The state House has proposed doing away with bans on specific breeds of dogs.
The bill would eliminate any local governments’ bans on specific breeds of dogs, and bar the implementation of any new such bans. Those governments could still issue bans that don’t specify breeds.
Representative Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles) sponsored the bill.
“If a local city would like to make laws to protect citizens and things like that, it’s fully understandable. We need them, but to make them breed specific I think goes outside the realm of what they should be looking into,” said Hicks.
He argued that dogs cannot be judged to be dangerous based only on breed.
“Dogs can bite. A certain breed? Well, I bite. I can bite. You gonna outlaw me?” Hicks asked during floor debate.
The bill cleared the House on an overwhelming 117-17 vote, but among those who opposed it, Representative Bill White (R-Joplin) said it interferes with local control. He also thinks there is a valid argument that some breeds are more likely to hurt or kill people.
“To say, ‘Absolutely, positively, the breed of a dog has no impact on its personality,’ if you’ve raised animals for a business, for a living, I don’t know that you could agree to that,” said White. “That has not been my experience.”
Representative Nick King (R) represents Liberty, which has a pit bull ban. He also argues there is valid data that those are more likely to be dangerous than other breeds.
“2005 to 2015, canines killed 360 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 64-percent – 232 of these deaths. Combined, pit bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 76-percent of the total recorded deaths,” said King.
The proposal, HB 1811, has been sent to the state Senate.