(Friday, February 10, 2006)
Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal has introduced H1686
, a bill that will negatively impact owners of "pit bulls," defined as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and any dog exhibiting the characteristics of these breeds. Owners of pit bulls will be required to:
- Purchase a $500 permit for each pit bull owned. (No person may own more that two pit bulls.)
- Prove that the dog has been spayed or neutered.
- Leash and muzzle the dog whenever off of its owner's property.
Owners who fail to obtain a permit will face a $1000 fine and their dog will be seized for "observation" for 10-60 days, at a cost of $30 per day. Additionally, owners of dogs that attack a human or another animal
will face a multitude of penalties, including a requirement to attend and pay for psychological counseling to determine whether they are capable of responsibly owning a pit bull.
Curiously, the bill exempts veterinarians, shelter workers, animal control officers and dog breeders. With no definition given to the term breeder, theoretically any person could argue that a pit bull was being kept for breeding purposes, even if the dog was being bred for irresponsible reasons.
H1686 is a poorly-written, ineffective attempt at promoting public safety in Missouri. Better enforcement of strong dangerous dog laws and campaigns to promote responsible dog ownership, regardless of breed owned, are better ways to achieve that goal.
What You Can Do:
- Contact the bill sponsor and politely ask her to withdraw her support from this misguided bill. For a list of talking points, click here. If you are a constituent of Rep. Chappelle-Nadal, your voice is especially important. Find out who represents you in the Missouri General Assembly.
The Honorable Maria Chappelle-Nadal
State Capitol #105H
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101
For more information, contact:
Missouri Federation of Animal Owners
Canine Legislation department