Breed-specific legislation

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Breed-specific legislation is a law passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds.

Some jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds commonly used in dog fighting, and some government organizations such as the United States Army[1] and Marine Corps[2] have taken administrative action as well. This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs, to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally "dangerous" or "vicious." In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municipal governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation.[3]

It is generally settled in case law that jurisdictions in the United States and Canada have the right to enact breed-specific legislation; however, the appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries is disputed.[4] One point of view is that certain dog breeds are a public safety issue that merits actions such as banning ownership, mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs of these breeds, mandatory microchip implants and liability insurance, or prohibiting people convicted of a felony from owning them.[5][6] Another point of view is that comprehensive "dog bite" legislation, coupled with better consumer education and legally mandating responsible pet keeping practices, is a better solution than breed-specific legislation to the problem of dangerous dogs.[7][8] A third point of view is that breed-specific legislation should not ban breeds entirely, but should strictly regulate the conditions under which specific breeds could be owned, e.g., forbidding certain classes of individuals from owning them, specifying public areas in which they would be prohibited, and establishing conditions, such as requiring a dog to wear a muzzle, for taking dogs from specific breeds into public places.[9] Finally, some governments, such as that of Australia, have forbidden the import of specific breeds and are requiring the spay/neuter of all existing dogs of these breeds in an attempt to eliminate the population slowly through natural attrition.[10][11]

Australia[edit]

The importation of the Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese tosa, American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario into Australia is absolutely prohibited.[12]

State Date Type Details
New South Wales January 13, 2006 Restriction The following dogs are restricted dogs...:
(a) American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier,
(b) Japanese tosa,
(c) dogo Argentino,
(d) fila Brasileiro,
(d1) any other dog of a breed, kind or description whose importation into Australia is prohibited by or under the Customs Act 1901 of the Commonwealth,
(e) any dog declared by an authorised officer of a council...to be a restricted dog,
(f) any other dog of a breed, kind or description prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this section.[13]

Restricted dogs may not be sold, given away, or acquired, and must be spay/neutered. They must be muzzled when in public, wear a special red-and-yellow collar, and may only be handled by a competent adult over the age of 18. The dog must live a secure enclosure when at home, and the owner must post "Warning: Dangerous Dog" signs on their property. The owner must also register the dog with the local government and notify the government if the dog attacks a person or animal, cannot be found, dies, has moved out of the area, or is now living at a different location within the local government's jurisdiction.[14]

Queensland July 1, 2009 Restriction A dog of a breed prohibited from importation into Australia under the Australian Customs Act of 1901 is considered "restricted." Breeds currently prohibited under Commonwealth legislation are the dogo Argentino; fila Brasiliero; Japanese tosa; American pit bull terrier (or pit bull terrier); and Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario).

A person who owns a "restricted" dog must:

  • keep the dog within a child-proof enclosure
  • display warning signs at the entrance to the property where the dog is located
  • muzzle the dog in public and have it under effective control at all times
  • ensure the dog is spay/neutered, wearing a collar and a prescribed tag, and is microchipped.[15][16]|-
South Australia July 1, 2004 Restriction The dogo Argentino; fila Brasiliero; Japanese tosa; American pit bull terrier (or pit bull terrier); and Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario) are considered "prescribed breeds." Owners of prescribed breeds:
  • must muzzle their dogs and ensure they are under effective control by means of physical restraint
  • must spay/neuter their dogs
  • may not sell or give away their dog, or advertise to sell or give away their dog[17]
Victoria November 2, 2005 Restriction "Restricted breed" dogs are defined as those dogs prohibited from being imported by the Commonwealth Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, including the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasileiro, the Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario) and the American Pit Bull Terrier (or Pit Bull Terrier). Of these, the Pit Bull Terrier and the Perro de Presa Canario are the only breeds currently known to exist in Australia.[18] Restrictions on these breeds include:
  • a permit is required for a person to have more than two of a restricted breed;
  • escape-proof and child-proof enclosures;
  • permanent identification using microchip technology;
  • owners must notify their council if the dog escapes, dies or there is a change of ownership;
  • in the case of a change of ownership, owners must advise prospective owners that the dog is a restricted breed;
  • dogs must be leashed and muzzled when in public places;
  • conspicuous "Beware: Restricted Dog" signs must be displayed on property access points; and
  • minors are not to own a restricted breed or be in charge of a restricted breed in public places.[19]
Western Australia March 2006 Restriction The following dog breeds are restricted:
  • Dogo Argentino (Argentinean mastiff)
  • Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian mastiff)
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Pit Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier breeds
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario
  • and any dog of a mixed breed that visibly contains any of these breeds.

All restricted breed dogs must be muzzled, leashed and controlled by an adult who is physically capable of handling the dog, in any environment except prescribed enclosures. Restricted breed dogs are also required to be sterilised unless there are extenuating circumstances relating to the animal’s physical condition or medical treatment. Owners of these breeds are required to display of warning signs where these dogs are kept, meet stringent fencing requirements, notify the local government of changes in the dogs status (moved, died, etc..), and ensure their dogs wear dangerous dog collars.[20]

Canada[edit]

The Canadian federal government does not regulate pit bull-type dogs, but one provincial government and some municipal governments in Canada have enacted breed-specific legislation banning or restricting pit bull-type dogs. The following table discusses a sampling of the restrictions in force.

Samples of legislation[edit]

Province Locality Date Type Details
Ontario All August 29, 2005 Ban Except as permitted by this Act or the regulations, no person shall,
(a) own a pit bull;
(b) breed a pit bull;
(c) transfer a pit bull, whether by sale, gift or otherwise;
(d) abandon a pit bull other than to a pound operated by or on behalf of a municipality, Ontario or a designated body;
(e) allow a pit bull in his or her possession to stray;
(f) import a pit bull into Ontario; or
(g) train a pit bull for fighting.[21]


Pit bulls are "grandfathered" if they were owned by an Ontario resident on August 29, 2005, or born in Ontario within 90 days after August 29, 2005. These dogs are subject to strict regulation and control, including the following:

  • They must be muzzled and kept on a leash no more than 1.8 meters long when in public or not on enclosed property
  • They must be spayed or neutered unless a veterinarian certifies the dog is physically unfit to be anesthetized
  • They are automatically euthanized if a court finds they have bitten, attacked, or posed a menace, or if their owners are found to be in violation of the law or a related court order.
  • Their owners are entirely liable for any and all damage caused by a bite or an attack[22]

A document purporting to be signed by a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario stating that a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act is receivable in evidence in a prosecution for an offence under this Act as proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the dog is a pit bull for the purposes of this Act, without proof of the signature and without proof that the signatory is a member of the College.[21]

Manitoba Winnipeg June 1, 1990 Ban "Pit Bull dog" means
(i) Pit Bull Terrier; or
(ii) Staffordshire Bull Terrier; or
(iii) American Staffordshire Terrier; or
(iv) American Pit Bull Terrier; or
(v) Argentine Dogo; or
(vi) Any dog which has the appearance and physical characteristics predominantly conforming to the standards for any of the above breeds, as established by the Canadian Kennel Club or the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club ...as determined by a veterinarian licensed to practice in Manitoba.

