From: Scott R. Sabey
To: Michael Mckell,
Subject: Support HB97
Date: Thu Feb 13 01:54:39 MST 2014
Body:

Dear Representative McKell:

 

            Please support Representative Brian King’s bill, HB97, LIMITATION ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF ANIMALS,   http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0097.html.

 

            Virtually everyone agrees that Breed Specific laws are foolish, because they are based on false assumptions and emotional knee-jerk reactions.  They don’t work, they cost too much to enforce, and they strip citizens of their property rights for no good reason.  The only resistance we have encountered in trying to pass this legislation, including from some members of the League of Cities and Towns, has been a reluctance to ‘legislate down’.  While cities should be left to manage themselves internally, when the rights of citizens from across the State of Utah are lost or significantly damaged by pointless laws of only a few (10) cities, the Legislature needs to step in and protect all of its citizens.

 

           Breed Specific Laws

 

            These laws are not about one type of dog (i.e. Pit bulls), but across the state include a whole variety of dogs, including:“Mixed Breeds” (that would include virtually all dogs that are not AKC registered, and even all intentional cross breeds between AKC dogs like hunting dogs such as the Labradoodles); Alaskan Malamutes; German Shepherds; Rottweilers; Dobermans; Bull Terrier; American Staffordshire Bull Terrier; American Pit Bull Terrier; Tosas; Shar-peis; Chows; Akitas; and more.  Some are so vague they simply say, “. . .  or any dog displaying a majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds . . .”[1]   These laws do not focus on problem owners and their specific vicious or problem dogs, where the real problem lies.  Rather, they push honest people away from registering and licensing and vaccinating their dogs, which hurts everyone.  There are no allowances made in these laws for police K9 dogs, visitors in town, people out for a walk, people who move into a community, etc. 

 

TheCenter for Disease Control (CDC[2]), American Bar Association, American Animal Hospital Association, American Dog Owner's Association, American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical Association, Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Canadian Kennel Club, International Association of Canine Professionals, National Animal Interest Alliance, National Association of Obedience Instructors and many, many more all oppose Breed Specific Laws.  There is no national association or group that supports them, and the national trend is to pass laws like this one[3].  Even the National Animal Control Association, the association of animal control officers from across the country, oppose breed specific laws.

 

           Citizen’s Property Rights

 

Citizens of the State of Utah should be secure in their property rights, and it is the responsibility of the Legislature to protect them in those rights, especially where citizens are subject to fines and criminal penalties in cities where they have no voice.

 

Of the approximate 250 cities and towns in Utah, only 10 have a breed specific law.  But they significantly affect not only their own citizens adversely, but others as well.  For example, it is a Class C misdemeanor[4] in one city in the Salt Lake valley to even walk a prohibited breed.  But that city is surrounded by 6 other cities.  The citizens of those cities have no vote, no say in what happens in their neighboring town, but walking their dog across the street subjects them to seizure of the their pet, fines, and a criminal charge.  Imagine buying your dream home, and moving your family in, only to be told that you must get rid of your dog or move-out.

 

Even within these 10 cities and towns there is no consistency, because some target only one bred, some a half a dozen, some a ‘type’ some both.  Citizens face not only the loss of their property rights for no valid or supported reason, but it becomes frustratingly difficult to interpret the diverse laws.  For laws to work for the benefit of society, they must be not only logical, but uniform in application.  When there is a patch-work of bad laws, randomly taking away citizens’ property rights and those laws have no rational foundation; there is a greater need for the Legislature to protect the citizens than to avoid ‘legislating down’.

 

I know that the session is a crazy time, and I don’t want to bury you in data or materials.  If you would like additional information, however, please feel free to contact me anytime and I can answer questions or provide you with all of the relevant studies and related materials.

 

Thank you.

 

[1]  South Jordan §6.12.100 (A)(2)

2    Centers for Disease Control. (2008). Dog Bite: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/dogbite-factsheet.html. - See more at: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dog-legislation/breed-specific-legislation-bsl-faq/#1

3  17 other state already have similar laws.

4   South Jordan §6.12.100 (E)

 

 

 

 

SCOTT R. SABEY
Office(801) 531-8900
Direct (801) 323-2204
Fax (801) 596-2814
ssabey@fabianlaw.com

                                                                                               

215 South State Street, Suite 1200
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-2323
www.fabianlaw.com
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The information contained in this email message is intended only for the personal and confidential use of the designated recipients named above. This message may be an attorney-client communication, and as such is privileged and confidential. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient or an agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you have received this document in error and any review, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify either Scott Sabey (801) 323-2204, or Rachelle Mellor (801) 323-2265 at Fabian.  Thank you for your cooperation.

 

 



[1] South Jordan §6.12.100 (A)(2)

[2]Centers for Disease Control. (2008). Dog Bite: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/dogbite-factsheet.html. - See more at: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dog-legislation/breed-specific-legislation-bsl-faq/#1

[3] 17 other state already have similar laws.

[4] South Jordan §6.12.100 (E)




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