Bill to ban breed specific legislation filed in Jefferson City

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Animal advocates and state legislators are working to make it illegal to discriminate against a dog regardless of breed.

Currently, there are seventeen states in the US that do not have breed specific laws.

A Springfield woman working with the group tells KSPR that a bill has been pre-filed in Jefferson City.

"The best would be a BSL ban throughout the state that way we can get down to the nitty gritty of irresponsible owners, irresponsible puppy mills and people like that," said Julie Gariepy.

She and other animal advocates say the law isn't hard enough on people who don't know how to care for their animals.

Gariepy believes targeting dogs like pit bulls isn't the answer.

"They're not only going after these owners they could go after you next no matter what the breed of the dog," she said.

State Representative Bruce DeGroot agrees. It's why he sponsored House Bill 1398.

"I'm a Republican who believes in private ownership rights and property rights," he said.

If the bill is voted into law villages, towns, and cities in Missouri can't regulate dogs in a breed-specific manner

Gariepy thinks this decision should be left up to voters to decide.

"It'd be better to go to the voters because we could actually get the education out to people who don't own one. That way they know hey, this is what's going on," she said.

A call for a state-wide ban on breed-specific laws has made its way to the capital before but hasn't passed.

This current bill will face the same challenges.

"The senate committees, that's our biggest hurdle right now," Gariepy said.

She believes banning the ban will clear the way for more important issues.

"The tax payer’s money actually goes toward something that's actually going to help the state," she said.

House Bill 1398 is expected to be part of the other bills state leaders will consider during their next session.