A Michigan bill to prohibit local governments from dictating breed specific legislations has taken another step towards becoming a law with a 22-13 vote from the Senate chamber.
Supporters of Senate Bill 239 say breed restrictions violate the property rights of dog owners, and banning specific breeds has not proven effective in preventing dog bites.
Related Post: The Ugly Truth About Breed Specific Legislation
At least 27 local governments throughout the state of Michigan currently have breed-specific laws, most of them aimed at Pit Bulls and Pit Bull-type dogs. Some statutes ban the “breed” outright while others require owners to neuter their dogs, muzzle them in public, carry additional liability insurance and/or build “secure fencing” around their property.
Despite these efforts, a 2014 report published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found little evidence that any breed of dog should be considered more dangerous than another. The study cited other factors such as behavior, number of dogs, and owner behavior or training as better predictors for aggression.
“These are dogs that not very good owners would get because they thought they were macho,” Dr. Emily Patterson-Kane, an animal welfare scientist at the AVMA said. “That’s part of what tells you it’s human behavior that’s weaponizing dogs. It isn’t that the dog is innately a hazard.”
Supporters of the bill also argue that breed-specific laws are difficult to implement and expensive to enforce, a waste of valuable resources. Additionally, most people cannot correctly identify breed on sight alone, resulting in dogs being inappropriately targeted, torn away from caring owners, or even euthanized.
The bill will now head to the House for consideration. Should it pass, Michigan will join at least 20 other states that already prohibit breed-specific legislation.
Read the backround, details and opposing arguments for Senate Bill 239 here.
H/T to Detroit Free Press