Noble McIntyre on January 29, 2013
After much public uproar and debate, the office for Oklahoma State Senator Patrick Anderson has abandoned his proposed Senate Bill 32. Earlier this month Senator Anderson announced his support of SB 32, an Emergency Bill that would have allowed communities to pass ordinances that would prohibit the ownership of certain breeds of dogs within their community. It is currently illegal for municipalities to pass breed specific bans and ordinances.
After his announcement earlier this month, the bill was met with an outpouring of backlash. A petition against the passage of this bill received much support and thousands of signatures. The bill’s emergency status would have meant that if it were approved by the legislature, it would have become law as soon as it was signed by Governor Fallin.
Senator Anderson says he sponsored the bill after leaders from the Kay County city of Blackwell urged him to do so. Anderson stated, “(This is about) public safety. I think that’s the bottom line, we need to make sure we are protecting our citizens.” He went on to point out, “You hear about dog attacks on occasion, so I’m sure there are other communities that have had this issue before.”
Local proponents of animal rights and responsible ownership, pointed to concerning trends with breed specific legislature. In states and cities where certain breeds are outlawed, dog owners who owned their pets prior to the passing of the laws have not been grandfathered in. The manager of Tulsa Animal Welfare, Jean Letcher, was a strong opponent of the bill. Letcher stated, “My personal opinion is it’s a step backwards for us. You’re going basically on appearance (when you ban the breeds),” she went on to say, “Irresponsible dog ownership is the biggest reason for dog bites, dog maulings, and other problems.” Tulsa Animal Welfare works hard to place pit bull, and pit bull mixed breed dogs in homes.
It’s important to remember that Oklahoma dog bite statistics show that any dog can be dangerous if not trained and socialized properly. Responsible dog ownership is more important right now than ever.