StubbyDogs and the Legal System

August 15, 2013  

Animal Law

Checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond recently (a trip to BBB isn’t complete without purchasing a few canine accessories), the cashier asked what kinds of dogs those fun accessories were for.  I said a pit bull and 2 big black mixes that could be anything from lab to bulldog.  She thanked us for adopting a pit bull, saying how misunderstood they are.  (How nice was that?!)  She followed by saying that she wishes she could adopt a pit bull because she knows several people who have them and they are such great dogs, but pit bull type dogs are not allowed in her apartment building.  So that day, a pit bull type dog spent yet another night at a shelter because of uninformed blanket property management policies.

This was definitely not the first time I’ve heard someone say “you know, I love pit bulls, I think they’re great dogs, but I just don’t want to deal with the housing hassle” or “what if there’s a breed ban passed somewhere I live, or somewhere I want to move to.”  These laws and policies do not solely affect current pit bull type dog families, they affect all of these potential families too.  Think of all of those pit bull type dogs who would be in a loving home right now if not for these policies.  This is why StubbyDog is on a mission to educate our lawmakers, as well as property management and insurance companies, on the true issues behind dangerous or vicious dogs (which have nothing to do with breed) and show them that we can keep our communities safe, while preserving the bonds between families and their dogs.

Did you know…

  • There is no longer any state in the United States with a statewide breed discriminatory policy.
  • Better yet, there are actually sixteen states that prohibit their localities from passing breed discriminatory laws: Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Washington, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Nevada, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and California (CA’s law is controversial because although it prohibits banning a particular breed, it does allow for breed specific spay/neuter laws).  This is almost one-third of the country!
  • And to top that off, there are at least two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, that have enacted legislation to prohibit breed discrimination by insurance companies.
  • In 2012, the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association passed a resolution urging “all state, territorial and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to enact comprehensive breed neutral dangerous dog/reckless owner laws that ensure due process protections for owners, encourage responsible pet ownership and focus on behavior of both individual dog owners and dogs, and to repeal any breed discriminatory/specific provisions.

Animal Law 3Though it doesn’t always seem like it, our legal system is slowly realizing that our StubbyDogs are, after all,  just dogs (awesome ones!) and that each dog should be evaluated as an individual.  There is widespread support among professional organizations and animal experts for breed-neutral policies that target irresponsible owners and promote the humane care of dogs.  The majority of serious dog bites are caused by unaltered resident dogs, meaning that these dogs spend most of their lives chained or otherwise tethered, with very little to no positive human interaction, and do not receive proper veterinary care, nutrition, or socialization.  Support for anti-chaining laws, strict enforcement of animal cruelty laws, ownership restrictions on previous offenders, and community outreach focused on promoting a healthy human-canine relationship and teaching dog safety (particularly for children) are all important steps to keeping both people and dogs safe.  StubbyDogs unite.  We have work to do.


« « Are you Ready to Strut Your Mutt? | The Federal Government on Breed Discrimination » »


6 Responses to “StubbyDogs and the Legal System”
  1. Arleen Rutten says:

    …thank dog progress against ignorance is being made…

  2. Terri Bohl says:

    While the state of Ohio has stopped their BSL/BDL nonsense, too many of our cities, towns and villages STILL cling to the belief that these laws will protect their citizens. I wish Ohio were one of those states that prohibited this crap. It only encourages someone trying to make headlines to ram through this type of legislation on a local level making it impossible to know where you and your four-legged family will be welcome. I only hope I see the day where the entire state of Ohio comes into the 21st century.

  3. DoxieGirl says:

    So happy to see progress is being made. These dogs deserve a chance, and the ignorance has to stop. I was recently saddened to hear just how many pitbulls euthanized in the shelters every year. People need to educate themselves…Starting with Spray and Neuter your pets. Hopefully, we can save more of these precious dogs lives.

  4. Linda J Smith says:

    I am grateful for what has been done to stop BSL and HAPPY that President Obama’s administration has officially made a statement against it. I have to say , however, that it’s odd Florida was listed as a state prohibiting discrimination within it’s localities when Miami ( along with Denver ) is one of the most avid discriminators of the bully breeds.

    • Mitzi Bolanos says:

      Thank you for your comment, Linda. Unfortunately, when Florida wrote their law prohibiting breed discrimination, they explicitly grandfathered in Miami-Dade County’s discriminatory law. Denver, on the other hand, uses the “home rule” exception which states that localities are allowed to govern themselves without interference from the State. The home rule exception has been challenged many times, but to no avail. We have a lot of work to do in both of those cities.


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