Great news in Ohio: The city of Garfield Heights has successfully repealed their obsolete ban on "pitbull-type" dogs in favor of more effective breed-neutral policies that are based on modern best-practices for preventing and reducing serious dog bite-related incidents. On January 28, the Garfield Heights City Council repealed the ban (which was enacted in 2007) in a majority 6-1 vote and ended the ineffective and discriminatory policy that banned dogs based only on their appearance or breed. The ban, or breed specific legislation (BSL), is being replaced with behavior-based, breed-neutral regulations that are more effective and more equitable because they address all potentially dangerous dogs, all irresponsible dog owners, and all unsafe dog-related situations - regardless of a dog's appearance or breed. Furthermore, repealing BSL puts Garfield Heights into compliance with Ohio state law which prohibits breed-specific ordinances and therefore exposes cities with BSL in Ohio to legal action and lawsuits. Congratulations to the City Council and the residents of Garfield Heights for improving public safety by repealing BSL - Garfield Heights joins a list of 10+ cities that have recently repealed BSL and are taking a decisive stand against ineffective policies and long-debunked myths and stereotypes about pitbull-type dogs.
Several key reasons why the trend against BSL is strong and enjoys robust public support:
Regardless of any personal opinions about specific breeds (or types) of dogs, multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded that BSL is an ineffective public safety policy and that any risk associated with pitbull-type dogs is fully in-line with other strong breed dogs of similar sizes and strengths; therefore, breed-specific policies are scientifically unfounded and not grounded in science, facts, or expert information. So it's really no surprise that when BSL is challenged by informed citizens and public officials, BSL is often repealed and replaced with stronger and more effective breed-neutral regulations that address all dangerous dogs, all irresponsible owners, and all unsafe dog-related situations - regardless of a dog's appearance or breed. A big congratulations to Garfield Heights and the 10+ cities and towns that have repealed BSL since 2018!
The American Bar Association urges all state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to adopt comprehensive breed-neutral ... laws that ensure due process protections for owners, encourage responsible pet ownership and focus on the behavior of both dog owners and dogs, and to repeal any breed discriminatory or breed specific provisions.
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