with a bandage on my right index finger that protects nine stitches I got recently for a nasty dog bite that I received from our corgi mix, Joe-Joe, an ungrateful little so-and-so, whom I rescued from the streets Los Angeles. As a matter of interest, we also have a pit bull terrier and a German shepherd, two breeds often targeted in breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) measures. I could have sought to protect myself by muzzling or otherwise banning to the backyard Barney and Q — the aforementioned usual suspects — but that would not have protected me from little Joe-Joe who reminded me that all dogs have teeth, all dogs can bite, and all dogs can do serious damage.

With the passage of Assembly Bill 110 that was signed into law today by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, the state took a major step forward in public safety and animal protection by making sure that the Joe-Joes of the world won’t skate by while innocent, well-behaved “likely suspects,” such as Barney and Q, get railroaded into the slammer or forced to walk in head gear more suited to Hannibal Lecter.

AB 110, which was spearheaded by Best Friends and sponsored by Nevada State Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, modifies the state’s existing proactive dangerous dog law to prohibit the passage of local ordinances that declare a dog dangerous or vicious based solely on the breed of the dog.

Breed-discriminatory laws don’t advance public safety because a dog’s breed is not predictive of behavior — to wit: Joe-Joe. Laws based on breed create a false sense of security and distract enforcement efforts from identifying and controlling dangerous behavior and waste time and taxpayer money in rounding up or monitoring members of a particular breed, most of whom are just well-behaved family pets — i.e., Barney and Q.

BDL comes in a variety of forms from an outright ban of a particular breed, such as Denver’s ban on pit-bull-terrier-type dogs, to laws that require certain types of dogs to be muzzled in public, to ordinances that prohibit the adoption of certain breeds to the public from municipal animal shelters, such as Miami-Dade’s ban on pit bulls. Of course, if a dog cannot be adopted from the shelter, he or she is killed.

BDL is incompatible with no-kill principles and the achievement of a no-kill community because in each of its variants, BDL increases the shelter killing of the targeted breed either by simply discouraging ownership with nuisance requirements, by banning their adoption from shelters, or by banning outright their ownership by the public.

The best way to combat local breed-discriminatory laws is to make sure that they never get passed in the first place, and that’s just what was accomplished with the passage of AB 110.

Hats off to Assemblyman Ohrenschall, Governor Sandoval, our terrific volunteer lobbyist, Beverlee McGrath, and Best Friends ever-vigilant pit bull initiatives team under the leadership of Ledy VanKavage.

And, FYI, Joe-Joe is fine, but I definitely need to renegotiate his household membership contract. As for the reckless owner, I’ll have to have a word with the person in the mirror.

Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society

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  • Bonnie Gilbert

    Breed bans are over in Nevada and that where I live. We would like to get rid of our high kill shelter…not banning breeds will lead the way to “dogs ok under 20 pounds”, but a service dog can go anywhere regardless of the breed. I hadST. Bernards, a giant breed…they only bit food and dropped..fabulous dogs as long as one understands they don’t stay small.

    • Bonnie Gilbert

      DROOLED
      ..sorry

  • Anonymous

    Hi P.L,

    We’re sorry that you didn’t see the lightheartedness Francis intended in his post, but we’ve passed along your concern. We can assure you that all of the Battista dogs are extremely well-loved!

    Thanks for all of your support.

    Sincerely,

    Melissa Miller
    New Media Coordinator
    Best Friends Animal Society

  • Peggy

    We have an 8 year old tri color male pembroke corgi that we adopted from Corgi Rescue. He is the most mellow guy I’ve ever run across. Only 2 dogs in our neighborhood does he get tense about — a Boxer and a Rhodesian Ridgeback who seem to want to fight. I feel alot of tensions goes on because owners assume their dogs are “perfect”!! Kai greets all at our front door and then comes back in to fetch me. Love those Corgis!
    I don’t feel it’s the breed but the owner!

  • Linda Isenburg

    Thankyou Nevada. I also add the hope that other states will follow. Wasn’t it a famous dog trainer who said “there is no such thing as a bad dog only a bad owner” That says it all.

  • Juniper Rose

    As a Native Nevadan, I am amazed and thrilled that this legislation has gone through in my state. I have had three pitties, 2 dobermans, several German Sheppards, and a number of other dogs. I’ve been rescuing dogs for more than 50 years and the only dog who has ever bitten me is a cocker. The man who carries a riot stick is a perfect example of prejudice, but what he said that was true was “if you don’t control your own dog”. That’s the key!

  • ChrisinQ

    Hip hip hooray. Finally – laws that make sense. Some of the sweetest dogs i have met have pit bulls. I have owned wonderful German Shepherds. I have only ever been bitten by a nasty little toy poodle. Breed bans are, well, stupid and ineffective. Hope Nevada sets a trend nationwide.

  • Anonymous

    The two sweetest, most loyal and playful dogs I have ever known are pit bulls. They have given me more joy than I can tell you. And the only serious injuries I have witnessed have involved yes. a pit bull (the spikes on his collar as well as his owner’s leather jacket–I do not kid– are suggestive, though I try not to judge), but also breeds known for their gentleness–a poodle, and (believe it or not) a very golden lab. ALWAYS ask an owner if you can approach a dog. And if you don’t like a dog running toward your children, tell them to calmly walk away.

    No one should pre-judge a dog by breed. Francis, thank you for your post and for founding your organization. And BRAVO NEVADA!

  • Paige’s Diary

    I am not in favor of BREED bans, but I am in favor of BREEDING bans. Too many people who get a “gladiator” type dog do it for status and because other people fear them. Then they neglect the dog and don’t give it proper exercise, boundaries and discipline, at best. Many times they are trained to be fighting dogs, and if not good at fighting, they end up as bait dogs. Pit bulls are the No. 1 animal put down in shelters. That is not acceptable. Let’s ban BREEDING and BUYING pit bulls and if you really love dogs and care about the breed, then you can go to the shelter and adopt one.

  • Joe W.

    Listen up Francis, keep your dogs aways from me and my children. I don’t know you and I certainly don’t trust you to be a responsible dog owner. You can count this as reason number one why I will never financially support your organization.

    If pit bull and other giant dog nuts are bringing their dogs to parks and other areas where my children play, then they need to understand one thing… I am a responsible riot stick owner who will fully exercise every legal right I have to control your animal when you fail.

    • Paige’s Diary

      Did you even bother to read the article?

    • Sheila S

      Responsible dog owners of any breed of dog have their dogs under control. Sadly, I have had more chihuahuas come up to my black lab and snap at her than any other breed. Responsible large dog owners understand people can feel intimidated by a large dog, and therefore, typically take extra care to make sure their dog is under control.

  • Anonymous

    Great news.