Yesterday was a good day for the dogs. And for people who care about dogs. And for society as a whole.
There is still work to do. But yesterday was a good day.
Yesterday, the Senate in the state of Ohio passed HB 14 by a vote of 25-7 27-5. The bill would eliminate any reference to 'pit bulls' being designated as "vicious", and would instead focus efforts on definining vicious dogs based on behaviors, not on breeds. The bill would eliminate Ohio's breed discriminatory law.
The law now goes back to the House. The House passed HB 14 by a vote of 69-29 late last year, but now has to re-vote as some friendly amendments were added in the Senate (that made the law better and removed some due-process issues that existed in the House version). If passed by the House, it will got to the Governor for signing. If this happens, 'pit bulls' would be treated like all other dogs under Ohio law, and Ohio would go no longer be the only state in the union with a breed-specific law (while 14 states prohibit such laws).
Meanwhile, in Florida, the state House of Representatives Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee passed HB 997 unanimously (14-0, with one persone not present). HB 997 essentially removes the grandfather clause on Florida's state wide ban on breed-specific laws which would effectively eliminate Miami-Dade's breed ban (which exists in spite of the state-wide law because it was grandfathered in). The law is simple, and takes the prohibition of breed-specific laws and eliminates the grandfather clause.
This bill has a long way to go, but the 14-0 passage out of the Ag Committee is an outstanding start. The bill now must be heard by the Community and Military Affairs Committee and the State Affairs Committee. Both should hear the bill in the next week or two. Stop BSL has been doing OUTSTANDING work with all the details of this bill.
Again, this bill has a long way to go, but this is definitely a step in the right direction and the unanimous support in the committe is a great first step.
Not to be outdone, today, the Genesee County, MI Board of Commissioners lifted its long-term ban on' pit bull' adoptions. The move protects 'pit bulls' from being automatically killed at the shelter when they aren't claimed by their owners. Policies like the one in Genesee County are one of the major reasons why the majority of the dogs killed in shelters in this country are 'pit bulls". This will lead to a large number of dogs being saved in Genessee County that otherwise would have been killed just because of how they looked.
These changes over the past couple of days are huge for pit bulls in various parts of the US -- and not just for the dogs, but the owners as well. And what may be more important, that these changes are showing that attitudes toward "pit bulls" are changing and that society is no longer content just killing good, healthy, happy dogs because of how they look.
There is a lot of work to do -- but it's a good day for the dogs. And their owners. And society. Congrats to folks in Ohio, Michigan and Florida (and elsewhere who have helped in changing peoples' minds about these types of dogs). It's been a good day.