The Ohio General Assembly once again has an opportunity to change a law that has discriminated against responsible dog owners for 20 years. Ohio dog owners and the AKC needs the help of clubs and dog owners nationwide to make this a reality.
In mid-March, Ohio Representative Barbara Sears introduced House Bill 79, which removes the term “pit bull” from Ohio’s statutory definition of dangerous dogs. Ohio is currently the only state to have enacted statewide breed-specific legislation (BSL). The current Ohio law states that if a dog "belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull", then it is automatically considered vicious and dangerous and the owner is required to submit reports to the board of health and county dog warden whenever there is a transfer of ownership.
This vague language in state law has enabled numerous local Ohio municipalities to enact ordinances regarding ownership of "pit bulls" that are even stricter than state law. Many Ohio cities and towns have passed outright bans on the ownership of dogs considered to be “pit bulls”.
Instead of holding all dog owners accountable for their behavior, breed-specific laws single out specific owners simply because of the breed of dog they choose, regardless of whether the dog has actually caused harm. Ohio law already has strong dangerous dog language in statute and the BSL language does nothing to make the law more effective.
The American Kennel Club strongly supports House Bill 79 to remove BSL from Ohio law. The bill is currently in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. To date, the committee chairman has held one hearing for sponsor testimony. AKC has issued legislative alerts and AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung has sent a letter to the committee chairman expressing our support for the bill.
We ask you to join us in voicing your strong support for Ohio House Bill 79. This is a wonderful opportunity for clubs, fanciers, and dog owners nationwide to help restore the rights of responsible dog owners. Please take a few minutes to contact the members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and ask them to take the first step towards ending 20 years of discrimination by allowing House Bill 79 to pass out of committee.
Click here for more information on House Bill 79 and committee contact information.