South Dakota and Utah to be the 17th and 18th states to preempt breed-specific legislation.

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South Dakota has passed a bill to protect pets and people by preventing local governments from enacting legislation that regulates dog ownership based on a dog’s breed or breed mix. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the bill on March 14, 2014[1]. The bill, SB 75[2], states that: No local government, as defined in § 6-1-12, may enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance, policy, resolution, or other enactment that is specific as to the breed or perceived breed of a dog. This section does not impair the right of any local government unit to enact, maintain, or enforce any form of regulation that applies to all dogs. South Dakota’s SB 75 makes clear that responsible pet ownership is a legitimate and important government concern and that its responsible pet ownership obligations apply to everyone equally. The Utah legislature has also passed a similar bill[3], which is awaiting final signature into law from Governor Gary Herbert. South Dakota and Utah join the growing roster of states that adopted similar measures. In 2013, Nevada, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all enacted similar state laws prohibiting regulation of dogs on the basis of breed. This trend shows a growing recognition among legislators of the wisdom of the recommendations of the American Bar Association and the White House, along with the consistent position of animal experts and animal welfare organizations that regulating dogs on the basis of breed or appearance is never an effective solution for community safety. Instead, community safety benefits from a responsible pet ownership model, which applies clear principles to all dog owners.      

 


[3] H.B. 97: Limitation on Local Government Regulation and Animals. Retrieved from: http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0097.html
 

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