Missouri law would block cities from banning pit bulls, other dog breeds

Cities in Missouri will no longer be able to ban pit bulls, according to a bill advancing in the state legislature. The measure, which was passed 117-17 by the House last week, would mean that municipalities could no longer ban pit bulls or other dog breeds sometimes considered dangerous. Supporters of the bill say that pit bulls are no more unsafe than other breeds and ordinances targeting specific breeds amount to "doggy discrimination."

"It's not the dog. It's not the breed. It's the owner," said Republican Rep. Ron Hicks, who is behind the measure. "We should hold the owner responsible for the dog's action, not the animal."

Opponents, on the other hand, point to a well-documented history of pit bulls attacking humans and other animals. Colleen Lynn, with the organization DogsBite.org, says that pit bulls are particularly dangerous because they inflict more damage during attacks than other breeds.

Lynn and others argue that rules surrounding dog breed bans should be determined by local governments, not the state. Hicks' bill is currently pending in the state Senate. The deadline to pass bills is May 13, the end of the legislative session.

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