To: Rep. Perry, L.,
Subject: Support HB97
I am asking you to support Representative Brian King’s bill, Limitation on Local Government Regulation of Animals, http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/HB0097.html .
My property rights should trump random and illogical city ordinances, and I need you to protect my rights. This is not a bill about one type of dog, because different cities in Utah ban different kinds of dogs. They ban a whole variety of dogs, including: Alaskan Malamutes; German Shepherds; Rottweilers; Dobermans; Bull Terrier; American Staffordshire Bull Terrier; American Pit Bull Terrier; Tosas; Shar-peis; Chows; Akitas; and “Mixed Breeds”. Such a broad definition as ‘mixed breeds’ includes virtually all dogs that are not AKC registered, and even intentional crossbreeds between AKC dogs for hunting. Some of these laws are so vague they simply say, “. . . or any dog displaying a majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds . . .”
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.
If I live in a city adjacent to one of these few cities that ban my dog, and I cross the street one evening on a walk, my dog is subject to seizure and I am subject to a fine and misdemeanor – just for crossing the street. Meanwhile, irresponsible owners of individual vicious dogs are not subject to the same laws. I have no vote in my neighboring city, so I have no voice in their laws that affect me. I need you to protect me. Cities draw their right to govern from you, and this is a time when you need to exercise control over them to protect me and create uniformity across the State of Utah.
Virtually everyone agrees the laws are worthless, and even counter-productive. Even the National Animal Control Association, the association of animal control officers from across the country, oppose breed specific laws. The CDC, ABA, American Animal Hospital Association, American Dog Owner's Association, American Kennel Club, and every other dog association oppose Breed Specific Laws. There is no national association or group that supports them, and more than 15 states have already passed laws like this one.
Our laws should protect individuals’ property rights, and seek to punish and correct the wrong-doers, not punish honest citizens with well-trained pets for the reckless or intentional acts of others. Our laws should also encourage people to comply with the law by being logical and reasonable. These breed specific laws encourage people to hide their dogs, not get them vaccinated, not get them licensed, not take responsibility for their dogs, as the only way to keep them.
It is not the breed, it is the training and raising of the dogs that determine their nature. As a responsible pet owner, why should my property rights be limited because of the bad acts of another person? Let the irresponsible suffer the legal consequences of their acts, but don’t reduce my right to own my family pet when I am a responsible pet owner. This is really a property rights issue and all the citizens of the state deserve equal protection from the Legislature.
Please vote for HB97.