JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Today, House Bill 1116, which deals with dog breed discrimination, got a friendly hearing before a House committee. Its been dubbed Winston’s law by its sponsor Rep. Ron Hicks, R- St. Charles, and is an effort to remove restrictive language regarding dog breeds in the Missouri state statute. Hicks bill takes aim at local municipalities or cities that place restrictions on specific dog breeds.
Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst was one of the first officials to offer a comment.
“I’ve been bitten by a dog twice in my life, both times were by a chihuahua,” Scharnhorst said.
Hicks said the bill could potentially save the state $9 million dollars. A claim challenged by a few members of the committee. Hicks, citing a study from John Dunham and associates, said that enforcement of the law through police, state funded dog shelters, and scientific tests for different breeds incurred a cost to the state.
Ledy VanKavage was the first of several witnesses to testify in support of HB 1116. VanKavage is a senior legislative attorney for the Best Friends Animal Society and spoke on issues that arise through the discrimination of dogs in different areas in Missouri.
“We can’t have a community say you can’t drive a Camaro, because Camaro owners drive fast,” VanKavage said.
She went on to state that only 25 percent of those who work in Animal Control are successful at identifying dog breeds without running a test.
“We are having more and more problems with identification,” VanKavage said.
Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, did inquire about how HB 1116 overrides, local governments ability to assess and serve its people. Hicks argued against that designation, stating that a bill removing dog discriminatory language was passed in Clayton three weeks ago, and that bills like this are on a positive trend.
No one during the hearing testified in opposition of the bill.