UPDATE! The Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs reports that S54 was heard by the Local Government...
The Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs reports that S54 was heard by the Local Government committee today on Tuesday, January 24th. 8 witnesses testified in opposition to the bill, including the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs, with only one in support. The committee subsequently voted 4-3 to defeat the bill and then postponed it indefinitely. Congratulations to all concerned dog owners who contributed to this win!
[Wednesday, January 18, 2006]
At the behest of the Colorado Municipal League, Sen. Lewis Entz has introduced S54, a bill that would once again permit cities and counties to enact breed-specific ordinances. A state law prohibiting such legislation was enacted in 2004 with support from the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs and other concerned animal organizations.
The American Kennel Club strongly opposes legislation that targets specific breeds of dogs. Instead, we support reasonable, enforceable dangerous dog regulations designed to protect both people and their pets. Public safety is a priority concern for AKC, for legislators, and for responsible dog owners, which is why we must support laws that hold all owners responsible for their pets' behavior, regardless of the animal's breed.
Points to Consider:
- Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.
- Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.
- Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.
- Breed-specific laws increase costs for the community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds, and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds would be euthanized at the shelter.
- In some instances, breed-specific laws have been overturned on constitutional grounds. Because proper identification of what dogs would be included is difficult or impossible, the law may be deemed unconstitutionally vague. It may also be found to involve the taking of property without due process.
- Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.
- Since dogs must be unaltered to participate in conformation dog shows and other performance events, many responsible dog owners will be forced to give up a sport that both they and their canine companions enjoy.
- Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.
What You Can Do:
S54 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government. Please contact the Members and ask them to oppose the bill!
Senate Committee on Local Government
200 E Colfax
Denver, CO 80203
Sen. Deanna Hanna (D) [Chair] Phone:303/866-4857, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Peter C. Groff (D) [Vice Chair] Phone:303/866-4864, Email: email@example.com
Sen. Bob Bacon (D) Phone:303/866-4841, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Lewis Entz (R) [Sponsor] Phone:303/866-4871, Email: email@example.com
Sen. Ed Jones (R) Phone:303/866-6364, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Ken Kester (R) Phone:303/866-4877, Email: email@example.com
Sen. Lois Tochtrop (D) Phone:303/866-4863, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact:
Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs
Canine Legislation department