Annual Meeting

Pit Bull Bias? ABA House OKs Resolution Urging Breed-Neutral Dog Laws

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Some pit bulls just don’t get any respect.

Resolution 100 before the ABA House of Delegates includes a report outlining the problem. Some local governments ban certain breeds, or add restrictions on their ownership, such as sterilization, microchipping and muzzling. Until February, when it repealed the law, Ohio also defined certain breeds of dogs—namely, pit bulls—as vicious.

On Monday, the House approved the resolution, which calls for breed-neutral dangerous dog laws that focus on the behavior of the dog owners and their pets.

According to the report accompanying the resolution, laws that target “pit bulls” are inconsistent with due process because it’s difficult to determine which dogs fit in the category. And even when laws are more specific in their definitions, it’s difficult to judge a dog from its appearance.

Elise Van Kavage, chair of the Animal Law Committee of the Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section, spoke in favor of the resolution. “People love their pets, no matter what their appearance,” she said. “This is America. Responsible pet owners should be allowed to own whatever breed they want.”

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