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Indiana lawmaker wants to stop local dog bans

Some Indiana towns prevent residents from owning pit bulls, Rottweilers, and other breeds that have been given a dangerous reputation.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana lawmaker is taking steps to stop breed-specific dog bans. The bill would stop pit bull bans in a handful of Indiana towns.

Senator Blake Doriot representing District 12 in northern Indiana submitted Senate Bill 18. It would pass a state law stopping local governments from banning pit bulls and other dog breeds.

"We don't have bad dog breeds," Doriot said. "We have bad dog owners."

Reports of pit bull and other dog attacks have led the breed to get a bad reputation. Some cities and towns even banned them. 13Investigates identified at least three Indiana towns with bans.

In central Indiana, the Town of Kirklin's code bans pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, chow dogs, and cross breeds. In a "welcome to Oxford" booklet, the Benton County town bans pit bulls. Fowler, which is also in Benton County, deems pit bulls, Rottweilers and chow breeds as vicious and bans them to "eliminate the risk of attack."

SB 18 would eliminate local ordinances, rules, regulations or resolutions that ban or "prohibits a person from owning, possessing, keeping, harboring, transporting, purchasing or selling" specific breeds.

Megan Davis with the Humane Society for Hamilton County supports the bill. The shelter has many pit bull and pit bull mixes that cannot get adopted because of breed stigma.

MORE: Meet 2 long-term residents at the Humane Society for Hamilton County

"A bill like that would be monumental because all of those dogs that get lumped into those categories are incredible animals," Davis said.

13Investigates identified at least 10 cities and towns with breed-specific regulations. One bans certain breeds from dog parks. Others require owners to get permits and additional liability insurance.

Doriot said he's willing to debate if his bill should stop those rules as well.

At least 21 states already have a state law preventing local breed-specific bans or one limiting breed-specific legislation. Supporters of breed-specific bans argue all dogs bite, but certain types of dogs are more likely to cause serious harm or maim.

The legislative session begins Jan. 4.