Friday, January 23, 2009]
Responsible dog owners won a decisive victory Thursday afternoon when the Montana House Local Government Committee voted 17-1 against a bill to ban "pit bulls" in the state.
House Bill 191 prohibited the ownership, harboring, or keeping of dogs described as "pit bulls". "Pit bulls" was defined 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 had passed, all such dogs would have been seized and euthanized.
Approximately 100 responsible dog owners and breeders testified against House Bill 191, convincing the committee that breed bans are not an effective solution to animal control problems. In addition, the AKC sent letters of opposition to committee members and alerted tens of thousands of dog owners throughout the country about this legislation. The AKC believes the government should implement reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs and impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible dog owners.
The AKC thanks all those who testified against House Bill 191 in committee yesterday, and the many more who contacted the committee and their state legislators. We also thank the Montana House Local Government Committee for making a strong statement against breed-specific legislation.