...Any Pit Bull dog within the City of Winnipeg is and shall be conclusively deemed a dangerous dog. ...No person shall keep or harbour any Pit Bull dog regardless of age on or after June 1, 1990, except where the owner has a valid dangerous dog licence for that dog which has been issued prior to that date.[23][24]

Legal challenges[edit]

Rally in front of the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto supporting repeal of breed-specific legislation in Ontario

In Cochrane v. Ontario (Attorney General), 2007 CanLII 9231 (ON S.C.), Ms. Catherine Cochrane sued the Province of Ontario to prevent it from enforcing the Dog Owner's Liability Act (DOLA) ban on pit bull-type dogs, arguing that the law was unconstitutionally broad because the ban was grossly disproportionate to the risk pit bulls pose to public safety, and that the law was unconstitutionally vague because failed to provide an intelligible definition of pit bulls. She also argued that a provision allowing the Crown to introduce as evidence a veterinarian’s certificate certifying that the dog is a pit bull violates the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.
The presiding judge ruled that the DOLA was not overbroad because,

"The evidence with respect to the dangerousness of pit bulls, although conflicting and inconclusive, is sufficient, in my opinion, to constitute a 'reasoned apprehension of harm'. In the face of conflicting evidence as to the feasibility of less restrictive means to protect the public, it was open to the legislature to decide to restrict the ownership of all pit bulls."[25]

The presiding judge found the term "a pit bull terrier" was unconstitutionally vague since it could include an undefined number of dogs similar to the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.[25] The judge also ruled that the government's ability to introduce a veterinarian’s certificate certifying that the dog is a pit bull created a mandatory presumption that the dog was a pit bull, and that this placed an unconstitutional burden of proof upon the defendant.[25]

Ms. Cochrane and the Attorney General of Ontario appealed different aspects of the decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.[26] In Cochrane v. Ontario (2008 ONCA 718), the Court of Appeal reversed the lower court's ruling:

  • It agreed with the lower court judge in finding that the “overbreadth” claim failed because the legislature had acted on a “reasonable apprehension of harm.”
  • It disagreed that the definition of pit bull in the Act was insufficiently precise and restored the original wording of "pit bull terrier" on the basis that, when read in the context of “a more comprehensive definition,” the phrasing “a pit bull terrier” was sufficiently precise.
  • It reversed the trial court and found that the government's ability to introduce a veterinarian's certificate certifying a dog was a pit bull would constitute proof only if the defendant failed to answer the claim: it was therefore a tactical burden, rather an evidentiary burden.[27]

On June 11, 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear further appeal of the case, thereby upholding the Ontario ban on pit bulls.[26]

Ireland[edit]

The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 place controls on 11 breeds of dogs:

These dogs, or strains and crosses thereof, must be kept on a strong, short lead (less than 2 metres / 6'7") by a person over 16 years of age who is capable of controlling them. The dog/s must be securely muzzled too.[28] Breed-specific laws are opposed by the campaign group Unmuzzle Ireland.[29]

United States[edit]

The United States federal government has not enacted breed-specific legislation, but the Marine Corps[2] has banned "large dog breeds with a predisposition toward aggressive or dangerous behavior,"[2] including pit bull-type dogs (among other breeds) in on-base housing and privatized housing, as have a number of United States Army,[1] U.S. Air Force and Navy installations. One state government and several hundred municipal governments in the United States have enacted breed-specific legislation banning or restricting pit bull-type dogs and a few other breeds.[4]

Samples of legislation[edit]

State Locality Date Type Details
Arkansas
Maumelle April 6, 1998 Ban Banned breeds of dogs are banned entirely and may not be owned or kept within the city. Banned breeds of dogs are any of the following:
  1. American Pit Bull Terrier.
  2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
  3. American Staffordshire Terrier.
  4. American Bulldog.
  5. Any dog whose sire or dam is a dog of a breed which is defined as a banned breed of dog under this section.
  6. Any dog whose owner registers, defines, admits or otherwise identifies the dog as being of a banned breed.
  7. Any dog conforming or substantially conforming to the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or American Bulldog as defined by the United Kennel Club or American Kennel Club.
  8. Any dog which is of the breed commonly referred to as "pit bull" and commonly recognizable and identifiable as such.
  9. Any vicious dog which is found at large in violation of section 10-90.[30]
Colorado
Adams County No Ban Colorado Revised Statute does not specify any particular breed as being a dangerous dog[31]
Aurora October 25, 2005 Ban It [is] unlawful for any person to have, own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city any pit bull or restricted breed of dog.

“Pit bull" ... is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.

“Restricted Breed Of Dog” shall mean any American Bulldog (Old Country Bulldog), Dogo Argentino, Canary Dog (Canary Island Dog, Presa Canario, Perro De Presa Canario), Presa Mallorquin (Perro de Presa Mallorquin, Ca De Bou), Tosa Inu (Tosa Fighting Dog, Japanese Fighting Dog, Japanese Mastiff), Cane Corso (Cane Di Macellaio, Sicilian Branchiero), Fila Brasileiro or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds.

Owners of pit bull dogs and restricted dogs licensed within 60 days of the ordinance's effective date could keep their dogs only under restricted conditions, including:

  • if the dog is licensed, spay/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and has microchip identification;
  • the owner is at least 21 years old and has at least $100,000 US liability insurance
  • the dog is kept indoors or locked in a secured pen, with government-provided warning signs posted at entrances to the property;
  • when off the property, the dog must be kept in a secure transportable container or must wear a muzzle while held on a four-foot long non-extensible leash;
  • the dog may not be sold or transferred to anyone outside the owner's immediate family
  • the owner must notify the government immediately if the dog is loose, stolen, at-large, unconfined, has mauled, bitten, attacked, threatened, or in any way menaced another animal or human, or has died.[32]
Denver July 31, 1989

suspended from April 21, 2004 to May 8, 2005

Ban It [is] unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city any pit bull.

A "pit bull" ... is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds. The A.K.C. and U.K.C. standards for the above breeds are on file in the office of the clerk and recorder, ex officio clerk of the City and County of Denver, at City Clerk Filing No. 89457.
The law allowed owners of pit bulls living in Denver in July 1989 to keep them provided the owner:

  • Registered the dog with the city and allowed the city to tattoo it with the registration number
  • Was at least 21 years old
  • Had $100,000 US in liability insurance
  • Kept the dog confined
  • Did not sell or otherwise transfer the dog to anyone except someone in the owner's immediate family.
  • Posted a sign of specified dimensions and lettering ("PIT BULL DOG") at every possible entrance to the property where the dog was kept.[33]
Florida
Miami-Dade County 1989 Ban "It is illegal in Miami-Dade County to own any dog which substantially conforms to a Pit Bull breed dog, unless it was specially registered with Miami-Dade County prior to 1989. Acquisition or keeping of a Pit Bull dog: $500.00 fine and County Court action to force the removal of the animal from Miami-Dade County."[34]
Iowa
Council Bluffs November 9, 2004[35] Ban "It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city of Council Bluffs, Iowa, any pit bull....A “pit bull” is defined as any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds (more so than any other breed), or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds. The A.K.C. and U.K.C. standards for the above breeds are on file in the office of the director of public health."[36]
Sioux City September 15, 2008 Bans new dogs "Current pit bull owners [as of September 15, 2008] who keep their dog registered can keep their pet but not to replace it with another pit bull when it dies. The ban exempts the Humane Society, Animal Control, dogs participating in dog shows, and puppies born to pit bulls in the city, up to six months of age.


Any pit bull not in compliance will be impounded, and the owner given 10 days to pay the impoundment costs and produce evidence the dog will be permanently removed from Sioux City. Otherwise it will be put down.[37][38]

Kansas
Overland Park September 21, 1987; amended July 17, 2007 Ban "No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dangerous animal in the City of Overland Park....

"For the purposes of this chapter "dangerous animal" means and includes...any pit bull dog. "Pit bull dog" is defined to mean any and all of the following dogs:

a. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs;
b. The American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs;
c. The American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs;
d. Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of dogs known as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier.

"The registration of a dog at any time in any jurisdiction as a pit bull or any of the dogs listed above shall constitute prima facie evidence the animal is prohibited by this section. "All owners, keepers or harborers of registered pit bull dogs or wolf hybrids must within ten (10) days of the effective date of this ordinance provide proof to the City Clerk of public liability insurance in a single incident amount of $300,000.00 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property owned by any persons which may result from the ownership, keeping or maintenance of such animal."[39]

Note: the ordinance was amended in 2007 to increase liability insurance requirements from $50,000 to $300,000

Kentucky
Union County January 1, 2008 Restriction A vicious dog (Pit Bull and Wolf-Hybrids) shall be annually registered and fee paid. A fee of $50.00, Name, Address, and Telephone Number of owner, Address (place of harbor), Identification, Genus, Species, Name, Gender, Color, Distinguishing Marks, Size, Weight, and (2) two colored photographs before dog can be registered. Owner must also have proof of Rabies Shots, and proof of spayed or neutered, otherwise written statement from veterinarian for reason[40]
Maryland
Prince George's County 1996 Bans new dogs "Effective February 3, 1997, in compliance with the Prince George’s County Code, Section 3-185.01, it is illegal to own or harbor a non-registered Pit Bull in Prince George’s County. To legally own a Pit Bull in the County, your pet must have been registered with the Animal Management Group prior to February 3, 1997 and maintain a current Pit Bull registration. The registration tag must be worn by the Pit Bull at all times. All Pit Bulls with expired registrations are considered illegal and will be impounded, and the owner may be fined or face criminal prosecution. If your registered Pit Bull produces a litter, the puppies are considered illegal and must leave Prince George’s County. Citizens and residents are prohibited by law from selling or giving away Pit Bulls in Prince George’s County.

