Mississippi Bill Would Make It Legal For Cops To Enter Homes And Kill Pit Bulls Just Because

If there is one dog that has been unfairly maligned, it’s the pit bull. Its history is as a nanny dog. Pit bulls are wonderful with children, but still, because some have been taught to fight and others have gone without proper training, Americans fear them.

If you have a pit bull, you likely pay more for homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. You might have had a more difficult time finding a landlord that would accept it. Denver and more than 700 other cities across the country have banned the breed altogether, but none have put a target on the breed’s back the way a Mississippi bill would.

Mississippi’s House Bill 1261 would allow police to enter homes of owners of potentially “dangerous” dogs without warrants and it would allow the police to kill the occupant’s dog if the dog is “not under proper restraint when on the premises of the owner,” if the dog is deemed dangerous.

Keep in mind, not being under proper restraint could simply mean loose within the house, if the cops enter a home with no notice. In fact, the bill considers any dog on more than a three foot leash “unrestrained.”

To be fair, the bill does address dogs who have harmed people and it’s mostly to address dogs who are on the loose, but it also lists a pit bull and all the variations and possible pit bull mixes as “dangerous dogs.” No, not possibly dangerous dogs. Dangerous dogs.

It’s not just pit bulls, though. Cops are authorized in the bill to kill any dog who is caught running around without tags and the bill makes it clear that there isn’t a damn thing the owner can do about it.

If this bill passes, it will be the first statewide law that specifically targets pit bulls.

“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,” says Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislative strategy for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “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.”

Source: Huffington Post

There are also some serious fourth amendment concerns with the bill.

“The fourth amendment clearly protects people from such actions,” observes Kris Diaz, executive director of a group that advocates for breed-neutral legislation, who called attention to the Mississippi bill on her blog. “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.”

Regardless, over the last few months/years, many police have demonstrated a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ attitude. It’s easy to see how perfectly innocent dogs will be killed and how people’s rights will be violated in the process.

Image via Pixabay

UPDATE: Fortunately, the bill has died in committee.