Oklahoma BSL Update!

Oklahoma dog owners report that Rep. Paul Wesselhoft's H2657 and H2658 have died in the Health and...

Oklahoma dog owners report that Rep. Paul Wesselhoft's H2657 and H2658 have died in the Health and Human Services Committee. These bills would have permitted cities and counties to enact breed-specific legislation, action that is currently prohibited by state law. Committee members listened closely to concerned dog owners who argued for better enforcement of stronger dangerous dog laws, and they instead passed Rep. Lee Denney's H2813. This bill requires owners of dangerous dogs to obtain $100,000 in liability insurance (up from $50,000), increases penalties for owners who violate the dangerous dog law, and mandates that such owners perform 40 hours of community service.

This excellent progress is welcome news for concerned dog owners who have been working hard on this issue, and we thank everyone who has taken time to contact their representatives. However, the battle is not over yet. Two breed-specific bills (S1569 and S1702) are still active in the Senate, and Rep. Wesselhoft has indicated that he may try to include breed-specific provisions in an amendment to H2813 or another bill. Oklahoma dog owners are therefore encouraged to remain vigilant in their monitoring of these issues. Please keep your correspondence polite and concise! Additionally, dog owners should contact members of the House Health and Services Committee (see below) to thank them for their help on this important issue.


Multiple Breed-Specific Bills Introduced in Oklahoma

[ Thursday, January 26, 2006 ]

Four separate bills providing for the repeal of Oklahoma's ban on breed-specific legislation have now been introduced. These include S1569 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge and S1702 by Sen. Susan Paddack. Rep. Paul Wesselhoft is also moving forward with his promise to allow cities and counties to enact breed-specific legislation through the introduction of two bills: H2657 and H2658.

H2658 not only permits regulation by breed, it goes one step further by specifically providing for the regulation of "pit bull" ownership. Owners of "pit bulls" (defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any dogs displaying the physical characteristics of these breeds) would be required to register their dogs, keep them muzzled and leashed or in a secure enclosure, purchase $100,000 liability insurance, spay or neuter the animal, and abide by a host of other care conditions. Violators will face steep penalties, including up to $10,000 in fines if a "pit bull" seriously injures or kills a person or domestic animal.

In addition to permitting breed-specific legislation, H2657 would expand the state's dangerous dog law, strengthening it in some areas but overreaching in others with broad, subjective definitions of "potentially dangerous" and "dangerous" dogs.

Clearly, dangerous dog control is a priority issue for Oklahoma this year. To date, at least three other legislators have introduced non-discriminatory dog-related bills. Public safety is on everyone's minds, as it should be. However, if Oklahoma is to truly protect its citizens, then officials must enact a stronger, well-enforced, generic law that puts responsibility for a dog's behavior at the right end of the leash - with the owner. Targeting a certain breed will not prevent dog attacks from occurring. Strengthening penalties for negligent owners and promoting responsible dog ownership are better ways to achieve that goal.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact the sponsors of these discriminatory bills and ask them to withdraw their support (For a list of talking points, click here).

    The Honorable Cliff Aldridge
    State Capitol Bldg #533-B
    2300 N Lincoln Blvd
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105
    Phone:405/521-5584
    E-mail: aldridge@oksenate.gov

    The Honorable Susan Paddack (Majority Whip)
    State Capitol Bldg #417A
    2300 N Lincoln Blvd
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105
    Phone:405/521-5541
    FAX:405/521-5694
    E-mail: paddack@lsb.state.ok.us

    The Honorable Paul Wesselhoft
    State Capitol Bldg #329
    2300 N Lincoln Blvd
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105
    Phone:405/557-7343
    E-mail: paulwesselhoft@okhouse.gov

  • These bills have now been assigned to the Senate General Government and the House Health and Human Services Committee, respectively.  Please contact the committee members to politely express your opposition.

  • Contact your own Representative and Senator to express your concerns. Find out who represents you in Oklahoma.

  • Watch AKC's Web site for further updates. These bills will likely be referred to a committee in early February, and the Canine Legislation department will post more details at that time.


For more information on this or other legislative issues, please contact the Canine Legislation department (doglaw@akc.org).