"The Code also requires that Pit Bulls be maintained within a building or secured kennel if kept outdoors for any length of time. In addition, the Code states that Pit Bulls outside of a building or kennel must be under the control of an adult and secured by an unbreakable leash. Violations to this provision will result in fines up to $1,000 or a sentence of not more than six months imprisonment.

"Pit Bulls include any and all of the following breed of dogs: Staffordshire Bull Terrier; American Staffordshire Terrier; American Pit Bull Terrier; or dogs that exhibit the characteristics of a Pit Bull more than any other breed of dog."[41]

Michigan
Livingston County May 20, 2008 Restriction "No Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American Bulldog, Argentine Dogo, mixes (AKA Bully breeds) or any aggressive animal will be adopted or placed from Livingston County Animal Control
  • Stray Bully breeds and aggressive animals will be held for the State mandated holding period (pending owner claim). If not claimed the animal will be humanely euthanized
  • Owners may claim their aggressive animal after they show reasonable proof of ownership and pay fees. Further, Animal Control Department will refer matter to Prosecutor’s Office for a determination regarding potential prosecution for violation of law.
  • The Livingston County Animal Control staff has sole discretionary authority to deem an animal to be aggressive or to be a bully breed"[42]
Melvindale April 4, 1990 Ban Pit bull or pit bull terrier means and refers to any canine (purebred or hybrid) which exhibits those phenotypical characteristics which:
  1. Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers; or
  2. Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers;
  3. The standards of the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club referred to herein shall remain on file with the clerk of the city. Technical deficiencies in the dog's conformance to the standards of this definition shall not be construed to indicate that the subject dog is not a pit bull terrier under this division.

It is unlawful for any person to acquire, possess or maintain, within the city any pit bull terrier except for dogs owned prior to April 4, 1990. Penalty: $100 or up to 30 days in jail for every day a pit bull is within the city limits.[43]

Missouri
Independence August 28, 2006 Bans new dogs Pit bulls are only allowed in the city limits if they were registered before August 28, 2006. No new pit bulls are allowed to register after this date.[44]

Owners of pit bulls already living in Independence have to register and microchip the dog, and the pit bulls must also be spayed or neutered....Owners of pit bulls ... have to carry $300,000 in liability insurance and face stiffer fines and jail time if there is a problem.[45]

Kearney July 7, 2007 Bans new dogs "It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the City of Kearney, Missouri, any pit bull dog; provided, that pit bull dogs residing in the City on the date of passage of this Section [July 2, 2007] may be kept within the City subject to the standards and requirements herein set forth. "Pit bull dog" is defined to mean:
  1. The bull terrier breed of dog;
  2. Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog;
  3. The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;
  4. The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;
  5. Dogs of mixed breed or other breeds than above listed which breed or mixed breed is known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers;
  6. Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier; any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers or a combination of any of these breeds.
  7. A pit bull may be identified as any dog which exhibits those distinguishing characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club as described in the identification checklist which is on file in the City offices. An identification using the above standards shall be prima facie proof and create a rebuttable presumption that a dog is a pit bull."

The owners of any pit bull legally resident within the city must:

  • register the dog with the city and provide two identification photographs of the dog to the city
  • securely confine the dog, and never tether the dog to an inanimate object
  • post warning signs ("Beware of dog – pit bull")
  • obtain a $300,000 USD liability insurance policy
  • report the death, departure out of the city, or birth of any offspring of the dog
  • never sell the dog to anyone in the city unless they are living in the same location as the current owner
  • any puppies born of a pit bull must leave the city at six weeks of age.[46]
Springfield April 13, 2006 Bans new dogs It is unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the city any pit bull. Pit bull means any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds. The A.K.C. and U.K.C. standards for the above breeds are on file in the office of the city clerk.

People owning pit bulls on April 13, 2006 must:

  • Register their dog with the city government
  • Microchip and spay/neuter the dog.
  • Notify the city within 5 days if the dog is lost, stolen, dies, or has a litter.
  • Remove any pit bull puppies from the city limits or turn them over to the city to be euthanized
  • Post a sign stating "PIT BULL DOG" in two-inch letters at each possible entrance to the owner's property[47]
Ohio All May 22, 2012 Restriction removed February 21, 2012, Governor John Kasich officially signed HB 14 into law effectively eliminating the 25-year-old law (enacted July 10, 1987) that declared pit bulls to be vicious dogs.

"To amend sections 955.08, 955.11, 955.22, 955.99, 1901.18, and 1907.031 and to enact sections 955.222 and 955.54 of the Revised Code to

  • remove pit bulls from the definition of "vicious dog" in state law,
  • establish a process by which owners, keepers, or harborers of dogs that have been designated as nuisance, dangerous, or vicious may appeal that designation,
  • define a "nuisance dog,"
  • change the definitions of a "dangerous dog" and a "vicious dog,"
  • require the owner of a dangerous dog to obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate,
  • prohibit certain felons from owning dogs under certain conditions, and
  • change the penalties involving ownership of nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs."

[48]"title=Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 955 (Dogs)". State of Ohio. 2012-05-22. 

Garfield Heights October 24, 2007 Ban No person shall own, keep, harbor or have on public or private property a pit bull dog as hereinafter defined within the Municipal limits of the City of Garfield Heights, Ohio (City).

“Pit bull dog” as used in this section means any dog whose blood line includes that of a Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull or American pit bull terrier, or any other dog whose appearance and characteristics render it identifiable as partially of one or more of such breeds.[49]

Toledo January 9, 2009 Restriction

(a) No person or organization or corporation shall own, keep, harbor or provide sustenance for more than one dog commonly known as a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mixed breed dog, regardless of age, in the City of Toledo, with the exception of puppies commonly known as Pit Bull or Pit Bull mixed breed for which the owner has filed an ownership acknowledgment form in person with the Dog Warden of Lucas County, prior to reaching seven (7) days of age. The ownership of these puppies must be transferred according to Ohio R.C. 955.11(B) and (D) before they are three (3) months of age. Additionally, this section requires that all dogs commonly known as Pit Bull or Pit Bull mixed breed dogs are required, when off the owners' premises, to be securely confined as described in Ohio R. C. 955.22 and muzzled.

(b) Any Pit Bull which is outside the premises of the dog owner shall be kept on a leash and muzzled until the dog's return to the premises of ownership.

(c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Each day that a violation of this section exists shall constitute a separate offense.

(d) Any Pit Bull or Pit Bull mixed breed dog which has been seized in connection with a violation of this Section may be ordered destroyed or returned to its Owner only on the condition that the dog is first spayed or neutered at the owner's expense.[50]

Rhode Island
Pawtucket January 1, 2004 Ban "It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull dog." City of Pawtucket Municipal Code, Chapter 116, Article IV, Section 116-37.1.
Tennessee
Statewide January 2013 Proposed State Legislation Struck Down in 2013 HB 0621 Presented by Brenda Gilmore January 31, 2013 proposing $25,000 in liability insurance coverage for owners of dogs that fall within the state of Tennessee's "dangerous breeds" category [51]
City ordinances in Tennessee various Bans List of 13 cities in Tennessee with local level pit bull bans or breed specific ordinances: Brownsville, Ducktown, Dyer, Etowah, Fayetville, Lookout Mountain, Moscow, Nashville, Selmer, Signal Mountain, South Pittsburg, Sparta, Springfield.[52]
Sparta (Watertown, Tennessee) August 2005 registration Active City Ordinance requires pit bull registry with the city of Watertown, TN in addition to: minimum of $50,000 of liability insurance, mandatory muzzle & leash in public places, "beware of dog" signs posted, confinement without possibility of escape unless wearing muzzle and leash under the control of owner, identifying photos for records, and registration with city upon changing residence or transfer or ownership.[53]
Texas
Statewide May 17, 2007 Lillian's Law Enacted - Criminal Negligence for Dog Owners Lilian's Law-HB 1355 is enacted, allowing criminal prosecution for owners of loose "dangerous dogs" for injuries sustained by the unconfined dogs. Lillian's law makes it a third degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if a dog's owner is found negligent for dog bite injuries.[54]
Utah On April 2, 2014, Governor Gary Herbert signed bill HB-97 into law, which will take effect on January 1, 2015. The bill prohibits BSL in any Utah municipality, stating that "A municipality may not adopt or enforce a breed-specific rule, regulation, policy, or ordinance regarding dogs", and "Any breed-specific rule, regulation, policy, or ordinance regarding dogs is void".[55]
Delta January 8, 2001 Ban "The term pit bull dog used within this part shall refer to any dog which has any or all of (a) pit bull breeding; (b) characteristics resembling a pit bull and/or (c) exhibits those distinguishing characteristics which
  1. Substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers or
  2. Substantially conform to the standards established by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers
  3. Technical deficiencies in the dogs conformance to the standards described in subsection one and two shall not be construed to indicate that the subject dog is not a Pit Bull Dog under this ordinance

It shall be unlawful to keep any Pit Bull Dog as defined in this ordinance within the incorporated area of the City of Delta, Utah."[56]

Washington
Enumclaw 1990 Ban “Pit bull dog” means any dog over the age of six months known by the owner to be a Pit Bull Terrier. Pit Bull Terrier shall mean any Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier so as to be identifiable as partially of the breed Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier.

