by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Willie Nelson has joined the Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) in opposing an Ohio law labeling all pit bulls in the state as “vicious dogs.”

According to the Toledo Blade, the singer and ambassador for BFAS, calls the law “archaic,” and wrote an email to a committee of the Ohio Senate asking the Senators to support a new bill that would change the current law. It has already been passed in the House as House Bill 14 with a vote of 69-29. Nelson wrote, “Ohio is the only state that discriminates against dogs who share a cluster of physical characteristics by classifying this group as ‘vicious’ without any regard to individual dog behavior…These dogs are considered ‘vicious’ at birth, even though there are countless dogs of unknown heritage who are deemed ‘pit bulls’ who are wonderful family pets. In addition to being beloved pets, many ‘pit bulls’ are show dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs. The current law infringes on responsible dog owners’ rights to own any dog they choose, no matter what the dog’s appearance. Dogs, like people, are individuals and should each be judged on his/her own merits.”

The current law labels any dog that has killed or seriously injured a person or another dog without provocation as vicious, along with any dog of the “general breed known as ‘pit bull.'” The new law would redefine the terms. The name of “vicious dog” would be given only to dogs that have seriously injured or killed a person, while “dangerous dogs” would apply to those that have seriously injured or killed another dog or have been labeled a “nuisance dog” three times. The law would no longer label all pit bull breeds, and would be applied only to individual dogs. Owners of “vicious” and “dangerous” dogs would be required to obtain liability insurance, signage at their home, a microchip and more. “Nuisance dogs” – those that have “menacingly chased, approached, or attempted to bite a person” – would receive a record kept by the dog warden.

Representative Barbara Sears, who sponsored the new bill, says “Recently, Toledo, the largest city in [Lucas County], had an extremely restrictive dog ordinance that is focused on pit bulls. Toledo also has the highest dog license fees in the state and spent a large amount each year euthanizing innocent dogs that resemble pit bulls.” The law has also sparked a petition on Change.org started by Jean Keating, president of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates. Keating’s petition letter support H.B. 14 and calls for “breed-neutral laws that target reckless owners instead of innocent dogs.”

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • millie thatcher

    Its about time someone targeted the other end of the leash. It’s the people, not the dog. Willie made me very angry with his dog fighting stance as it was based on ignorance and the word of the HSUS, a pit bull type dog hating organization that has targeted breeders and killed more dogs than all the dog fighters in history combined, in an attempt to eliminate the gene pool of game dogs. Terriers are bred to kill varmits and were originally farm dogs used to catch livestock and other tough chores. All terrier breeds are game bred. Game bred has become a dirty trait attributed to dog fighting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because one line of dogs is popular with the alleged dog fighters, most of whom are NOT, the HSUS is going after breeders, many inactive for more than 30 years, since the passage of federal legislation. Dog fighting was always considered a minor misdemeanor until HSUS got into the act, promoting itself for donations and creating situations that victimize legitimate breeders of this breed for financial gain, ie forfieture and donations via incriminating and untrue press releases.The travesty of taking all of a breeders animals and massacring them for this unjust cause is the true crime. Pacelle and John Goodwin and their pals would kill every pit bull type terrier on the planet if they could. Remember the puppies in NC that were killed for being vicious while still nursing? Another feather in the cap of HSUS. Floyd Boudreax, all dogs killed within 24 hours while the 70 year old man could do nothing. That killing spree included his grandchilds show dog. All of this because scum sucking Kumpf flew over his house and declared there was a pit and treadmill. No pit, no treadmill. Dogs died in a non air conditioned van that day as they were taken to New Orleans to kill them all. Patricks, all dogs killed and two homes forfeited, even though there was not one shred of evidence of any cruelty. The judge acquitted them without them having to put up a defense and closed the door on future filing of charges. And so on. Willy, I’m glad you have shown some sense, now get off the humaniac band wagon as a lot of people’s civil rights are being trampled and a lot of money is being made off this campaign of hate and ignorance and you have helped by your own lack of knowledge. What if you were treated this way for smoking your beloved pot? Had you bus taken,your homes confiscated, never could work again etc? When HSUS has police powers, which they do, and the authorities are unfettered by the rule of law, and dogs are killed en masse for their looks, we are all in trouble. It’s the deed, not the breed, and the wrong end of the leash is being targeted here.

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  • rachel hunt

    thank u i own a pitbull and she is the sweetest dog ive ever known….i think that those who give pitbulls a bad name should be locked up

  • Beth Weisleder

    I have known several pit bulls – ALL were loving & lovable. I’ve known maybe so-called ‘humans’ & the majority are selfish & ignorant.
    NO BAD DOGS – just evil owners that torture them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000258363768 Marsha McNair

    Thank goodness there is a celebrity out there, using their fame for something good.