Pre-filed Missouri House bill could change dog breed-specific regulations

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Missouri’s 2022 legislative session begins Wednesday, January 5. A proposal that is expected to make the rounds of lawmakers could impact dog owners right here in the Ozarks.

Missouri State Rep. Ron Hicks (R-Defiance) sponsors HB 1657, which prohibits towns and cities from regulating dogs in a breed-specific manner.

The pre-filed bill states that towns, cities and counties can still regulate dogs within their boundaries as long as they are not breed-specific.

Here in Springfield, there is an ordinance in place when it comes to pit bulls. According to the ordinance, pit bulls must be registered and neutered or neutered. The dog must also be in a secure six-sided enclosure when on your property and must be leashed and muzzled when not on your property.

Ashley Walker has a five-year-old pit bull. She understands the stigma behind pit bulls, but thinks they shouldn’t be targeted.

“I think it should be generalized,” Walker said. “If you’re going to regulate one breed, regulate them all. I think certain situations and the way people raised their dogs, and had multiple pits like a pack situation and couldn’t control it, ruined situations.

Hicks sponsored a similar bill in 2020, but it failed to make it out of the House.

No hearing is currently scheduled for HB 1657. If approved, the bill would come into effect at the end of August.

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