It is unlawful to keep, or harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog within the city.[57]

Royal City January 12, 2007 Ban Section 6.04.020: ...A "dangerous dog" also includes:
  1. Any dog known by the owner to be a Pit Bull Terrier, which shall be defined as any American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog or American Staffordshire Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of such breeds (hereafter a "pit bull dog").
  2. Any dog known by the owner to be a Rottweiler breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Rottweiler as to be identifiable as partially of such breeds (hereafter a "Rottweiler dog").

No one shall keep, possess or harbor a dangerous dog, as defined by Section 6.04.020 within the city.[58]

Yakima July 28, 1987 Ban “Pit bull dog” means any pit bull terrier. “Pit bull terrier” means any American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier so as to be identifiable as partially of the breed American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog or American Staffordshire terrier.

It is unlawful to keep, or harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog within the city of Yakima. Violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor. The minimum fine for a violation of this section shall be two hundred fifty dollars for the first offense and five hundred dollars for a second or subsequent offense, which fine shall not be suspended or deferred. For purposes of this section, proof of a prior violation shall not require proof that the same pit bull dog is involved. Each day of violation shall be a separate offense.

This [does] not apply to pit bull dogs which: (1) do not reside in the city of Yakima, (2) are brought into the city for the purposes of participating in a dog show or canine sporting event for which the owner is able to show proof of entry, and (3) do not remain in the city of Yakima for a period exceeding ninety-six consecutive hours.[59]

West Virginia
Wheeling January 17, 2006 Restriction Definitions:

Canary Dog.” Any canary dog or Perro do Presa Canario, or any mixed breed of dog which contains, as an element or its breeding, the breed of canary dog or Perro do Presa Canario as to be identifiable as partially of the breed canary dog or Perro de Presa Canario. If there is a question of whether a particular canine fits the definition herein; it will be sufficient to show identification of a canine as either a pure bred or belonging to a mixed breed if a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) would identify the canine as such.

“Pit Bull Terrier.” Any Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, or American Staffordshire terrier breed or dog, or any mixed breed of dog which contains, as an element of its breeding, the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier, as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier. If there is a question of whether a particular canine fits the definition herein; it will be sufficient to show identification of a canine as either a pure bred or belonging to a mixed breed if a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) would identify the canine as such.

“Vicious Dog.” Any dog that, without provocation, meets any of the following requirements:

  1. Has killed or caused serious injury to any person;
  2. Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person or has killed another dog;
  3. While off the premises of the owner, bites or causes physical harm to a human being, domestic animal, or feline;
  4. While on the premises of the owner or premises under control of the owner, bites or otherwise causes physical harm to mail carriers, utility workers, City of Wheeling employees, delivery persons, or any police or emergency person; or
  5. Belongs to the breed that is commonly known as a pit bull terrier, canary dog, and American bull dog. The ownership, keeping or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.

Owners of vicious dogs must:

  • securely confine their dogs
  • leash and muzzle their dogs when the dogs are not confined
  • Post "Beware of Dog" signs at entrance points to their property
  • Procure $100,000 US in liability insurance
  • Spay/neuter the dog
  • Notify the government if the dog escapes, or if it bites a person or an animal[60]
Wisconsin
South Milwaukee March 17, 1989 Ban "Pit Bull" as used in this ordinance means: Any Pit Bull Terrier, which shall be defined as any American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

No person shall harbor, keep or maintain within the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee any Pit Bull which was not currently registered and licensed by the City of South Milwaukee on or before April 1, 1989. This prohibition shall not be applied to animals being transported through the City limits of the City of South Milwaukee within a one-hour period of time and to dogs exempted under Sec. 174.005 and 174.006.

A pup born to a female Pit Bull licensed and registered pursuant to paragraphs 8(A) and 13 hereof shall be removed from the City of South Milwaukee before the date on which it is required to be licensed pursuant to Chapter 174, Wis. Stats.[61]

Legal challenges[edit]

Court challenges to breed-specific legislation on constitutional grounds have been largely unsuccessful. Dana M. Campbell summarized the legal challenges and the general court findings as of July 2009:

Court cases challenging BSL have focused on constitutional concerns such as substantive due process, equal protection, and vagueness. Most BSL will survive the minimum scrutiny analysis allowed by the due process clauses of the Constitution’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments because there is no fundamental right at issue. This analysis requires that the law being challenged must be rationally related to a legitimate government goal or purpose. Because state and local jurisdictions enjoy broad police powers, including protecting the public’s safety and welfare, courts have not had trouble finding that BSL is rationally related to the goal of protecting the public from allegedly dangerous breeds.

This has caused big problems for many who use them as police, guide or other service dogs, as they are not always excluded, and in some cases are confiscated and put down.

Challenges based on equal protection arguments are similarly difficult to sustain. Here courts are looking at whether there is a rational purpose for treating pit bull breeds differently from other dog breeds. Dog owners have attacked the rational purpose requirement by arguing either that BSL is over-inclusive, because it bans all dogs of a breed when only certain individuals within the breed have proven to be vicious, or under-inclusive, because many types of dogs have injured people and the BSL fails to include those other breeds. However, again under minimum scrutiny review, BSL will survive as long as the government can establish that the BSL is rationally related to its purpose, even if the law is found to be over-inclusive or under-inclusive.

Claims that BSL is unconstitutionally vague have brought dog owners mixed success. Procedural due process requires that laws provide the public with sufficient notice of the activity or conduct being regulated or banned. Here owners of pit bulls or other banned breeds argue that the breed ban laws do not adequately define just what is a “pit bull” (or other banned breed) for purposes of the ban. Another argument is that the laws are too vague to help the dog-owning public or the BSL enforcement agency—such as animal control or police—to be able to identify whether a dog falls under the BSL if the dog was adopted with an unknown origin or is a mixed breed.[4]

Federal courts[edit]

Sentell v. New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Company[edit]

In Sentell v. New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Company, 166 U.S. 698 (1897), Mr. Sentell sued the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad Company to recover the value of his female Newfoundland dog that he alleged to have been negligently killed by the railroad company. The company claimed that Louisiana law held that only people who licensed their dogs were entitled to sue for compensation if the dog were killed, and that Mr. Sentell was not entitled to damages since he had not licensed his dog. The trial court in Orleans Parish found for Mr. Sentell and awarded him $250 US, so the railroad company appealed to the Louisiana Court of Appeal, which reversed the decision of the trial court. The Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear the case, so Mr. Sentell then appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which agreed to hear the case.

The Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Sentell and established the precedent in U.S. jurisprudence that the regulation of dogs was within the police power of the state, and that the dogs were not as valuable as horses, cattle, sheep, or other domesticated animals:

It is true that under the Fourteenth Amendment, no state can deprive a person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law, but in determining what is due process of law, we are bound to consider the nature of the property, the necessity for its sacrifice, and the extent to which it has heretofore been regarded as within the police power. So far as property is inoffensive or harmless, it can only be condemned or destroyed by legal proceedings, with due notice to the owner; but, so far as it is dangerous to the safety or health of the community, due process of law may authorize its summary destruction....



