Ending Breed Discrimination in Ohio

November 7, 2011  

A look at how H.B. 14 could end Ohio’s insidious pit bull discrimination

By Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition

A law in Ohio states that dogs that “belong to a breed commonly known as a pit bull” are automatically condemned as “vicious.” This means pit bull dogs and dogs that are said to look like pit bulls are singled out for discriminatory treatment simply because of their breed or the way they look. People who have or take care of these dogs are subjected to onerous requirements. This law has meant the death of thousands of family pets over the years.

There is a bill in the state legislature that would change that. House Bill 14, introduced by Ohio state Rep. Barbara Sears, would repeal or do away with this discriminatory law. H.B. 14 would take breed discrimination out of Ohio law and make other improvements to the state’s dangerous dog law.

The Ohio House of Representatives has already passed H.B. 14 by a wide margin. The bill is now being considered by the state senate Judiciary Committee.

Under H.B. 14, a “vicious” dog would be limited to those dogs that have without provocation caused “serious injury” to or killed a person. Under the bill “without provocation … means that a dog was not teased, tormented, or abused by a person, or that the dog was not coming to the aid or the defense of a person who was not engaged in illegal or criminal activity and who was not using the dog as a means of carrying out such activity.” A dog is also not considered “vicious” if the injured person “was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner.”

The bill amends the current criteria for classifying dogs as “dangerous” and also creates a classification of “nuisance” dogs. There are confinement requirements, and for dangerous dogs there are insurance and new identification, registration or certification, and notification requirements. There are new penalties too, which in certain cases can include increased supervision and training.

What You Can Do

If you live in Ohio, find Senate Judiciary Committee members here (click on their names for contact info) and your Ohio state senator here. Urge committee members and your Ohio state senator to support H.B. 14.

If you don’t live in Ohio, send this to everyone you know in Ohio and urge them to take action to help pass H.B. 14 and end state mandated pit bull discrimination.

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3 Responses to “Ending Breed Discrimination in Ohio”
  1. laurapmooney says:

    I am from Ohio (Toledo) and we now live in TN, but I have passed this info along to all my FB friends. Hopefully that will generate some support for the new bill.

  2. sillyfox4lyfe says:

    There’s a billboard on the Michigan/Ohio border that says “Welcome to Ohio, where you can collect 50 tigers in your backyard but pit bulls must die!”