Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officers and their dogs at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. (AP/Mary Altaffer)
A new bill has been proposed which would allow police officers to enter any home, regardless of whether or not they have a warrant, if there is a pit bull on the property. Even worse, the bill would allow officers to shoot and kill the dog if only a handful of conditions were met.
The Huffington Post reported that measure would make Mississippi the only state in history with a policy against a specific dog breed.
House Bill 1261 not only says police may enter homes without warrants, but they could actually kill the animal if they determine the dogs are “not under proper restraint when on the premises of its owner” or if they are not wearing vaccination tags and “attempts to peacefully capture the dog have been made and proven unsuccessful.”
The bill is being called the Mississippi Regulation of Dangerous Dogs Act, and proponents say it is intended “create civil and criminal penalties for failing to keep dangerous dogs securely confined and under restraint, and for failing to meet certain requirements designed to protect the public.”
“This bill would make Mississippi the only state in the nation with a statewide policy discriminating against a specific dog breed, and the impact on local communities, animal shelters, and law enforcement would be disastrous,” Chloe Waterman, the senior manager of state legislative strategy for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.
“Dogs permitted by their owners to run loose, and dogs who attack people or other animals, pose a serious problem to public safety. But breed-specific dangerous dog laws are ineffective, inhumane and costly.”
Kris Diaz, executive director of a group that advocates for breed-neutral legislation, said that “the fourth amendment clearly protects people from such actions.
“This bill effectively removes any protections people have from unreasonable search and seizure, and opens the door to using a dangerous dog claim as a way to scrutinize people for things they couldn’t otherwise get a warrant for.”