It does not matter whether the dog is a chihuahua or a mastiff – being bitten can be frightening as well as harmful. However, there is more of a focus on larger breeds when it comes to legislation controlling dangerous dogs, since big dogs can cause much more harm when they attack. Even so, many dog owners in Missouri and elsewhere feel that breed-specific legislation is unfair and stigmatizes entire breeds, when not all dogs of those certain breeds are vicious.

According to KOMU News, a bill that was recently introduced – HCS HB 297 – aims to keep Missouri residents safe from dangerous dogs while not penalizing entire breeds. Many communities or landlords ban certain breeds, such as pit bulls or German shepherds, regardless of an individual dog’s history. If passed, the bill would allow cities and counties to uphold leash laws and make other pet-specific safety laws, but not to target entire breeds.

Forbes explains that numerous large dog breeds have been responsible for the most fatal attacks in the United States, including pit bull terriers, rottweilers, German shepherds, mastiffs, boxers and others. This has prompted breed-specific laws in many states, as well as rules that exclude certain breeds from rental homes, neighborhoods with homeowners’ associations and home insurance coverage.

Many people are understandably frightened of dogs. Regardless of whether the bill passes, dog owners should know their responsibilities in training and socializing their pets, as well as preventing them from biting others. A negligent dog owner may be held liable for injuries.