Snyder: Breed-specific legislation


Columnist Snyder argues against breed-specific legislation and the media driven stigma, which has been forcing pit bulls out of homes for decades.

Stephen Snyder

Breed specific legislation, as it is applied to dogs, can be defined as the creation of laws intended to restrict or prohibit the ownership of particular breeds which lawmakers hold to be inherently dangerous to the public. The breed most commonly legislated against across the nation and in Iowa is the American Pit Bull Terrier and breeds related to pit bulls. Such legislation, while widespread, lacks forethought. The following are state and national facts about breed specific legislation and pit bulls.

  1. 80 cities in Iowa enforce some type of breed specific legislation against pit bulls, ranging from restricted ownership all the way to total legal prohibition of the dogs.
  2. There is no longer a Center for Disease Control database for dog bites based on breed, so accusations that pit bulls bite at a higher rate are unfounded.
  3. Ottumwa bans alligators, bears and wolves to the same degree it bans pit bulls.
  4. To date, 37 states have enacted some type of breed specific legislation against pit bulls.
  5. 18 states however, have either abolished those laws or preemptively rejected them.

The tide of public and legal opinion is slowly shifting away from breed specific legislation. We all need to make sure that Iowa does not fall behind on this issue.