Ohio removes “pit bull” from state’s definition of dangerous dog

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It’s a happy day for opponants of breed specific legislation: Ohio has changed the state’s law that specifically named pit bulls as dangerous dogs.

According to VIN News, the 25-year-old law formerly defined a vicious dog as one that “belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog.” The story goes on to explain this about the new revised code:

In addition to striking the words “pit bull” from state code, HB 14 creates a new classification called “nuisance” dogs, defined as dogs that without provocation and while off their home premises chase or approach people in a menacing fashion or try to attack.

The bad news is that Ohio is a home rule state, which means that individual “cities and towns within the state have the ability to pass laws to govern themselves so long as they abide by state and federal constitutions. ” There are currently more than 20 municipalities in Ohio with breed specific legislation.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and breed specific legislation won’t disappear over night. But every step in the right direction is a victory towards battling ignorance about dog behavior based on stereotypes promoted in the media – like this, from a woman in my art class: “Everything I know about dogs I learned from Judge Judy and Judge Millan. And I hate pit bulls.” She then added, “Stereotypes are very useful.”

You can read more specifics about HB 14 on the VIN News website.

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