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13 U. Dayton L. Rev. 279 (1987-1988)
Banning the Pit Bull: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Is Constitutional

handle is hein.journals/udlr13 and id is 287 raw text is: BANNING THE PIT BULL: WHY BREED-SPECIFIC
LEGISLATION IS CONSTITUTIONAL
I. INTRODUCTION
Pit bulls-a breed that accounts for only two percent of the
United States' dog population-have killed twenty people in four years,
most frequently children and the elderly.' Dr. Randall Lockwood, Di-
rector of Higher Education Programs for the Humane Society of the
United States, analogizes having a pit bull as a pet to keeping a
loaded gun around.' Reports of pit bull attacks have led to extensive
concern and debate,8 and have prompted municipalities and state legis-
lature to take steps to protect individuals from this potentially deadly
breed of dog. Some municipalities have chosen to completely ban the
pit bull from within city limits, despite claims by opponents that such
1. Cantu, Efforts to Ban Pit Bulls Spark Arguments over Residents' Safety and Civil Lib-
erties, Wall St. J., July 6, 1987, at 13, col. 4.
2. Id.
3. See, e.g., Watson, A Mean Breed or a Defamed Pooch?, INSIGHT, July 27, 1987, at 54;
Sager, A Boy and His Dog in Hell. ROLLING STONE, July 2, 1987, at 36; Swift, The Pit Bull:
Friend and Killer, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, July 27, 1987, at 72; Brand, Time Bomb on Legs.
TIME, July 27, 1987, at 60; Newman, No Justice for Victims of Pit Bull Dogs, Dayton Daily
News and Journal-Herald, Sept. 22, 1987, at 15, col. 1; Pit Bulls: Regulate Owners, Not Dogs,
Wall St. J., Aug. 17, 1987, at 14, col. 3; Pit Bulls-Best Friend or Time Bomb?, USA Today,
Aug. 10, 1987, at 1, col. 3; Pierce, It's Time to Put Bite in Dog Laws, Dayton Daily News and
Journal-Herald, July 29, 1987, at 19, col. 1; Group Defends Pit Bulls, Dayton Daily News and
Journal-Herald, July 20, 1987, at 1, col. 1; Pit Bull Owners Don't Like Being Singled Out, Day-
ton Daily News and Journal-Herald, July 12, 1987, at B3, col. 6; Owners, Foes in Dogfight Over
Pit Bulls, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 10, 1987, at I-A, col. 1.
4. Some states and municipalities have strengthened their vicious dog legislation without
specifically prohibiting pit bulls. See, e.g., OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 955.11(A)(4)(a) (Anderson
1987). The Ohio statute states:
Vicious Dog means a dog that, without provocation and subject to Division (A)(4)(b) of
this section, meets any of the following: (i) Has killed or caused serious injury to any
person; (ii) Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person, or has
killed another dog; (iii) Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The
ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of
the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.
See also R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-13.1-1 (Supp. 1986) (defining Vicious Dog as (4) Any dog owned
or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fight-
ing); DAYTON, OHIO, REV. CODE OF GEN. ORDINANCES §§ 91.01, .50, .99 (1987); CENTERVILLE,
OHIO, MUNICIPAL CODE § 505.01(a) (1984); FARMERS BRANCH, TEX., CODE OF ORDINANCES
§§ 6-65 to -80 (1987); EVERETT, WASH., MUNICIPAL CODE ch. 6.08 (1986); Midland, Pa., Ordi-
nance 540 (Sept. 8, 1987).
Other authorities have chosen to completely ban the pit bull from within city limits. See, e.g.,
CINCINNATI, OHIO, MUNICIPAL CODE § 701-24 (1987). The Cincinnati ordinance provides:
No person shall own, keep, or harbor a pit bull terrier, as defined herein, within the munic-
ipal limits of Cincinnati. Pit Bull terrier as used herein is hereby defined as any Stafford-

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