Although dogs are ordinarily harmless, they preserve some of their hereditary wolfish instincts, which occasionally break forth in the destruction of sheep and other helpless animals. Others, too small to attack these animals, are simply vicious, noisy, and pestilent. As their depredations are often committed at night, it is usually impossible to identify the dog or to fix the liability upon the owner, who, moreover, is likely to be pecuniarily irresponsible [irresponsible with money]. In short, the damages are usually such as are beyond the reach of judicial process, and legislation of a drastic nature is necessary to protect persons and property from destruction and annoyance. Such legislation is clearly within the police power of the state. It ordinarily takes the form of a license tax, and the identification of the dog by a collar and tag, upon which the name of the owner is sometimes required to be engraved, but other remedies are not uncommon.[62]
Vanater v. Village of South Point[edit]

In Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 (D. Ohio 1989), the Ohio federal district court held that the criminal ordinance of South Point, Ohio prohibiting the owning or harboring of pit bull terriers within the village limits was not overly broad, concluding:

The Court concludes that the definitions of a Pit Bull Terrier in this Ordinance are not unconstitutionally vague. An ordinary person could easily refer to a dictionary, a dog buyer's guide or any dog book for guidance and instruction; also, the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club have set forth standards for Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers to help determine whether a dog is described by any one of them. While it may be true that some definitions contain descriptions which lack "mathematical certainty," such precision and definiteness is not essential to constitutionality.

The court made the following findings of fact when it determined the village showed that pit bull terriers are uniquely dangerous and therefore, are proper subjects of the village's police power for the protection of the public's health and welfare:

  • Pit Bulls ... possess the quality of gameness, which is not a totally clear concept, but which can be described as the propensity to catch and maul an attacked victim unrelentingly until death occurs, or as the continuing tenacity and tendency to attack repeatedly for the purpose of killing. It is clear that the unquantifiable, unpredictable aggressiveness and gameness of Pit Bulls make them uniquely dangerous.
  • Pit Bulls have the following distinctive behavioral characteristics: a) grasping strength, b) climbing and hanging ability, c) weight pulling ability, d) a history of frenzy, which is the trait of unusual relentless ferocity or the extreme concentration on fighting and attacking, e) a history of catching, fighting, and killing instinct, f) the ability to be extremely destructive and aggressive, g) highly tolerant of pain, h) great biting strength, i) undying tenacity and courage and they are highly unpredictable.
  • While these traits, tendencies or abilities are not unique to Pit Bulls exclusively, Pit Bulls will have these instincts and phenotypical characteristics; most significantly, such characteristics can be latent and may appear without warning or provocation.
  • The breeding history of Pit Bulls makes it impossible to rule out a violent propensity for any one dog as gameness and aggressiveness can be hidden for years. Given the Pit Bull's genetical physical strengths and abilities, a Pit Bull always poses the possibility of danger; given the Pit Bull's breeding history as a fighting dog and the latency of its aggressiveness and gameness, the Pit Bull poses a danger distinct from other breeds of dogs which do not so uniformly share those traits.
  • While Pit Bulls are not the only breed of dog which can be dangerous or vicious, it is reasonable to single out the breed to anticipate and avoid the dangerous aggressiveness which may be undetectable in a Pit Bull.[63]
American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Fla.[edit]

In American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Dade County, Fla., 728 F.Supp. 1533 (S.D.Fla.,1989), dog owners sued in the federal district court of Florida to prevent Dade County from enforcing a pit bull ban, claiming that there is no such thing as a pit bull dog but rather three separate breeds; however, their own expert witnesses repeatedly identified dogs from the three separate breeds as "pit bull dogs" during the trial. The court upheld the Dade County ordinance, concluding:

Based upon the substantial evidence presented at trial, this court finds that Dade County Ordinance No. 89-022 provides sufficient guidance to dog owners, both in its explicit reference to pit bull dogs, and in its definitional section, to enable pit bull owners to determine whether their dogs fall within the proscriptions of the ordinance....Certainly there are some applications of the ordinance which pass constitutional muster. As long as the enactment is not impermissibly vague in all its applications, this court must uphold its constitutionality. Upon consideration of the evidence presented at trial, the pleadings, memoranda, exhibits and arguments of counsel and upon application of the controlling authority, this court finds that plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of proof and that the Court is required to uphold the constitutionality of Dade County Ordinance No. 089-22.[64]

American Canine Federation and Florence Vianzon, v. City of Aurora, CO[edit]

In American Canine Federation and Florence Vianzon v. City of Aurora, Colorado, 618 F.Supp.2d 1271, the plaintiffs sued in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado to prevent Aurora, Colorado from enforcing a pit bull ban on the grounds that the law was unconstitutionally vague, that the law was an abuse of the city's police power, and that the ban represented an unconstitutional taking of property. The court rejected each of these claims based on existing legal precedents and upheld the city's ordinance.[65]

State courts[edit]

Arkansas[edit]

In Holt v. City of Maumelle, 817 S.W.2d 208 (AR., 1991), Mr. Steele Holt sued the city of Maumelle, Arkansas in 1988 in an attempt to have its prohibition against pit bulls overturned on the grounds that the ordinance was impermissibly vague, that it was unreasonable to ban pit bull-type dogs, and that the city's Board of Directors committed a breach of contract by passing a pit bull ordinance that it had previously agreed to forego; Mr. Holt also asked that the city pay compensatory damages, punitive damages, and his attorney's fees. The Pulaski County circuit court made a summary judgment dismissing the suit, and Mr. Holt appealed. In 1991, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's decision, finding that the pit bull ordinance was not impermissibly vague, that the restrictions were reasonable, and that any agreement made by the city to limit its own legislative powers was null and void since the city's first duty was to protect the public interest.[66]

Colorado[edit]

In Colorado Dog Fanciers, Inc. v. City and County of Denver, 820 P.2d 644, Colo., 1991, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a Denver city ordinance that dog owners had complained was unconstitutional, along the following lines:

  • the dog owners claimed the ordinance was fundamentally unfair and therefore violated their right to procedural due process by forcing them to meet the burden of proving their dog was not a pit bull; however, the higher court found the ordinance was not fundamentally unfair provided the city was required to prove that dogs were pit bulls by the civil standard of "preponderance of evidence" rather than the criminal standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."
  • the dog owners claimed the ordinance violated substantive due process by creating a legislative presumption that a pit bull owner knowingly and voluntarily possesses a pit bull, and because it allowed the use of non-scientific evidence (e.g., expert opinion) to prove a dog is a pit bull; however, the higher court determined the ordinance preserves substantive due process by providing dog owners with a constitutionally adequate post-impoundment hearing, and reversed the trial court's imposition of a pre-impoundment hearing; in addition, the city was not required to prove a dog was a pit bull with mathematical certainty, and could use expert opinion and non-scientific evidence to prove its case in court.
  • the dog owners felt the city ordinance treated all pit bulls and substantially similar dogs as inherently dangerous and was, therefore, unconstitutionally overbroad; however, the higher court ruled that outside the limited area of fundamental constitutional rights such as, for example, first amendment rights of speech or association, a statute may not be attacked as overbroad.
  • the dog owners felt the term "pit bull" was imprecise and, thus, unconstitutionally vague because the average dog owner is not afforded fair warning of the act prohibited by the ordinance; however, the higher court found the standards for determining whether a dog is a pit bull are readily accessible to dog owners, and because most dog owners are capable of determining the breed or phenotype of their dog, the trial court properly determined that the ordinance provides adequate notice to dog owners and is not unconstitutionally vague.
  • the dog owners argued that the ordinance violated the Equal Protection Clause by creating an irrational distinction between one who owns a dog with the physical characteristics of a pit bull and one who owns a dog lacking those characteristics; however, the higher court ruled that there was ample evidence to establish a rational relationship between the city's classification of certain dogs as pit bulls and the legitimate governmental purpose of protecting the health and safety of the city's residents and dogs, and thus the ordinance did not violate the dog owners' right to equal protection of the laws.
  • the ordinance is an abuse of the city's police power and constitutes an unconstitutional taking of private property; however, the higher court noted that, in Colorado, dogs are accorded qualified property status and are, thus, subject to the proper exercise of police power for the protection of the public's health, safety, and welfare.[67]

In City & County of Denver v. State of Colorado, 04CV3756, Denver challenged a 2004 law passed by the Colorado General Assembly that prohibited breed specific laws on the grounds that the state law violated the city's home rule authority in regard to animal control legislation. The Denver District Court Judge ruled in favor of Denver, finding that:

