Dog owners upset over bill targeting 'aggressive' breeds - WSMV Channel 4

Dog owners upset over bill targeting 'aggressive' breeds

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Some dog owners are upset over a piece of legislation they say unfairly targets certain breeds.

Amiee Stubbs is a pet photographer. She's also the owner of a pit bull rescue.

She and other pit bull owners are upset over a bill that puts restrictions on so-called "vicious dogs."

"I just can't imagine not being able to have him as part of our family and walk down the street with him and have him out here," Stubbs said. "It's just not fair."

The plan would require owners of those dogs to have them on a leash if they take them out. At home, the dogs would have to be behind a fence.

Tennessee Rep. Brenda Gilmore is co-sponsor of the plan.

She said senior citizens in her community complained about all the dogs running loose.

The concern there was mainly about pit bulls, but Gilmore said her bill is not aimed at a certain breed.

"We still want dog owners to be able to own any type of dog they want to and not punish a good-natured dog," said Gilmore. "There are certainly some good pit bulls out there."

As to what constitutes a vicious dog, Gilmore said it's an animal that has the propensity to attack, which could mean the animal has attacked before or has an inherently aggressive nature.

Stubbs said it's not fair to generalize, and responsible pet owners shouldn't be punished for the actions of others.

"Just like you can't judge a person by looking at them walking down the street, you cannot judge a dog based off how it looks," said Stubbs.

"You just can't generalize them all like that. Not every big dog is a vicious dog. Not every small dog is a sweet dog. It's going to come from all breeds, just like it comes from people from all walks of life."

At first, Gilmore's bill had a clause that would have required owners of aggressive dogs to have insurance, but she took that out.

Most cities and counties in Tennessee already have leash laws in effect for all breeds of dogs.

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