Bill restricting outlawing dog breeds passes senate

Posted at: 02/18/2013 5:13 PM
Updated at: 02/18/2013 5:14 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

State lawmakers are looking over about 30 bills aimed at protecting animals, including tougher penalties for neglecting pets and raising money to feed starving horses.

One of those bills took a giant step toward making it into the state law books Monday afternoon. It's a bill aimed at stopping local governments from restricting our outlawing certain dog breeds. That usually happens after a particularly violent or even fatal dog attack, and the breed in question is usually an aggressive type, like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, or Rottweilers. Tijeras has done it. Elephant Butte has done it.

Dog owner and animal rescuer Melissa Roberts said the problem is that those laws are unfair to responsible owners - and they don't work anyway.

"You create a false sense of security in that community," Roberts said. "People begin to have the false impression that this is going to reduce dog bites, this is going to reduce dog attacks. The facts don't prove that."

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Yvette Herrell, an Alamogordo Republican who breeds and trains dogs.

"This year it might be the Pit Bull," Herrell said. "Next year it might be the German Shepherd or the Golden Retriever, I think it would just go on and on because we would never really be addressing the issue and that's the ownership of the dog and the liability that goes to the owner."

It's the old argument - there are no bad breeds, only bad owners.

The argument may be old, but it's persuasive. The bill passed the House of Representatives Monday by a vote of 48-14. It now goes to the state Senate.