Missouri Legislation Aims To Prevent Cities From Banning So-Called ‘Bully Breeds’

Breed-specific legislation unfairly discriminates against certain dog breeds, a state representative says.

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If HB 1811 becomes law, breed specific legislation would not be permitted in the state of Missouri. Via maplegirlie/Flickr
John Virata

Missouri state Rep. Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles County) has introduced legislation that would ban cities in Missouri from enacting bans on Pit Bulls and other dog breeds that some consider to be dangerous. Hicks says breed-specific ordinances discriminate against dog breeds and target all dogs of certain breeds unfairly.

“It’s not the dog. It’s not the breed. It’s the owner,” Hicks told KMBC News. “We should hold the owner responsible for the dog’s action, not the animal.”

Hicks owns a Boxer named Rosie.

House Bill 1811, which passed the House April 14 by a vote of 117-17, would enable local governments to adopt bans on dogs that are unleashed, but wouldn’t allow cities to ban specific breeds of dogs, such as Pit Bulls.

Missouri state Rep. Ron Hicks’ HB 1811 would prevent breed specific legislation in the state. Via End BSL Statewide, Contact Missouri Reps/Facebook

Missouri state Rep. Ron Hicks says breed-specific ordinances target all dogs of certain breeds unfairly. Via End BSL Statewide, Contact Missouri Reps/Facebook

There are however detractors to Hicks’ legislation, including Richard Sheets, Missouri Municipal League Deputy Director.

“It’s really up to the local level,” Sheets told KMBC News. “I don’t see how the General Assembly can say what’s right for one community, because it’s just a varying situation.”

Currently, 20 states in the country have laws on their books that prohibit cities from passing breed-specific laws, according to Bless The Bullys. Some of these states, though, have what is called a home rule, which enables specific municipalities to enact laws that may have benefit to a particular municipality or city. As such, some cities in these states have breed specific legislation on the books.

House Bill 1811 is now in the hands of the Missouri state senate, which has until May 13 to act on the bill.

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