If you’re a dog lover, then you’ve probably heard about all the ill-will that pit bulls tend to receive. Many presume that these are dangerous dogs and so many states have legislation that makes owning one illegal.
If you’ve ever owned a pit bull before, then you know that you can’t judge a dog on its breed. It isn’t the breed that makes a dog bad, it’s the way it was raised. Pit bulls, unfortunately, have been associated with gang violence and other negative activities because of their owners. It would be unfair to ban them simply because of what a few bad apples have done with them.
That’s the thinking here in Phoenix. Arizona is the 20th state to do away with breed-specific legislation. This means that it is legal to own a pit bull in Phoenix. However, there are still laws that dog owners must follow, especially if the dog is considered dangerous. To learn more, we’re going to look at breed-specific legislation, what rules dog owners must follow in Arizona regarding licensing, as well as Arizona’s dangerous dog laws.
What Is Breed-Specific Legislation?
Breed-specific legislation is exactly what it sounds like: laws that prevent the sale and ownership of certain breeds of dogs. These, in theory, keep the number of dog attacks down because it removes the presence of certain dangerous breeds from the state.
But theory and practice don’t always line up. As discussed above, one type of dog isn’t necessarily any more violent than the next. It depends on how they have been raised and the love they received from their family. Even a breed considered to be docile can be taught to attack rather than to love.
Breed-specific legislation is on its way out. Many states are now waking up to the realization that they are demonizing animals that don’t deserve to be. Many groups, ranging from the American Kennel Club to the American Bar Association and even the White House, have argued that these laws are ineffective, expensive to enforce, and cause more harm than good. Nobody wants to see their beloved dog dragged away for its breed, especially not any children that loved the dog like another member of the family.
Arizona became the 20th state to get rid of breed-specific legislation. However, that wasn’t entirely a good thing. One of the things that was done away with in the process was the requirement that pet stores only sell rescued animals. This means that pet stores can purchase cheaper animals from puppy mills to sell. Puppy mill animals tend to have grown up with little space or love, and so they are more prone to violence. If possible, adopt your pit bull if you can. If that’s not an option, ask your pet store where they got the animal from so you can avoid giving money to a puppy mill.
What Rules Do Dog Owners Have to Follow in Phoenix, Arizona?
Despite being incredibly pet friendly, Arizona is also incredibly strict when it comes to pet ownership. All dogs that are over three months of age are required to be licensed. In order to receive a license for your dog you must provide a certificate of vaccination that includes the following information:
- The vaccine manufacturer
- The type of vaccine
- The serial number or lot number of the vaccine
- The date that the vaccine was given
- The name of the veterinarian that performed the vaccination
- The length of time the vaccine is valid
Licensing may seem like a pain but there’s a lot of good reasons to do so. For one, if your dog gets lost then a license can make it easier to be reunited with them. After all, if there is a database with information about your dog then it can be checked whenever a stray or lost dog is found.
Another reason that licensing is important is it lets the state know that your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations. It’s a lot harder to ensure pets are properly vaccinated when all there is to go on is the owner’s word.
Legally, you need to get your pit bull licensed the same as you would any other breed of dog that you adopt.
In addition to licensing, there is also a leash law that must be followed. This means your dog is enclosed in the yard when on your property, is not left outside tied to a cable or a rope, and they are on a leash if they are off your property.
What Are Arizona’s Dangerous Dog Laws?
The first major rule is the leash law we just mentioned. A dog cannot be left to roam on their own. They must have a collar, a leash, or a harness that has their license tag on it.
Dog bites are always a threat when dogs are around. Arizona doesn’t treat dog bites lightly. Arizona law holds the owner of the dog responsible for any injuries or damages suffered due to their dog. This is true even if the dog never showed any signs of aggression previously.
Keep in mind, however, that a dog owner has the right to show evidence that the person the dog bit provoked the dog first. So if somebody kicks your pit bull and the pit bull bites them back, the dog would be deemed to have been provoked and the owner would not responsible for the bite.. If, on the other hand, the dog’s owner instructed the dog to bite, then they would be guilty of a class 3 felony.
Keep in mind, too, that a failure to restrain a non-violent dog could result in a misdemeanor, or it could be a class 1 felony if the dog had a history of violence.
What Should I Do If I’m Bit By a Pit Bull?
If you were attacked by a pit bull, then the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. This is critical for any dog bite case you may bring, and also because dogs’ mouths are filled with germs. Right after you receive medical attention, contact an experienced dog bite attorney that will help you recover compensation for the damages you suffered.