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Missouri lawmakers advance proposal to prohibit breed bans

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A bill that would outlaw any breed-specific regulations enforced by local governments passed out of a House committee Tuesday.

Identical proposals from Republican representatives Ron Hicks and David Gregory would prohibit any policy relating to animal control that is based on specific breeds.

Hallsville representative and Republican Cheri Toalson Reisch was one of the 16 committee members who voted in favor of the bill. She said after the vote that Hallsville used to have a ban on dogs with Pit Bull lineage, but repealed it years ago after one resident raised concern.

Toalson Reisch said breed-specific bans, which commonly target Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and other breeds, are "discriminatory because it’s not the dog or the breed, it’s about the owner and how they were raised and trained."

The bill now heads to the Rules - Administrative Oversight committee, of which Gregory is a member. If passed there, the bill will be sent to the floor of the House of Representatives.

The only dissent vote came from Democrat and St. Louis native Gina Mitten. She said before the vote that she agreed with the substance of Hicks' and Gregory's bills, but said it's an example of state overreach.

"Honestly, it’s kind of interesting that I seem to have become the Democrat that wants to remind my friends and colleagues on the other side of the aisle what big government actually looks like," Mitten said during the Judiciary Committee hearing.

Hicks rebutted the claim, saying local governments would still be able to place restrictions on animal owners.

If the bill passed, municipalities would "still make up their own laws if they want to," Hicks said. "Make it to where (pets are) neutered or muzzled or whatever they have to do- the leash laws, all that stuff. We’re just asking that you do not make it breed specific."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals compiled a list of Missouri that ban Pit Bulls, which includes California and Montgomery City.

The nonprofit DogsBite lists Missouri municipalities that enforce ordinances that center around specific breeds. Click here for that list.

Animals / Jefferson City / Lifestyle / Missouri / Missouri Politics / Politics / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Barry Mangold

Barry Mangold reports for ABC 17 News on weekday evenings and anchors weekend evening broadcasts.

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