Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed into law a bill passed by the General Assembly that prevents cities and towns from banning specific breeds of dogs. HB5671was introduced by Representatives Palangio, Williams, Palumbo, Lima, and DeSimone, and the law takes effect immediately.
According to the press release issued by the State House, HB5671 provides that certain breeds of dogs cannot be banned in communities based on what is an erroneous impression about a certain breed.
The press release goes on to quote co-sponsor Representative Thomas Palangia as follows:
Years ago it was German Shepherds that were ‘bad’ dogs. Then it was Dobermans, then Rottweilers and today it is Pit Bulls. No specific breed of dog is intrinsically bad or vicious or dangerous. It is the owners or handlers than can make a certain dog vicious, but entire breeds of dogs should not be outlawed based on the way some of them are trained.
Regarding his support for the bill, Senate co-sponsor Frank Ciccone stated:
I understand that certain kinds of dogs have come to have a certain reputation – Pit Bulls, for instance, because of things like the Michael Vick affair. But it is the people, the owners that train dogs to be vicious that is the problem, not the breed of dog. Pit Bulls, in fact, can be some of the most loyal and gentle dogs you can have.
Rhode Island, along with Connecticut and Nevada, passed bills during the 2013 legislative session that prohibit the passage of breed specific ordinances. Sixteen states now have laws that prevent cities and towns from enacting discriminatory ordinances that single out specific breeds of dogs.
Congratulations Rhode Island!