Our desire for local control outweighs municipalities' bad dog decisions.
According to Missouri News Network, a part of the Missouri School of Journalism, more than 70 municipalities have "breed- specific laws" — in other words, laws that say what type of dog breed you can own.
More than 50 of those laws outright ban pit bulls.
So Rep. David Gregory, R-St. Louis, has proposed legislation that would ban municipalities from passing BSLs.
He argues — rightfully so, we believe — that cities and counties should have vicious dog ordinances and other regulations that prioritize safety regardless of breed.
"What this bill seeks to do is deregulate governments throughout the state of Missouri," Gregory told Missouri News Network. "It is wrong for a government to come into your home and tell you what kind of dog, by breed, you can have."
We generally agree. But we believe that's a decision best left up to local/county governments, not the state.
Gov. Mike Parson has argued for local control on a mandate to wear masks in public during the pandemic, rather than a statewide mandate. He has argued our state's cities and counties are different, and we shouldn't have a "one-size-fits-all" solution.
Likewise, we would argue cities typically have tighter restrictions on property rights and other matters, including pets, than counties. That generally reflects the values of the residents, and it's often a factor in people's choice of where to live.
"I default to local control," Gregory said. But if local power is abused, he added, "it is incumbent on us to step in."
In this case, it's not an abuse of power by municipalities. It's within their right, and the residents can always lobby their city or county elected officials for change.