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Legislative Updates: Insurance Bills in Maryland and New York; BSL in Rhode Island, Wisconsin and New Mexico

Two weeks ago I reported that the state of Maryland is considering a bill that would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to customers based on the breed or size of dog they own. On Thursday, February 28, 2013, the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee will examine the potential new legislation, and AKC is encouraging Maryland residents to contact members of that committee to ask them to support this bill. Contact information for these committee members can be found here.

Both Maryland and New York are considering legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage to customers based on the breed of dog they own. Photo © www.canstockphoto.com.

The state of New York is also considering a law that will prohibit insurance companies from canceling or denying insurance based on breed of dog. SB 2568 would also keep insurance companies from “charging increased premiums” based on the breed of dog living on a premises.

Several States Consider BSL and Anti-BSL Measures

On the breed-specific legislation front, the state of Rhode Island is considering two bills that would regulate pit bulls “or dogs believed to be ‘pit bulls.’” Bills H 5287  and S 178 would regulate pit bulls statewide. According to AKC, the bills would require that people who own dogs identified as pit bulls “must always keep the dog securely confined indoors, in a locked pen, or muzzled.”

In Watertown, Wis., legislators are considering laws that “would deem all pit bulls vicious and place new restrictions on the dogs and their owners,” according to the Watertown Daily Times. Mark Kuehl, chairman of the city’s public safety committee, said his group is working on changes to the city’s vicious dog ordinance “following complaints from citizens about a relatively high number of vicious dog activities in the city.” Kuehl said that dogs in addition to those defined as pit bulls may be deemed vicious based on behavior. Restrictions may include posting signs on property where the dogs live, keeping them in secure outdoor areas and muzzling dogs when they are off the owners’ property.

In New Mexico, House Bill 63 will be heard by the state’s house judiciary committee, according to the Facebook page “Ban BSL in New Mexico,”  on Monday, February 18. BISD reported on February 3 that this legislation would prohibit counties and municipalities from enacting BSL in the state.

Best In Show Daily provides a biweekly look at dog-related legislation that is being considered, is pending and has passed around the country. The American Kennel Club also maintains an ongoing list of Legislative Alerts of which it feels fanciers should be aware. If you learn of proposed legislation that you feel we should report on, please feel free to contact me at Christi@bestinshowdaily.com.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.