Many of us here at Best Friends spent yesterday afternoon sitting on the edge of our office chairs. We were captivated (and nervous!) watching the live feed of the Utah Senate’s last day. Already passed by the State House, our preemption bill would prevent any local government from enacting breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL). As the debate on the Senate floor unfolded, it became clear that the facts of the law had won, and it passed by a vote of 26-2. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
You all know by now those BDL facts. Laws that focus on a dog’s appearance are expensive and don’t make communities any safer. They only serve to restrict the types of dog a citizen may choose to own, and that kind of restriction is something few Americans agree with. Effective, properly written legislation focuses on reckless owners and problem animals. Reckless owners are the issue, and we wholeheartedly support efforts to curtail irresponsible ownership.
A growing number of states are recognizing this, and some of them have legislatures still in session considering a preemption law. One of those states is Missouri, where unfortunately the path to victory is not quite as clear.
Stuck-in-the-past thinking from a small but vocal group led by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation is putting House Bill 1116 in jeopardy in the Show Me State. They’re perpetuating ridiculous myths and generalizations, suggesting that we need laws to prevent “gang bangers” from adopting pit bulls.
Dogs are dogs, and they should be treated and evaluated equally as dogs, no matter the breed (and groups shouldn’t adopt animals out to bad guys either way!). Missouri, maybe more than any other state, is in need of this legislation. Kansas City has a mandatory spay/neuter law aimed solely at “pit bulls,” which hasn’t served to make the community any safer. As such laws do, it only increased the number of dogs killed.
If you’re in Missouri, we need your voice on this issue now more than ever. Click here to visit our Action Center, and in a few clicks you can message your representatives.
Best Friends Animal Society
P.S. We’ve just received word that South Dakota’s governor signed heir preemption bill into law today. You can read more about that effort here.