Monday, March 30, 2009

Ohio House Bill 79


Measle's Animal Haven (MAH) believes wholeheartedly that pit bulls with responsible owners are the BEST and most loving family pets of all breeds. MAH knows from our vast experience that pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs are NOT automatically "vicious." Unfortunately, there is a very small percentage of the total pit bull population that MAY be vicious toward humans (though this is not ever the dog's fault, as a dog's behavior is always a result of irresponsible/criminal ownership fostering inbreeding/abuse/neglect of the dog). Equally unfortunate is the fact that a pit bull's size and strength allow that tiny percentage of "vicious" dogs to inflict severe damage on people if they attack a human (please note that this is true of ANY large breed dog and does not just apply to pit bulls!).

However, Ohio's current BSL does NOT foster responsible ownership -- instead it promotes what is tantamount to breed genocide in the killing of thousands of gentle, happy, friendly pit bulls each year just because of their breed.

MAH promotes responsible ownership of pit bulls to ensure the safety, health, and happiness of our beloved family pets. We advise all pit bull owners to spay/neuter their pets and abide by any laws pertaining to pet ownership and the pit bull breed. Further, for the safety of our pit bulls, we insist that anyone adopting our rescued pit bulls properly restrain their dogs at all times (keep your pit bull leashed or in a locked fenced yard and never take your pit bull to an off-leash dog park), even if the adopter lives in a state where there is no BSL.

Ohio House Bill 79, introduced last week by Rep. Barbara Sears of Sylvania , would amend § 955.11 of the Ohio Revised Code to remove “pit bulls” from the definition of “vicious dog." Dog advocates throughout Ohio are working hard on legislative efforts and strongly support this bill for the following reasons:

  1. BSL (breed specific legislation) is never a good idea, it only serves to punish responsible dog owners while doing nothing to crack down on irresponsible owners and in Ohio, has led to the slaughter of thousands of innocent dogs simply because of what they look like.
  2. Ohio is the only State in the country that automatically defines pit bulls as vicious. Some States, such as Texas, have taken the opposite approach and have prohibited BSL completely.
  3. No breed of dog, including pit bull, is inherently dangerous or vicious. Even dogs that have been bred and trained as fighting dogs, such as the Michael Vick dogs, are often able to be rehabilitated.
  4. Current Ohio law places an undue hardship on responsible dog owners by requiring pit bull owners to carry liability insurance that covers injury to a human by their pit bull(s). All pit bulls or dogs that "look" like a pit bull and the good owners and bad owners are all tainted by the assumption that they will bite/maim/kill a human at the slightest provocation. There is not even a provision for dogs who pass the Canine Good Citizen test, are spayed/neutered, and have responsible owners.
  5. All definitions of dangerous or vicious dogs should be based on the behavior of the individual dog -- NOT THE BREED.
  6. Some additional reasons and evidence are cited on Best Friends Network.

Please contact your legislator to voice your opinion on H.B. 79. Phone calls, faxes and letters work the best. Additionally, please contact the bill's sponsor, Rep. Sears, to thank her for sponsoring this bill and working to improve the lives of pit bulls in Ohio. Lastly, the bill has been assigned to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and we urge people to contact them as well.

Please take a moment to write letters of support for Representative Sears’ bill that would remove the “pit bull” clause from the Ohio Revised Code. (See the addresses listed below.)

Robin Laux

Measle's Animal Haven Pit Bull Rescue

Members Agriculture and NaturalResource Committee

John Domenick
Phone: (614) 466-3735
Fax: (614) 719-6995
Email: district95@ohr. state.oh. us

Alan Sayre
Phone: (614) 466-8035
Fax: (614) 719-6996
Email: district96@ohr. state.oh. us

Linda Bolon
Phone: (614) 466-8022
Fax: (614) 719-6971
Email: district01@ohr. state.oh. us

Dan Dodd
Phone: (614) 466-2500
Fax: (614) 719-6991
Email: district91@ohr. state.oh. us

Jennifer Garrison
Phone: (614) 644-8728
Fax: (614) 719-6993
Email: district93@ohr. state.oh. us

Dennis Murray
Phone: (614) 644-6011
Fax: (614) 719-6980
Email: district80@ohr. state.oh. us

Deborah Newcomb
Phone: (614) 466-1405
Fax: (614) 719-6999
Email: district99@ohr. state.oh. us

Mark Okey
Phone: (614) 466-1464
Fax: (614) 719-3961
Email: district61@ohr. state.oh. us

Raymond Pryor
Phone: (614) 644-7928
Fax: (614) 719-6985
Email: district85@ohr. state.oh. us

W. Carlton Weddington
Phone: (614) 466-5343
Fax: (614) 719-3581
Email: district27@ohr. state.oh. us

Jeff Wagner
Phone: (614) 466-1374
Fax: (614) 719-6981
Email: district81@ohr. state.oh. us

Richard Adams
Phone: (614) 466-8114
Fax: (614) 719-3979
Email: district79@ohr. state.oh. us

Troy Balderson
Phone: (614) 644-6014
Fax: (614) 719-6994
Email: district94@ohr. state.oh. us

Terry Boose
Phone: (614) 466-9628
Fax: (614) 719-3958
Email: district58@ohr. state.oh. us

Timothy Derickson
Phone: (614) 644-5094
Fax: (614) 719-6953
Email: district53@ohr. state.oh. us

Matthew J. Dolan
Phone: (614) 644-5088
Fax: (614) 719-6998
Email: district98@ohr. state.oh. us

Dave Hall
Phone: (614) 466-2994
Fax: (614) 719-6997
Email: district97@ohr. state.oh. us

Margaret Ruhl
Phone: (614) 466-1431
Fax: (614) 719-6990
Email: district90@ohr. state.oh. us

James Zehringer
Phone: (614) 466-6344
Fax: (614) 719-3977
Email: district77@ohr. state.oh. us

In addition, OHIO RESIDENTS should contact their respective district representatives to encourage them to support HB79. You can find your local representatives on the home page of the Ohio Legislature website.

Finally, please write to Representative Sears to thank her for sponsoring HB 79 and bringing their very important issue to the floor:
Barbara R. Sears
( R )Representative
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH43215-6111
Tel: (614) 466-1731
Fax: (614) 719-6946
Email: district46@ohr. state.oh. us

If you would like to write to the representatives via snail mail, all correspondence should be sent to The Honorable ____________, 77 South High Street , Columbus , Ohio 43215-6111 .

It would be an incredible achievement to implement positive change to Ohio's laws regarding pit bulls. So please write TODAY…this issue is too important to put off!

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