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Iowa Considers 'Vicious' Breeds

(Friday, April 11, 2003)

Rottweilers, Dobermans and “pit bulls” would be declared vicious under a bill introduced this week in Iowa. The bill, SSB1195, was introduced by the Senate Committee on Government Oversight April 8th and was approved just two days later for consideration by the full Senate. Iowa fanciers must act now to stop this fast-moving bill.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Iowa dog owners should call, write, fax, or e-mail their senator in Des Moines NOW. (Click here to find legislator contact information.) All senators may be reached through the senate switchboard at 515-281-3371.

  • It is especially important that we explain our opposition to the Senate Government Oversight Committee, which is sponsoring SSB1195. If your senator is on this committee, please contact him/her right away.

    Sen. Mary Lundby, Chair (R-18)
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-3908 or 319-373-6639
    Fax: 515-242-6108
    E-Mail: mary.lundby@legis.state.ia.us

    Sen. Bob Brunkhorst, Vice Chair (R-9)
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-3371 or 319-483-3026
    E-Mail: bob.brunkhorst@legis.state.ia.us

    Sen. Thomas G. Courtney (D-44)
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-3371 or 319-753-2684 (home)
    E-Mail: thomas.courtney@legis.state.ia.us

    Sen. Robert E. Dvorsky (D-15)
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-5909 or 319-351-0988
    Fax: 515-281-6073
    E-Mail: robert.dvorsky@legis.state.ia.us

    Sen. Ron Weick (R-27)
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone: 515-281-3371 or 712-276-4008 (home)
    E-Mail: ron.weick@legis.state.ia.us

  • SSB1195 will be assigned a new file number when it reaches the Senate floor, so please be aware that the number will change as early as Monday afternoon, April 14th. We will post that number here when it is available.

POINTS TO ADDRESS

  • 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 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.

  • Some communities have had their breed-specific laws 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.

  • Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, the National Animal Interest Alliance, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.

For more information on this bill or any legislation that affects dogs and their owners, please contact AKC’s Canine Legislation department doglaw@akc.org.

Check this Web site frequently for additional updates.

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