Missouri Is One Step Closer to Ending Breed Discrimination

In good news for dogs who continue to be unfairly targeted because of the way they look, Missouri just got a step closer to passing a law that would end breed discrimination in the state.

Laws that discriminate  against dogs based solely on their appearance, otherwise known as breed discriminatory legislation (BDL) or breed specific legislation (BSL), have been enacted across the country in an effort to keep communities safer. Unfortunately, these laws have no regard for dogs’ actual dispositions and are not an effective approach in regards to controlling dogs’ behaviors within a community.

The good news is that attitudes about their lack of effectiveness and unfairness are continuing to change and laws in many places are catching up.

Now lawmakers in Missouri are moving forward with a bill that would make the state the 20th in the nation to end BSL. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Ron Hicks,  would stop communities from enacting any type of BSL, and would overturn existing breed bans in the state.

Today, HB 1811, which would end breed discrimination by cities in Missouri PASSED the House of Representatives by a vote…

Posted by KC Dog Blog on Thursday, April 14, 2016

“I’ve gotten letters from people that have German Shepherds, Chows, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and then some of your other ‘bully’ looking breeds,” Hicks said of the bill’s supporters last month. “Basically, if it’s a large dog, people are afraid of it. The main ones though that the cities are after, the number one victim is the pit bull.”

While “pit bull” is just a term used to describe a number of different breeds that have similar physical characteristics, it’s not actually a breed. Unfortunately, myths surrounding these dogs continue to make them prime targets of these types of bans.

Not only do they single out dogs whether or not they have so much as ever sneezed on someone, but there are huge problems with properly identifying them.

A study published earlier this year in The Veterinary Journal highlighted some of the issues with trying to identify breeds based on appearances and found that even trained professionals are often unable to accurately identify dogs, which can have heartbreaking and deadly consequences.

“These results raise difficult questions because shelter workers and veterinarians are expected to determine the breeds of dogs in their facilities on a daily basis. Additionally, they are often called on as experts as to whether a dog’s breed will trigger confiscation or regulatory action. The stakes for these dogs and their owners are in many cases very high,” said Julie Levy, professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the lead author of a study.

She also echoed the sentiments of many others working to end the myths surrounding dogs like pit bulls, adding “A dog’s physical appearance cannot tell observers anything about its behavior. Even dogs of similar appearance and the same breed often have diverse behavioral traits in the same way that human siblings often have very different personalities.”

In Missouri, the bill was just passed in the House by a landslide vote of 117-17, and now moves on to the Senate. Similar legislation has been introduced in the state before, but failed to pass so supporters are urging people to contact their senators to ask them to get it done this time around.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign and share the petition urging Missouri’s lawmakers to pass this common sense legislation to protect both dogs and responsible owners from suffering the effects of BSL.

For more info on this issue, check out StopBSL.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

61 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania Padillaabout a year ago

There are no bad dogs/pets: just cruel, stupid, mean humans.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Elaine W.
Past Member 1 years ago

Thank you for this good news. Dogs are individuals.

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angel l.
Angela L1 years ago

It's about time people open up their mind. it's the same thing towards other beings like owning slaves in the early days. Every individual is special to himself/herself, there's no difference. ALL BEINGS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

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Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

NO BSL.

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sandra vito
Sandra V1 years ago

Thanks

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Maggie A.
Maggie D1 years ago

I've always called BSL laws Bulls**t Laws. "MAGGIE, YOU TOOK ACTION ON APRIL 22, 2016." Sharing.

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Darla R.
Darla R1 years ago

interesting

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Janet B.
Janet B1 years ago

Thanks

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Elaine Al Meqdad
Elaine Al Meqdad1 years ago

WONDERFUL NEWS!

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