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Bill allows Utah dog owners to decide which breed

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House Bill 97, proposed legislation being considered by Utah legislators during the 2014 session in Salt Lake City would stop local governments from being able to outlaw or restrict specific breeds of dogs. Sponsored by Representative Brian King-D, Salt Lake City, the bill would allow individuals to own any breed or breed mix.

Certain breeds including Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers have been considered by some to be vicious by nature, creating a danger in neighborhoods. This has led to local ordinances that control specific breeds, refusals by insurance companies to cover households with specific breeds, and plenty of bad publicity for the dogs. Adults and children who do not know how to handle dogs or how to avoid dangerous situations have been brutally injured or killed.

Owners and proponents of the breeds maintain the problem rests with the owners of the dogs. Improper training that triggers aggression can make any dog dangerous, even those not listed as potentially violent. Dogs that are neglected or trained to fight or protect can be a danger to the community. However, dogs that are adopted in and live as part of a family are rarely violent.

According to Best Friends Animal Society, 84 percent of Americans believe they have the right to choose which breed of dog they own. They maintain people who are law-abiding and responsible pet owners should not be “forced to give up a beloved pet who’d never done anything wrong, just because of that dog’s breed.”

The bill received a favorable recommendation from the House Rules Committee on February 10 and has had its second reading before the House.

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Source: Best Friends Animal Society, Utah Legislature

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