  • the State failed to provide any new evidence to undermine the original 1990 trial court's decision regarding the differences between pit bulls and other dogs.
  • the City had provided new evidence to provide additional support for the original 1990 trial court's decision.
  • the 2000 CDC study on fatal dog bite attacks was irrelevant to the narrow issues identified in the 1990 trial court's decision
  • the State of Colorado had failed to meet its burden of proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that no rational basis for Denver's pit bull ban existed[68]
Florida[edit]

In State of Florida v. Peters, 534 So.2d 760 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1988), the Florida Third District Court of Appeal reviewed the City of North Miami ordinance regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs within the city limits, and held: (1) the ordinance did not violate the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution since the city's action in light of the evidence was neither arbitrary or irrational; (2) the ordinance's requirement to obtain liability insurance did not violate due process since the city had the right to regulate dogs under its police powers; (3) the definition of "pit bull" was not unconstitutionally vague, citing substantial precedent that laws requiring "substantial conformance" with a standard are not considered vague; and that mathematical certainty of a dog's identity as a pit bull was not required for a legal determination that a dog was in fact a pit bull.[69]

Kansas[edit]

In Hearn v. City of Overland Park, 772 P.2d 758 (Kan. 1989), the Supreme Court of Kansas reviewed the ruling of a county court that overturned an ordinance of the City of Overland Park regulating the ownership of pit bull dogs within the city limits, and held: (1) The ordinance is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad; (2) the ordinance does not violate the due process rights of plaintiffs under the United States and Kansas Constitutions; (3) the ordinance does not violate the equal protection clauses of the United States and Kansas Constitutions; and (4) the district court did not err in dismissing the plaintiffs' claim for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982).[70]

Kentucky[edit]

In Bess v. Bracken County Fiscal Court, 210 S.W.3d 177 (Ky.App.,2006), the Kentucky Court of Appeals reviewed a Bracken County ordinance that banned pit bull terriers. The appellants (Mr. Bess and Mr. Poe) had sought a temporary injunction against the ordinance in the Bracken County Circuit Court. The Circuit Court dismissed the motion on the grounds that the police power of the fiscal court allowed it to ban pit bull terriers and seize them without compensation. The appellants appealed on the grounds that

  • (1) that the ordinance is inconsistent with KRS (Kentucky Revised Statutes) Chapter 258 and specifically with the definition of “vicious dog” contained in KRS 258.095;
  • (2) that it impermissibly allows the forfeiture of property without compensation;
  • (3) that it denies dog owners procedural due process; and
  • (4) that it impedes the right of nonresident owners of pit bull terriers to travel through Bracken County.

The Appeals court upheld the Bracken County ordinance, finding that

  • (1) the breed-specific ordinance supplemented, rather than replaced or superseded, the definition of a "vicious dog" in the state statute;
  • (2) the banning of pit bull terriers was permissible under the police power, and that property seized under the police power was not subject to compensation
  • (3) dog owners had the right of appeal to the Circuit Court under the ordinance, so the right of due process was preserved; and
  • (4) the ordinance did not discriminate against non-resident pit bull owners, and that the appellants had not provided any evidence that traveling with a pet “occupies a position fundamental to the concept of a federal union.”[71]
Massachusetts[edit]

In American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Lynn, 404 Mass. 73, 533 N.E.2d 642 (Mass.,1989), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reviewed a series of ordinances enacted by Lynn, Massachusetts targeting dogs variously referred to as "American Staffordshire Terrier[s], a/k/a American Pit Bull Terrier[s] or Bull Terrier[s]" (July 1985); "American Staffordshire, Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier or Bull Terrier, hereinafter referred to as 'Pit Bulls'" (June 1986); and "“American Staffordshire, Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier or any mixture thereof" (September 1986).

The Supreme Judicial Court determined that the issue was technically moot since each of the ordinances in question had been repealed by passage of a subsequent "pit bull" ordinance in June 1987; however, the court specifically observed (but did not rule) that the 1987 ordinance relied on the "common understanding and usage" of the names of the breeds in question, and warned that

the Lynn Pit Bull ban ordinance depends for enforcement on the subjective understanding of dog officers of the appearance of an ill-defined “breed,” leaves dog owners to guess at what conduct or dog “look” is prohibited, and requires “proof” of a dog's “type” which, unless the dog is registered, may be impossible to furnish. Such a law gives unleashed discretion to the dog officers charged with its enforcement, and clearly relies on their subjective speculation whether a dog's physical characteristics make it what is “commonly understood” to be a “Pit Bull.”[72]

As a result of this case, breed-specific legislation in the United States often relies on the published standards of the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club to clearly identify the characteristics of dogs subject to regulation as "pit bulls."

New Mexico[edit]

In Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, 767 P.2d 355 (1988), the New Mexico Court of Appeals reviewed an ordinance of the Village of Tijeras that banned the ownership or possession of a breed of dog “known as American Pit Bull Terrier”; any dog found in violation of the ordinance after a court hearing would be euthanized. The court held against each of the defendants' claims and upheld the ordinance on the following grounds:

  1. The defendants claimed the ordinance violated their due process rights because it was vague in how it defined "pit bull"; however, the ordinance was not vague because vagueness applies in the sense of "to whom does the law apply." The law was therefore not vague since the defendants knew the ordinance applied to them.
  2. The defendants claimed the ordinance was not rationally related to the purpose of preventing pit bull attacks because environment and training are more important than genetics in determining how a dog acts; however, the court held there was substantial, credible evidence of breed-specific issues that the Village's actions were warranted.
  3. The defendants claimed that the ordinance violated equal protection rights because it singled out the owners of pit bulls; however, the court ruled that there was substantial, credible evidence that pit bulls posed a special threat to the people of Tijeras and that there were no grounds to overturn the ordinance.
  4. The defendants claimed the ordinance denied them procedural due process against the loss of property; however, the court ruled that the court hearings specified by the ordinance were sufficient due process to ensure the owners had "the opportunity to be heard and present evidence would occur at a meaningful time, that is, prior to the destruction of the dog."
  5. The defendants claimed the ordinance would deprive them of property without compensation; however, the court ruled that well-established precedent did not require compensation for property seized under a city's police powers.[73]
Ohio[edit]

In Toledo v. Tellings – Reversed – 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007), the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeal struck down a portion of the Toledo, Ohio municipal code that limited people to owning only one pit bull. The law relied on a state definition of a vicious dog as one that has bitten or killed a human, has killed another dog, or "belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a Pit Bull dog." The court held that the legislation was void for violation of a Pit Bull owner's right to due process since the owner could not appeal a designation of his pet as a vicious dog. The court held that,

"Since we conclude that there is no evidence that pit bulls are inherently dangerous or vicious, then the city ordinance limitation on ownership is also arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory."[74]

The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed the Court of Appeal (Toledo v. Tellings, 114 Ohio St.3d 278, 2007-Ohio-3724), and reinstated the Toledo ordinance for the following reasons:

