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House passes bill prohibiting breed-specific bans in cities

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 4:45 p.m. MST

After debate on the balance between local control and individual rights, the House voted 43-28 to pass HB97, which would prohibit cities and towns from banning certain breeds. (Shutterstock) After debate on the balance between local control and individual rights, the House voted 43-28 to pass HB97, which would prohibit cities and towns from banning certain breeds. (Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — After debate on the balance between local control and individual rights, the Utah House voted 43-28 to pass HB97, which would prohibit cities and towns from banning certain breeds.

Bill sponsor Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said 10 Utah cities and towns have breed-banning ordinances aimed at pit bulls.

King said aggressive tendencies should be looked at on a dog-by-dog basis and that the American Veterinarian Association agrees one breed isn’t more aggressive than another.

“The most common factors in dog bites in the U.S. are young children and the familiarity with the pet … and not necessarily the type (of dog),” said Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, a veterinarian who called the ordinances poor public policy.

House members discussed the same issues brought up in a Feb. 10 House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting: private property rights and local control. Some representatives said it's an issue best handled by local government.

“Local government is typically the best government, but that is not an absolute rule,” said Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden. “And this may be one of those instances where it’s not a good rule of thumb to follow.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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