Two Missouri House committees are considering bills this week that further protect the rights of those who own, breed, and show dogs in the state. Those who reside or participate in dog events in Missouri are strongly encouraged to contact the committees and express your support for the following bills:
- House Bill 2241/House Bill 2244- Outlawing Breed-Specific Legislation
House Judiciary Committee, 4:00 pm, Tuesday, February 11, 2020
HB 2241 and 2244 would prohibit any county or municipality (including those under home rule) from controlling or regulating specific breeds of dogs. It would also make any existing breed-specific law in the state null and void. Counties and municipalities may regulate dogs, including at-large and vicious dogs, so long as the laws are not breed-specific.
Visit the Breed-Specific/Dangerous Dog Laws page in the AKC Legislative Action Center for more talking points on this issue.
- House Bill 2111 – Protection when dogs are seized on suspicion of cruelty
House Agriculture Policy Committee, 12:00 pm, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
This bill would make several changes to protect dogs and the rights of dog owners when animals are seized on suspicion of neglect or abuse. The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and to protect their dogs that are seized and held during a trial. Changes include the following:
- Only allowing law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant to inspect, care for, or confiscate neglected or abused animals, only as set forth in the warrant. The officer must then appear at a disposition hearing within 10 days of the confiscation for the purpose of granting immediate disposition of the animals (current law requires a hearing within 30 days of when a request is filed).
- Expanding current law to allow animals to be placed with a third party approved by the court during a trial (current law only allows for veterinarians or animal control). AKC believes this could allow for dogs to be placed with co-owners or other responsible parties during a trial.
- Prohibiting animals from being sterilized during an ongoing trial, unless necessary to relieve suffering. If the animal is intentionally sterilized or euthanized prior to the disposition hearing (unless necessary to relieve suffering), or any time when a bond has been posted to cover care, the organization is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to the owner for damages, including the actual value of the animal. Animals must also receive proper care as determined by state law and regulations, and the facility or organization caring for the animals are liable to the owner for damages resulting from negligent acts or abuse that occur while the animals are in their care.
- Clarifying that the owner is not responsible for the animals’ care and keeping if the owner is acquitted or there is a final discharge without conviction. Within 72 hours after the disposition hearing, the owner may post a reasonable bond or security to cover the animal’s care, so long as it is consistent with the fair market cost of boarding an animal in an appropriate retail boarding facility. If the owner is not liable for costs, they must be paid by the confiscating agency. Further, if the owner did provide sufficient bond and is ultimately acquitted, then they may have their animals returned.
AKC supports this bill, which protects both the health and safety of animals seized and the rights of owners, unless and until proven guilty.
What You Can Do:
Contact the committees in support of these bills. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them:
House Bills 2241/2244 – Preventing breed-specific legislation:
Contact the House Judiciary Committee prior to their hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, February 11), and ask them to support House Bill 2241 and House Bill 2244.
Rep. David Gregory, Chair (St. Louis) – Sponsor of HB 2241
Rep. Bruce DeGroot, Vice-Chair (Ellisville)
Rep. Gina Mitten, Ranking Minority Member (St. Louis)
Rep. Phil Christofanelli (St. Peters)
Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (Arnold)
Rep. Mark Ellebracht (Liberty)
Rep. David Evans (West Plains)
Rep. Ron Hicks – Sponsor of HB 2244 (St. Charles County)
Rep. Justin Hill (Lake St. Louis)
Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer (Odessa)
Rep. Ian Mackey (St. Louis)
Rep. Steven Roberts (St. Louis)
Rep. Robert Sauls (Independence)
Rep. Nick Schroer (O’Fallon)
Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch (Hallsville)
Rep. Curtis Trent (Springfield)
Rep. Rudy Velt (Wardsville)
House Bill 2111 – Protection when animals are seized:
Contact the House Agriculture Policy Committee prior to their hearing on Wednesday, February 12, and ask them to support this bill that protects dogs and the rights of dog owners:
Rep. Don Rone, Chair (Portageville)
Rep. Rick Francis, Vice-Chair (Perryville)
Rep. Tracy McCreery, Ranking Minority Member (St. Louis)
Rep. Rusty Black (Chillicothe)
Rep. LaKeySha Bosley (St. Louis)
Rep. Paula Brown (Hazelwood)
Rep. Danny Busick (Newtown)
Rep. Scott Cupps (Shell Knob)
Rep. Kent Haden (Mexico)
Rep. Mike Haffner (Pleasant Hill)
Rep. Barry Hovis (Whitewater)
Rep. Tom Hurst (Meta)
Rep. Hannah Kelly (Mountain Grove)
Rep. Jeff Knight (Lebanon)
Rep. Deb Lavender (Kirkwood)
Rep. Warren Love (Osceola)
Rep. Ian Mackey
Rep. Herman Morse (Dexter)
Rep. Dave Muntzel
Rep. Brad Pollitt (Sedalia)
Rep. Rodger Reedy (Windsor)
Rep. Wes Rogers (Kansas City)
Rep. Greg Sharpe (Ewing)
Rep. Bryan Spencer (Wentzville)
Rep. Mike Stephens (Bolivar)
Rep. Barbara Washington (Kansas City)
Rep. Yolanda Young
AKC Government Relations and the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MoFed) continue to closely monitor these and all legislative bills in Missouri impacting dog owners. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com or MoFed at firstname.lastname@example.org.