  • {¶ 30} The court of appeals found R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 unconstitutional with respect to procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection, and under the void-for-vagueness doctrine. We disagree.
  • {¶ 31} First, the court of appeals declared that the laws violated procedural due process pursuant to State v. Cowan, 103 Ohio St.3d 144, 2004-Ohio-4777, 814 N.E.2d 846. In Cowan, a Portage County deputy dog warden determined two dogs to be vicious following a complaint that the dogs had attacked a woman. Id. at ¶ 1. The dogs were determined to be vicious because of the alleged attack, not because they were pit bulls. We held that when a dog is determined to be “vicious” under R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a), procedural due process requires that the owner have notice and an opportunity to be heard before the owner is charged with a crime. Id. at ¶ 13.
  • {¶ 32} In Cowan, the dogs were determined to be vicious under the first two subsections of R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a) because they had caused injury to a person. Thus, the case concerned the dog warden’s unilateral classification of the dogs as vicious. However, in this case, the “vicious dogs” at issue are those classified as pit bulls under the third subsection of R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a). Unlike the situation in Cowan, the General Assembly has classified pit bulls generally as vicious; there is no concern about unilateral administrative decision-making on a case-by-case basis. The clear statutory language alerts all owners of pit bulls that failure to abide by the laws related to vicious dogs and pit bulls is a crime. Therefore, the laws do not violate the rights of pit bull owners to procedural due process.
  • {¶ 33} Second, R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are not unconstitutional for violating substantive due process or equal protection rights. Laws limiting rights, other than fundamental rights, are constitutional with respect to substantive due process and equal protection if the laws are rationally related to a legitimate goal of government. See State v. Thompkins (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 558, 560–561, 664 N.E.2d 926. As we discussed previously when evaluating whether the statutes and ordinance in question are valid exercises of state and city police power, R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 January Term, 2007 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are rationally related to a legitimate government interest.
  • {¶ 34} Finally, the court of appeals erred in holding that R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are void for vagueness. This court has previously held that the term “pit bull” is not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. In State v. Anderson, we stated: “In sum, we believe that the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog.” 57 Ohio St.3d 168, 173, 566 N.E.2d 1224.
  • {¶ 35} In conclusion, the state and the city of Toledo possess the constitutional authority to exercise police powers that are rationally related to a legitimate interest in public health, safety, morals, or general welfare. Here, evidence proves that pit bulls cause more damage than other dogs when they attack, cause more fatalities in Ohio than other dogs, and cause Toledo police officers to fire their weapons more often than people or other breeds of dogs cause them to fire their weapons. We hold that the state of Ohio and the city of Toledo have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens from the dangers associated with pit bulls, and that R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii) and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are rationally related to that interest and are constitutional.[75]

Mr. Tellings appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the United States, which declined to hear the case.[76]

Texas[edit]

In City of Richardson v. Responsible Dog Owners of Texas, 794 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1990), several people ("Responsible Dog Owners") sued the city of Richardson, Texas to prevent it from enforcing restrictions on pit bulls within its city limits on the grounds that the Texas state legislature had passed legislation preempting the a city's power to adopt an ordinance regulating the keeping of dogs. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the City, but the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision (781 S.W.2d 667). The Supreme Court of Texas reversed the Court of Appeals and upheld the original decision on the grounds that

Under article XI, section 5 of the Texas Constitution, home-rule cities have broad discretionary powers provided that no ordinance "shall contain any provision inconsistent with the Constitution of the State, or of the general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State...." Thus, the mere fact that the legislature has enacted a law addressing a subject does not mean that the subject matter is completely preempted....Although there is a small area of overlap in the provisions of the narrow statute and the broader ordinance, we hold that it is not fatal.[77]

Texas Health and Safety Code[edit]

In the State of Texas, the State Health and Safety Code prohibits breed-specific legislation as stated

Sec. 822.047. LOCAL REGULATION OF DANGEROUS DOGS. A county or municipality may place additional requirements or restrictions on dangerous dogs if the requirements or restrictions:

(1) are not specific to one breed or several breeds of dogs; and
(2) are more stringent than restrictions provided by this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 1991.[78]
Washington[edit]

In McQueen v. Kittitas County, 115 Wash. 672, 677 (1921), the Washington Supreme Court established the broadly accepted precedent that cities have the power to regulate dogs, even to the point of banning specific breeds.

[D]ogs do not stand on the same plane as horses, cattle, sheep, and other domesticated animals[79]...On the general question, it is the almost universal current of authority that dogs are a subject of the police power of the state, and their keeping subject to any kind of license or regulation, even to absolute prohibition...since dogs are a subject of the police power, we see no reason why the legislature may not make distinctions between breeds, sizes and the localities in which they may be kept. The object of the statute is protection. The purpose is to prevent injuries to persons and property by dogs. Any distinction founded upon reasons at least, is therefore valid..."[80]

In American Dog Owners Ass'n v. City of Yakima, 777 P.2d 1046 (Wash.1989, en banc), the Washington Supreme Court reviewed a pit bull ban in Yakima, Washington. The dog owners asked a state court to prevent Yakima from enforcing its ban on pit bull dogs. The trial court issued a temporary injunction against the city and accepted motions for summary judgment from both the dog owners and the city. The court decided in favor of the city and lifted the injunction, whereupon the dog owners appealed to the Washington Supreme Court on the grounds that the ordinance was vague because a person of ordinary intelligence could not tell what was prohibited, and that the trial court had improperly decided the summary judgment in favor of the city.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague because it specified the dog breeds that together fit the definition of "pit bull", whereas an earlier case in Massachusetts, American Dog Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Lynn, 404 Mass. 73, 533 N.E.2d 642 (1989), had resulted in the pit bull ban being annulled because the ordinance did not specify in sufficient detail what a "pit bull" was; in addition, the higher court ruled that the summary judgment had been properly awarded, thus upholding the Yakima pit bull ban.[81]

Wisconsin[edit]

In Dog Federation of Wisconsin, Inc. v. City of South Milwaukee, 178 Wis.2d 353, 504 N.W.2d 375 (Wis.App.,1993), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reviewed the appeal of a trial court decision upholding a pit bull ban in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court on the following grounds:

  • The dog owners claimed that the definition of “pit bull” in the ordinance was too vague in its description of a "pit bull"; however, the Court of Appeals found that the ordinance's reference to the breed descriptions of the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club were enough to allow someone to know whether they owned a "pit bull" or not
  • The dog owners claimed the pit bull ban ordinance was overbroad because it treated "all pit bulls as if they are inherently dangerous, and more prone to cause harm than other dogs as a matter of law"; however, the higher court found that the prohibition against "overbroad" ordinances protected only fundamental rights such as the freedom of speech, and that there was no fundamental right to own a particular breed of dog.
  • The dog owners claimed the pit bull ban violated their right to equal protection since pit bulls were singled out for prohibition, for which there was “no scientific or empirical basis” and that dangerousness is a function of “environment, training, and upbringing.” The Court of Appeals found that the evidence of the unique danger posed by pit bull-type dogs was sufficient that the dog owners could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the discrimination was unfounded, as required by previous court precedent.[82]

Government housing authorities[edit]

New York[edit]

In New York City, the New York City Housing Authority, which is not a legislature but rather a city government authority which provides affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and administers a citywide government-legislature-approved Section 8 Leased Housing Program, in May 2009 prohibited residents of the Authority from owning the following dog breeds: Akita Inu, Alangu Mastiff, Alano Español, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Argentine Dogo, Bedlington Terrier, Boston Terrier, Bull and Terrier, Bull Terrier, Bully Kutta, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux, Dogo Sardesco, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro, Gull Dong, Gull Terr, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Korean Jindo Dog, Lottatore Brindisino, Neapolitan Mastiff, Perro de Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Mallorquin, Shar Pei, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tosa Inu[83]

Worldwide[edit]

A number of other countries have breed-specific legislation on the books. The United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) restricts the ownership of pit-bull type dogs and other breeds. In May 2010, a pit-bull type dog named Lennox was impounded from his disabled owner and deemed to be a danger to the public by authorities in Belfast, Northern Ireland, under the Dangerous Dogs (NI) Order 1991.[84] The impoundment and subsequent court order to destroy Lennox sparked a two-year-long legal battle and heated public relations campaign over the fate of the dog that included an international letter-writing and social media campaign; a petition signed by more than 214,000 people worldwide;[85] street protests in Belfast, London, and New York City; public appeals from celebrities like the boxer Lennox Lewis and the First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson; and threatening letters and acts of violence directed at some of Belfast's dog wardens. Dog trainer and international television celebrity Victoria Stilwell campaigned to save Lennox's life, appealing to the Belfast City Council and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill to allow her to re-home Lennox in the United States, where several rescue organizations had offered him sanctuary. All appeals, including Stilwell's were ignored by Belfast City Councillors, and Lennox was euthanised on July 11, 2012. Belfast City Council declined to return Lennox's body, his collar, or his ashes to his family.[86]

