AG Drew Edmondson: Local laws can't ban specific breeds

Tuesday, August 16th 2005, 11:50 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Local governments are prohibited under state law from enacting proposals to ban pit bull terriers or other specific breeds, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said in a legal opinion issued Tuesday.

``Current state law, as passed by the Legislature, clearly prohibits breed-specific bans,'' Edmondson said in a statement that accompanied the opinion. ``This language was written into state law during the 1991 session.''

Edmondson said the law provides that local government regulations must focus on ``dangerous or potententially dangerous dogs instead of specific breeds.''

The opinion was requested by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, who announced last month that he will introduce legislation to ban pit bull terriers and allow municipalities to discriminate against certain breeds.

Wesselhoft said the place for a pit bull ``is not in the back yard. It's in the Lincoln Park Zoo.''

Wesselhoft proposed the ban after the June 12 attack on a 3-year-old constituent, whose left arm was amputated at the shoulder after an attack by one of several pit bulls kept in the backyard of a home in his district. The owner was fined for having too many animals on his property.

Wesselholft's proposed ban drew opposition from pit bull terrier associations and animal rights groups.