Laws

Federal law leashes pit bull restrictions

Municipal governments from New York City to Miami, and from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Denver, have responded to fear of pit bulls and similar breeds of dogs, by severely restricting their ownership or banning them entirely from their jurisdictions. Now, thanks to a rule issued recently by the U.S. Department of Justice, such actions are subject to being struck down. Jurisdictions now considering such overreactions, such as Douglasville, Georgia, would be well-advised to review the Justice Department’s opinion before proceeding. read more

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Its a great day for Pit Bull Type Dogs!

Federal law leashes pit bull restrictions
6:00 am September 29, 2010, by Bob Barr
Municipal governments from New York City to Miami, and from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Denver, have responded to fear of pit bulls and similar breeds of dogs, by severely restricting their ownership or banning them entirely from their jurisdictions. Now, thanks to a rule issued recently by the U.S. Department of Justice, such actions are subject to being struck down. Jurisdictions now considering such overreactions, such as Douglasville, Georgia, would be well-advised to review the Justice Department’s opinion before proceeding.
Dog owners and humane societies have long-opposed such arbitrary and overly broad laws that penalize thousands of pit bull owners who maintain their canine companions properly and without incident, because of a small number who fail to properly train and control the dogs. Courts generally have permitted such ordinances to stand, based on deference to the so-called “police power” of local governments to protect the public “safety and welfare.”
The 20-year old, federal Americans With Disabilities Act (”ADA”), however, may put a stop to such “breed-specific legislation.” The ADA protects measures designed to help persons with disabilities, which includes dogs used by disabled persons for assistance. Laws that outlaw ownership of entire breeds, including those that might be used for assistive purposes, would limit the ability of persons with disabilities to use such pets, and would therefore violate the ADA and be deemed by the Justice Department to be unlawful.
In what some might consider a rare example of the federal government recognizing that laws can be overly broad and therefore harmful to individual liberty, the Justice Department’s opinion on breed-specific legislation noted that such laws sweep too broadly; and that it is inappropriate to outlaw an entire breed of dogs because a small number cause problems. Such problems are the result of owners not restraining their dogs properly or inadequately training them, rather than the result of a particular breed’s disposition, and can be addressed by more narrowly-crafted legislation.
Unfortunately, there are still those, like the mayor of Douglasville, Georgia, who favor overly restrictive measures. The mayor recently noted in support of the city’s proposed pit bull ordinance, that he had no problem singling out pit bulls, because he sees them “on TV” causing “incidents.” One would hope that local government officials might on their own possess some understanding of limited government and individual liberty; but if the Justice Department at least in this instance will ensure that they do so by way of a federal law, then the feds are serving as an important check on excessive government power.
http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/09/29/federal-law-leashes-pit-bull-restrictions/?cxntfid=blogs_bob_barr_blog read more

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NY: Make Animal Fight Attendance a Misdemeanor Crime!


A. 6287-B/S. 3926-A would make it a misdemeanor to attend an animal fight in New York State. The NY Senate passed its version of the bill, S. 3926-A, on June 22. Unfortunately, despite passing successfully through the Assembly Agriculture and Codes Committees, the Assembly companion bill, A. 6287-B, has not been scheduled for a floor vote by Assembly leadership.

By attending these barbaric spectacles, spectators make animal fighting a lucrative underground business. In addition, animal fights create environments that promote other hazardous acts, such as the sale of illegal drugs, weapons possession and gambling. Making attendance at animal fights a misdemeanor will give law enforcement an important tool with which to punish the spectators who drive the animal fighting market. read more

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Bill to Ban Animal Crush Videos Clears First Hurdle

The Supreme Court’s decision threw out the conviction of a Virginia man sentenced to three years in prison under the 1999 law for selling dog fighting videos. Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Virginia, appealed his conviction, saying it violated his right of free speech. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit inPhiladelphia tossed out Stevens’ conviction and ruled the statute was unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
The High Court ruled the 1999 law was too broad and could be interpreted to include such activities as hunting. Justices also noted that dog fighting and animal cruelty are illegal nationwide. read more

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Governor McDonnell Amends Bill to Prohibit Breed Based Euthanization of Dogs in Public Animal Shelters–As Attorney General, McDonnell Issued Official

The House is supposed to vote on the amended bill TODAY. The session starts at noon but we don’t know when the vote on this bill will come up. There should be a calendar posted soon (http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+cal+CAL) to at least see the order in which the bills will be presented. You can also watch the session online – there’s a live stream posted at http://legis.state.va.us/streaming/hod_streams/hod_session_streaming.html.

It is also important that you contact your Delegate and Senator and ask him or her to vote for this amendment. To find out who they are, go to http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform and fill out the form. When you click SUBMIT, you’ll get a page with both your state legislators’ information. Beneath their names is a button that says “Send a message to your delegate and senator.” Click that to open an email which will go to both of them. In the subject line, write “Please support Governor’s amendment to HB281” and send your personal message encouraging their support. Simply urge your representative to support the amendment and offer whatever personal message you feel is appropriate. Please be sure to articulate why discrimination based upon breed is unacceptable to you as a citizen and animal advocate. read more

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Adoptables: Rocky

Meet ROCKY! This handsome boy is sure to make you smile every day with his silliness, his wiggle butt and his soulful, warm eyes! He... more

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