Only state could ban pit bulls, other dog breeds in Georgia

Local officials would not be allowed to ban or otherwise restrict pit bulls or any specific type of dog breed, under a measure passed Wednesday by the Georgia Senate.

Senate Bill 184 would essentially prevent local cities and counties from deciding the issue for themselves. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Ellis Black, R-Valdosta, said dogs need to be judged by their individual character. He said local officials could still decide if an individual dog is a public menace or too dangerous.

Two cities in Georgia — LaGrange and Lawrenceville — have local laws controlling ownership of pit bulls. Neither would be grandfathered into state law if SB 184 were to become law. DeKalb County decided in 2012 to no longer restrict pit bulls as a household pet, a zoning change that county officials said was meant to help the county focus more on all dangerous dogs and possibly improve the adoption rate from its shelter.

The measure, supported by the American Kennel Club, passed on a 42-11 vote and now goes to the state House for consideration.

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