Victory! South Dakota Ends Breed Discrimination

In a victory for dogs and their advocates, South Dakota officially became the eighteenth state to pass a law against breed discrimination when the Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill that will make all breeds equal in the eyes of the law.

Thankfully attitudes are catching up with reality when it comes to the effectiveness of targeting specific breeds namely pit bulls to improve safety in communities. Laws that discriminate against dogs based solely on their looks, otherwise known as breed discriminatory legislation (BDL) or breed specific legislation (BSL), are nothing but a costly and ineffective waste of time and money that punish responsible owners and kill innocent dogs.

A broad range of organizations have formally opposed BDL and were joined by the White House last year when it came out with an official statement in opposition to breed discrimination. The National Canine Research Council also points out that numerous studies have shown that BDL has not accomplished its goal of reducing dog bites in places where it has been enacted.

While opponents continue to fight against myths and stereotypes surrounding pit bulls that are perpetuated by the media, lawmakers are also recognizing that any dog can bite and are taking a common sense approach to dealing with dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners equally.

South Dakota’s bill, SB 75, will stop local governments from “enacting, maintaining, or enforcing regulations on certain dog breeds.” Not only will this prevent local governments from targeting certain breeds in the future, but it will also overturn existing bans.

South Dakota’s bill was introduced by Senator Dan Lederman, who got to the heart of this issue with a simple statement:”The fact is, a dog’s breed has nothing to do with how the dog behaves. Dog bites are not a breed problem. They’re an owner problem.”

“This legislation takes the focus off of Petey [from the Little Rascals], and puts it where it belongs, on the owners of pets to be responsible pet owners. It’s part of being a good steward for the animals in our care, and part of being a good neighbor,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the win in South Dakota could soon be followed by five other states, including Maryland, Missouri, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

Utah’s bill, HB 97, which will also stop local governments from passing breed specific laws and overturn existing ones, was passed by the legislature and has gone to Governor Gary Hebert for a signature.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s bill, HB 1116, will amend current state codes and will give local governments the authority “to prohibit dogs from running at large or to further control or regulate dogs within its boundaries if the ordinance, order, policy, or regulation is not breed specific.”

Unfortunately, animal advocates and organizations including Best Friends Animal Society, which has been working to support this bill, are worried opposition could shut down efforts to get it passed.


Please sign and share the petition urging Missouri’s lawmakers to keep dogs and communities safe, without targeting breeds based solely on their looks.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

signed, thanks for sharing :)

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper4 years ago


Magdalena J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Karen LoGrasso
Karen LoGrasso4 years ago

Maybe we should have human choice? This is the only animal that could do you harm.

Jacqueline GLYDE4 years ago

YAY.Good on you,Dan Lederman.
I have been saying the same for years, not the dog, it's the human!

Keith Ballard
Keith Ballard4 years ago

Iowans not breed specific it is all large vicious pets we won't see them lift the ban one of my relatives lives in Iowa and he got attacked by a pit bull and all the owner said was oh well it's not my dog and he's not vicious it turned out to be that they had the dog in quarantine for 28 days and he was put down the officer found out that it was his dog he is now sitting in jail weapons and drugs charges

Donna R.
Donna R4 years ago

Thank you, South Dakota and thank you Alicia Graef for sharing this wonderful news. Hope all others will follow.

Manuela C.
Manuela C4 years ago

Great news!
Petition signed.

Claire van der Meer
Claire P4 years ago

A good step forward!