HB 1116 is a house bill that was recently passed out of committee and has moved onto the House floor by an overwhelming vote.
SB 865 is the Senate Companion Bill that was introduced into committee discussion 2 weeks ago.
You can read the entire text for each bill, but for convenience, here it is:
"Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the authority of any village, town, or city, including any home rule city, to prohbit dogs from running at large or to further control or regulate dogs within its boundaries, provided that, no such ordinances orders policies or regulations are specific to breeds of dogs.
"The general assembly preempts the control and regulation of specific breeds of dogs to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance, policy or regulation by the village, town or city, including any home rule city, in this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances, policies or regulations relating to specific breeds of dogs shall be null and void."
So, in essence, these two bills would prohibit all breed-discriminatory laws in Missouri, and would overturn all existing laws targeting breeds, and would include home rule cities. The law is very similar to laws recently passed in South Dakota and Utah that also preempt breed specific laws.
They would prohibit breed bans, such as what exists in the state's 4th largest city of Independence. The law continues to separate loving pets from their loving owners 8 years after its passage. It would also prevent the ban in Sikeston, MO -- where 15 months ago animal control reportedly began rounding up pit bulls from people's homes and taking them to the shelter. While the final outcome may not have been as bad as initial reports suggested, still, in 2012, sixty dogs were removed from their homes in Sikeston (a small community of 16,000 people) simply because of the city's breed ban.
Theywould prohibit any (public) shelter policies that require euthanasia of all dogs of a certain breed -- as exists in the state's 3rd largest city, Springfield. This policy has led to the killing of more than 1500 dogs in Springfield -- essentially at least one per day every day for the past 6 years - in spite or rescue groups pleading for the opportunity to take them.
It would also prohibit cities such as Kansas City, MO, the state's largest city, from mandating the spay/neuter of pit bulls -- a law that cost more than 2,000 animals their lives in just the first 3 years, and still unnecessarily separates dogs from their owners regularly. The law is particularly targeting low-income owners.
And there are countless others.
This is more than being just about pit bulls -- as it includes many other breeds including Chow Chows, American Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and Chinesicher Kampfhunds.
This is a good, very needed law. I am whole-hearted in support of HB 1116 and SB 865 as they are written and introduced. Every day that is delayed from enacting the law will be another day in which dogs in various communities throughout the state, that have done nothing wrong, will be removed from their homes and killed in their area shelters simply because of a poorly crafted law based on the way a dog looks.
HB 1116/SB 865 is good for dogs in Missouri by not arbitrarily causing them to be removed from their home and/or killed in their city shelter.
The law is good for communities in Missouri, by forcing cities to focus dangerous dog legislation on behavior-based approaches that have proven to be more effective than ones targeting breeds of dogs.
And the law is good for people in Missouri by allowing them to move from community to community without the fear of their family pet not being welcome in one city vs another.
It's a good law. It eliminates laws that are universally opposed by nearly every national organization of experts in the field.
I encourage you to also support this much-needed law. And I would encourage you to reach out to your State Representative and State Representative and encourage them to support HB 1116/SB 865, as introduced.