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NM Update: Bill Banning BSL Passes House, Problematic Dangerous Dog Measure Withdrawn

(Wednesday, February 20, 2013)

Thanks to the communications of responsible dog owners, a bill to ban breed-specific legislation has passed the New Mexico House of Representatives and a problematic bill that would hold dog owners liable for bites on private property regardless of the dog’s past behavior has been withdrawn by the sponsor.

House Bill 258 (Changes to dangerous dog laws):

House Bill 258 would have made several changes to the state’s dangerous dog laws, including establishing strict liability for a dog owner whose dog bites a person, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s “viciousness.” This would include a dog’s actions while on the owner’s property. The bill was introduced in response to a horrific dog attack in a local community.

Many dog owners in New Mexico have expressed concerns with this bill. As a result, the sponsor has withdrawn the bill and it will no longer be considered this session. The AKC greatly appreciates the willingness of the sponsor to consider these concerns and work with AKC club members and responsible dog owners. We thank the sponsor for withdrawing this bill and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future to develop effective solutions to this and other canine legislation concerns.

House Bill 63 (Ban on breed-specific legislation):

House Bill 63, which would prohibit counties and municipalities from enacting breed-specific laws, overwhelmingly passed the New Mexico House of Representatives on Monday.

The bill was amended to no longer include municipalities with home rule. While the AKC is disappointed with this amendment, we still believe this bill is an excellent step toward protecting the rights of all responsible dog owners.

The bill will now be considered by the Senate Public Affairs Committee. New Mexico residents are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the committee and respectfully ask them to support House Bill 63. The contact information is as follows:

Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (Chair)
Phone: (505) 986-4482
E-mail: jortizyp@msn.com

Senator Bill O’Neill (Vice Chair)
Phone: (505) 986-4260
E-mail: oneillsd13@fastmail.us

Senator Craig Brandt
Phone: (505) 986-4267
E-mail: craig.brandt@nmlegis.gov

Senator Jacob Candelaria
Phone: (505) 986-4391
E-mail: jacob.candelaria@nmlegis.gov

Senator Ron Griggs
Phone: (505) 986-4276
E-mail: ron.griggs@nmlegis.gov

Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto
Phone: (505) 986-4270
E-mail: daniel.ivey-soto@nmlegis.gov

Senator Timothy Keller
Phone: (505) 986-4726
E-mail: tim.keller@nmlegis.gov

Senator Gay Kernan
Phone: (505) 986-4274
E-mail: ggkern@valornet.com

The AKC Government Relations Department will continue to closely follow House Bill 63 and provide updates as they become available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.