Nation Locality Date Type Details
Australia 2010-09-02 Banned for importation Dogo Argentino; Fila Brasileiro; Japanese Tosa; American Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull Terrier; Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario; and advertising matter for these breeds.[87]
Brazil State of Rio de Janeiro April 9, 1999 Banned for importation, commercialization, breeding and unauthorized creation Pit bulls in general and breeds derived from them.
  • Article 1 – It is prohibited throughout the State of Rio de Janeiro the import, the marketing and the breeding of dogs of the pitt-bull [sic] breed as well as breeds resulting from the crossbreeding with the pitt-bull, in kennels or in isolation.
  • Article 2 – It is mandatory from 06 (six) months of age, the sterilization of all pitbull dogs, or derived therefrom, in the State of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Article 3 – It will only be allowed to keep animals of the pitt-bull breed, or derived therefrom, upon proof of sterilization and updated vaccination.[88]
Bermuda July 21, 2003 Banned Importing or breeding of any "breed of dog that may be perceived as dangerous" is prohibited. Proscribed breeds include (among others) the pitbull terrier, staffordshire, several of the mastiff breeds, Australian Dingo, Akita, and crossbreeds thereof, as well as "any exotic or uncommon breed" at the government's discretion.[89]
Denmark July 1, 2010 Banned As of July 1, 2010, breeding, selling and importing of the following breeds is banned: American Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Boerboel, Dogo Argentino, Kangal, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Tornjak, Sarplaninac, Fila Brasileiro, South Russian Shepherd Dog and crossbreeds thereof. Currently existing dogs must be muzzled and leashed at all times in public. Same restrictions against mutts if the owner cannot prove that his/her dog is not a crossbreed.[90]

It is also a "positive list", listing breeds that are looking pretty similar to them that are banned: Polski Owczarek Podhalanski, Cão Fila de São Miguel, Dogue de Bordeaux, Bullmastiff, English Mastiff, Napolitan Mastiff, Cane Corso, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Canario, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Iberian Dogge. Owners of these breeds must have documentation for the breeds or types, but dogs on the positive list are not banned by law.

Ecuador March 2009 Banned Private ownership of pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers is prohibited.[91]
France April 30, 1999 Restricted Non-pure-breed animals resembling pit-bulls are to be spay/neutered[92][93]
Germany February 2001 Restricted

Importation of the Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Bull Terrier is prohibited in some states.[94]

Ireland, Republic of 1998 Restricted The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 place controls on 10 breeds of dogs, namely the American Pit Bull Terrier; English Bull Terrier; Staffordshire Bull Terrier; Bull Mastiff; Doberman Pinscher; German Shepherd (Alsatian); Rhodesian Ridgeback; Rottweiler; Japanese Akita; Japanese Tosa and to every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog).

The controls, which must be observed when the dog is in a public place, require that these dogs, or strains and crosses thereof, must be securely muzzled and kept on a strong short lead [only up to 2 metres long] by a person over 16 years of age who is capable of controlling them. Dogs that are not kept under control will be euthanized.[95]

Malaysia 2002 Banned The following breeds are banned in Malaysia: Akita, American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, Kai Ken, Ovcharka, Perro de Presa Mallorquin, Perro de Presa Canario, Russo-European Laika, or Tibetan Mastiff[96]
Restricted The following breeds are restricted in Malaysia: Alaskan Malamute, American Staffordshire Terrier, Belgian Shepherd, Dogue de Bordeaux, East-European Shepherd, Estrela Mountain Dog, German Shepherd, Miniature Bull Terrier, Neapolitan Mastiff, Rafeiro do Alentejo, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier[96]
Malta February 17, 1998 Restricted The following breeds may not be imported into Malta: American Pitbull Terrier, Argentine Dogo, Fila Brasileiro, or Japanese Tosa[97]
New Zealand November 17, 2003 Restricted The following restrictions apply to dogs of these breeds: American Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, or Japanese Tosa
  • It is illegal to import them alive or as semen, ova, or embryos
  • They are automatically considered "menacing dogs", which must be muzzled and on leash in public
  • Regional councils may order them spay/neutered
  • They must be microchipped[98]
Norway July 4, 1991,
amended August 20, 2004
Banned The following breeds are forbidden to give, sell, breed or import, including those in embryonic form, but dogs bred before the law came into effect are legal to possess:

Dogs of these breeds that are kept legal, also have to be microchipped.[99]

Poland 1997 Restricted Owners can have pit bulls but must display clear warning signs and keep the dogs behind reinforced fencing.[100]
Portugal Restricted

Owners can have these breeds but they have to have them muzzled when outdoors, registered and sterilized. They also have to submit your own criminal record when they register the dog.

The restriction affects the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, Tosa Inu and Pit Bull.[100]
Puerto Rico July 23, 1998 Banned The introduction, import, possession, acquisition, breeding, purchase, sale and transfer in any form in the island of Puerto Rico, of the dogs known as “Pitbull Terriers”, or hybrids produced by cross-breeding with dogs of other breeds, is ... prohibited.

The matter concerns the product of cross-breeding bulldogs and terriers. This product is defined as a breed of bull terriers which includes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Argentine Dogo, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pitbull Terriers and crossbreeds of these and other terrier strains. Owners of existing pit bull-type dogs had until March 23, 1999 to register their dogs.[101]

Romania April 26, 2002 Restricted The following restrictions apply:
Singapore June 4, 1991 Restricted The following breeds of dogs and their crosses are not allowed to be imported into Singapore – Pit Bull (which includes the American Pit Bull Terrier also known as the American Pit Bull and Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Bulldog, and crosses between them and with other breeds); Neapolitan Mastiff, Tosa, Akita, Dogo Argentino, Boerboel, Fila Brasileiro and their crosses.[103]

Owners of these breeds of dogs already in Singapore must comply with the following requirements:

  • the dog shall be implanted with a microchip;
  • the dog, if over 6 months of age, shall be sterilised;
  • the licensee shall have in force a policy of insurance approved by the Director-General for an amount of not less than $100,000 to cover any injury to persons or animals or damage to property that might be caused by the dog; and
  • the licensee shall furnish to the Director-General security in the form of a banker’s guarantee for $5,000, which shall be forfeited if —
Spain 2002 Restricted A royal decree restricts several breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Argentine Dogo, Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.[100][105]
Switzerland 2012
Breed-specific legislation in Switzerland, May 2012. Red: Breed-specific legislation enacted, breeds on the list are banned. Yellow: BSL enacted, breeds on the list are subject to authorization. Red/yellow: BSL enacted, some of the breeds on the list are banned. Green: no BSL
Varies by canton; some cantons have adopted extensive BSL, others have no such legislation whatsoever. Several decisions of the Supreme Court have found that cantonal BSL is constitutional. There is no BSL on the federal level; federal bills that would have enacted it died in 2006 and 2010.
Turkey 2004 Restricted The breeding, buying, selling, exchanging and advertising of Pit Bulls, Japanese Tosa dogs, and other "wild animals" is banned. Pit bull owners must register and sterilize their dogs.[106]
Ukraine 1998 Restricted Dangerous breed list approved by Cabinet resolution from July 9, 2002, has over 80 breeds, including several varieties of Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Livestock Guardian dogs, Boxer, Briar, Labrador Retriever, Welsh Terrier, German Shepherd and their mixes. Compliance requirements include mandatory insurance and micro chipping, walking on a short leash and muzzle in public places, other restrictions. Ukraine allows adapting local municipal laws to enforce further restrictions.

In Ukraine capital, Kiev, as per law adapted at 1998, the list of breeds forbidden for breeding and requiring mandatory sterilization, includes Akbash, APBT, Presa Canario, Kangal, Romanian Shepherd, Greek Shepherd, Alek Roshhin Doberman, Superdog and Superdog Mainkong mixes and 18 other recognized and unrecognized breeds. Besides mandatory spay, law requests muzzle, insurance, short leash, very high license fees and other measures.

As per Ukrainian Kennel Club KSU, dangerous breeds list includes over 20 breeds, such as American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Mastiff, Dogo Argentino, Dogue De Bordeaux.[107]

United Kingdom August 12, 1991 Banned Dangerous Dogs Act 1991: Owning dogs of the types known as the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, Argentine Dogo, or Fila Brasileiro is prohibited.[108] No person shall—
  • breed, or breed from, a prohibited dog type;
  • sell or exchange such a dog or offer, advertise or expose such a dog for sale or exchange;
  • make or offer to make a gift of such a dog or advertise or expose such a dog as a gift;
  • allow such a dog of which he is the owner or of which he is for the time being in charge to be in a public place without being muzzled and kept on a lead; or
  • abandon such a dog of which he is the owner or, being the owner or for the time being in charge of such a dog, allow it to stray.

Note: the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 does not apply in Northern Ireland;[109] however, the same restrictions apply in Northern Ireland under the Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.[84]

Venezuela 2014 Banned It will be illegal to import, breed, adopt, raise, or sell pit bull-type dogs starting December 31, 2014.[110]

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