Representative John GallowayIn May I told you about a bill proposed by Pennsylvania State Rep. John Galloway, that would allow Pennsylvania municipalities to pass their own dangerous dog ordinances and not have them superseded by state law.

Currently Pennsylvania has a state law, the “Dog Law”, enacted in 1982, which prohibits individual municipalities from enacting their own breed specific legislation: “Those provisions of local ordinances relating to dangerous dogs are hereby abrogated. A local ordinance otherwise dealing with dogs may not prohibit or otherwise limit a specific breed of dog.”

Initially he wanted to remove certain language from the current law which would allow municipalities to pass breed specific laws.

“I believe local officials, not the state legislature, know best how to protect residents from dangerous dogs. I have introduced a bill (H.B. 2553) that would allow municipalities to pass their own dangerous dog ordinances and not have them superseded by state law.

In some communities, irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs do not take the necessary steps to ensure that their dogs are kept from running loose throughout the neighborhood. Recently a beagle named Luna was attacked by a pit bull that had wandered out of its yard.

Many municipal officials, including Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe, have complained that our state’s current dog law is too weak and they want the ability to pass their own laws with more bite.” (Galloway’s Website/Petition)

Now because of the backlash from numerous anit-BSL and pitbull organizations, it sounds to me like he is backpedaling and saying that he never meant the legislation to allow BSL. To this end is amended the proposed bill to prohibit municipalities from banning specific breeds in their ordinances, his way of clearing up the confusion.

“My intent with this legislation has always been to give communities the ability to take their own actions with respect to irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs. It was never my intent to allow communities to ban dogs depending on their breed,” Galloway said. “That being said, some have misinterpreted the bill and thought it would open the door for breed specific bans. I have amended my bill so that will not be allowed to happen.”

Galloway is hoping, now that changes have been made, that animal activist groups will support the proposed legislation that’s being reviewed by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

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