Two misguided bills were just introduced in Rhode Island under the guise of enhancing public safety. These breed-discriminatory bills won’t accomplish that. If passed, companion bills House Bill 5287 (Read the full text here.) and Senate Bill 178 (Read the full text here.) would only succeed in infringing on citizens' property rights and wasting tax dollars (to the tune of an estimated $1.6 million) by enacting extreme regulations for pit bull terrier dogs in Rhode Island. The truth is that breed discrimination does not improve public safety. Studies done in the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany found that these laws did not reduce the number of dog bites. That’s why the National Animal Control Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Bar Association favor enacting comprehensive, breed-neutral dangerous-dog laws. HB 5287 and SB 178 include proposed language about pit bull terriers that is simply false. Also, if this ill-conceived bill passes, the regulations will apply to any pet that even resembles a pit bull. Everyone benefits from a safe society, so instead of targeting dog breeds, the legislature should hold reckless owners accountable when their poor decisions cause pets or people to be hurt. Safe and humane communities are achieved through strict and comprehensive breed-neutral regulations, not breed discrimination. Plus, this is America. All Americans who follow safety rules as responsible dog owners should be allowed to own whatever breed of dog they choose.
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