New measure to ban dog breeds already exists

Published: January 21, 2013
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Regarding “Bill would allow cities to ban or restrict specific dog breeds” (News, Jan. 17): Once again an Oklahoma legislator has introduced legislation to ban certain breeds of dogs. Oklahoma has a model dangerous dog law that's been adopted by many states and cities. Existing law has been upheld by two attorney general opinions — one in 2005 and one in 2007. It's been upheld three times by the state Court of Civil Appeals. Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, should know that not only does the American Bar Association advise against enacting breed-specific legislation, but 18 states rescinded such legislation during 2011 and 2012. All have reported that breed-specific laws do nothing to protect citizens against dog bites from any breed of dog. The Netherlands rescinded its breed-specific law that had been in place for 25 years.

The key to controlling dog bites is enforcing the existing state law and promoting responsible dog ownership. Many officials of Oklahoma cities and towns don't seem to know the law exists. Surely Oklahoma lawmakers have more important things to do than waste time on an issue that's long been upheld by our courts.

Joan Morrison, Gore