Proposal Could Allow Oklahoma Cities to Ban Dog Breeds

It’s a topic that elicits mixed opinions, but one proposal could allow Oklahoma City to ban certain dog breeds. Dog lovers are understandably up in arms about the bill, as is the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. They’ve created an online petition to Governor Mary Fallin on change.org, and in just five days, they gathered 4,700 signatures. Some opponents believe the bill is directed at the pit bull terrier breed specifically. Sherry Stinson, who started the petition, says, “It’s a backdoor way to ban pit bulls.” Currently there is no ban on pit bull terriers in the State of Oklahoma.

But according to Senator Patrick Anderson, cities should have the right to restrict certain breeds if they determine them to be a threat. Anderson says the measure isn’t breed-specific, but he does admit that he is leery of the pit bull terrier breed. He adds, “Pit bulls make me nervous. I wouldn’t want them around my children. My bill’s not designed to go after any breed in particular, but my personal feeling about pit bulls is I wouldn’t own one.”

Some Oklahoma City home owners might remember this topic coming up before. In 2006, efforts to ban pit bull terriers failed, although a state law passed that year does set punishment for owners who fail to restrain dogs who have been defined as dangerous or potentially dangerous.

Christy Counts, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society’s president and executive director, adds, “We definitely oppose that legislation. Research has shown over and over and over again the most common predictor of bites by dogs has more to do with the spayed and neutered and tethered than the actual breed. If a dog is spayed or neutered and it’s part of the family, the likelihood of severe aggression is very low. There’s just no real way to regulate that type of legislation. Specific behavior of an individual dog is a better predictor of future behavior.

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