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Delaware Legislation Now Protects Dogs From Breed Discrimination

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Delaware Governor John Carney recently executed a bill that protects the rights of pet owners who want to safely keep dogs of breeds that are often deemed ‘dangerous’ or even banned in many communities and even states. The law, which was introduced by Democratic Representative Charles Potter, mandates that state regulations meant to protect the public from ‘dangerous,’ dogs cannot define criminal liability of dog owners based only on their pet’s specific breed.

Related: Montreal Pit Bull Ban Suspended While SPCA Challenges Bylaw

Delaware joins with 21 other states that have also had animal lovers and advocates champion for and pass similar legislation that helps protect both dogs and people. With the passing of this law, no longer can animal control units or shelters discriminate against any specific breed when it comes to helping facilitate care or adoption to a forever home.

And while it seems sort of sad that states must mandate common sense, that seems to finally be the growing trend. Bills like these mandate that dogs are found dangerous because of their actions or patterns of behaviors, and not simply their breed. Specifically when it comes to the often impossibility of knowing the true genetic breed of a dog, no longer will dogs be turned away from help (or euthanized) simply because they ‘look’ like a breed that’s been dangerous.

Also important for those families who love breeds commonly deemed dangerous like the Pitbull, Rottweiler or even Doberman Pinscher, Delaware communities can’t enact breed-specific ordinances or regulations for their citizens and their pets.

Related: New Standards Set for Dog Breeders with Canine Care Certified Program

The Delaware Humane Association claims the law is a huge win for the dogs of Delaware, and hopes that other states follow in the prevention of restricting the ownership of dogs simply because they have been unfairly and systematically singled out as one of an ‘aggressive breed.’

The ASPCA repeatedly reminds people and legislators alike that there is no evidence that proves breed restrictive laws or discriminatory practices increase community safety, and they advocate for more strict enforcement of license laws for dogs, as well as pet owners having to meet higher standards of accountability for safety.


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