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Update - Montana BSL Bill Named and Assigned to Committee

(Tuesday, January 06, 2009)

As expected, Montana House Bill 191 has been introduced by Representative Robyn Driscoll of Billings. The bill seeks to prohibit the ownership, harboring, or keeping of dogs described as "pit bulls." The legislation defines "pit bulls" to include Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and "any dog that has the physical characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established for those breeds by the American Kennel Club." If the bill is passed and signed into law, all such dogs would be seized and euthanized. The AKC vehemently opposes breed-specific legislation and encourages all concerned dog owners in Montana to contact their elected representatives and the members of the House Local Government Committee, which currently has cognizance of the bill, and express their strong opposition to this draconian yet hard-to-enforce legislation.

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.

If enacted, HB 191 will:

  • Make it unlawful, with little exception, for a person to own, harbor, or keep a pit bull dog. "Pit bull" is defined in the act to include Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and any dog that has the physical characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established for those breeds by the American Kennel Club.
  • Force persons in violation of the bill to surrender their dogs to animal control officials, or risk seizure of the animals.
  • Mandate that within ten days of surrender or seizure, the animal control agency shall euthanize such dogs.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

All concerned Montana dog owners should contact their elected representatives, and the members of the Montana House Local Government Committee, and express their strong opposition to this breed-specific legislation. To find your elected representatives, click here.

For a sample letter to write or e-mail legislators with, click here. For tips on contacting Montana's legislature, including an online e-mail form, click here.

All letters should be addressed to:

Representative ______________
Montana House of Representatives
P.O. Box 200400
Helena, MT 59620-0400

Members of the Montana House Local Government Committee:

Representative Elsie Arntzen, Chair
Representative Betsy Hands, Vice Chair
Representative Gary MacLaren, Vice Chair
Representative Arlene Becker
Representative Gerald Bennett
Representative Tom Berry
Representative Robyn Driscoll
Representative Bob Ebinger
Representative Wanda Grinde
Representative Robin Hamilton
Representative Pat Ingraham
Representative Mike Menahan
Representative Michael More
Representative Scott Reichner
Representative Michele Reinhart
Representative Diane Sands
Representative Wayne Stahl
Representative Gordon Vance

RESOURCES:

For a copy of the bill, click here.

For a downloadable copy of our Deed, Not Breed flyer, click here.

For more information, please contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.


[Tuesday, January 06, 2009]

The American Kennel Club's Government Relations Department is expecting legislation in Montana that will seek to prohibit the ownership, harboring, or keeping of dogs described as "pit bulls." The legislation defines "pit bulls" to include Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and "any dog that has the physical characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established for those breeds by the American Kennel Club." If the bill is passed and signed into law, all such dogs would be seized and euthanized. The AKC vehemently opposes breed-specific legislation and encourages all concerned dog owners in Montana to contact their elected representatives and express their strong opposition to this draconian yet hard-to-enforce legislation.

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.

Currently named LC 1087, the bill will:

  • Make it unlawful, with little exception, for a person to own, harbor, or keep a pit bull dog. "Pit bull" is defined in the act to include Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and any dog that has the physical characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established for those breeds by the American Kennel Club.
  • Force persons in violation of the bill to surrender their dogs to animal control officials, or risk seizure of the animals.
  • Mandate that within ten days of surrender or seizure, the animal control agency shall euthanize such dogs.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

All concerned Montana dog owners should contact their elected representatives and express their strong opposition to this breed-specific legislation. To find your elected representatives, click here.

For a copy of the bill, click here.

For a sample letter to write or e-mail legislators with, click here.

For a downloadable copy of our Deed, Not Breed flyer, click here.

For more information, please contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.