Liberty, Mo. Voters Overturn 30-Year-Old Pit Bull Ban

ASPCA commends Liberty voters for rejecting dog breed ban
April 3, 2019

NEW YORK, NY – The ASPCA ® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ®) commends voters in Liberty, Mo. for overturning a 30-year-old pit bull ban on the ballot yesterday by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.

"This victory is the result of the tireless efforts of local advocates who went door-to-door to urge the citizens of Liberty to vote yes to protect dogs and preserve their right to decide which dog is best for their family,” said Andy Briscoe, director of state legislation for the ASPCA, Central region. “This law threatened to separate beloved pets from their families and endangered loving dogs in need homes. We applaud these advocates for taking a stand against this cruel, discriminatory law, and rejecting efforts that infringe upon the rights of responsible pet owners.”

The stated purpose of breed-specific legislation (BSL) is to reduce dog bites and attacks, and while many municipalities have passed these laws, there is no evidence that they make communities safer for people or companion animals—in fact, they often make matters worse. In Florissant, Mo. between 2005, when its breed-specific ban went into effect, and 2015, two years before the ban was repealed, reported dog bites doubled despite a decline in the city’s population.

Breed-specific laws shift focus away from effective enforcement of laws that have the best chances of making communities safer. Responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs should not be penalized simply because their dog happens to resemble a specific breed. 

“Every dog is unique, even dogs within the same breed. Treating dogs as individuals, providing them with the care, training and supervision they require, and judging them by their behavior and not by their physical appearance is the most effective way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together,” said Briscoe. "The ASPCA recommends communities enact strategic 'dangerous dog laws' that address individual animals, not blanket breed bans, and we stand ready to assist Liberty in crafting a new law that will more effectively protect people and pets."

A 2018 poll from Mason Dixon revealed that 67 percent of Missouri voters do not think that local governments should tell people what kind of dog they can own. For more information about the ASPCA or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit