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Council Period 12
Council Period 13
|Councilmember Jim Graham
Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous
Councilmember Vincent Orange
Councilmember Sandy Allen
Councilmember Sharon Ambrose
A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Councilmembers Jim Graham, Kevin Chavous, Vincent Orange, Sandy Allen, and Sharon
Ambrose introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on Human
To amend the Animal Control Act of 1979 to prohibit the importation, possession,
displaying, selling, trading, bartering, exchanging, adoption, or giving of pit bulls in
the District of Columbia; to require present owners of pit bulls to comply with certain
standards and requirements and to take certain protective measures when the pit bull is on
public space; and to provide penalties for injury or death caused by pit bulls.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as
the "Pit Bull Public Protection Amendment Act of 1999".
Sec. 2. The Animal Control Act of 1979, effective October 17, 1979 (D.C. Law 3-30;
(D.C. Code §6-1001 et seq.) is amended as follows:
(a) Section 2 (D.C. Code §6-1001) is amended by adding the following paragraph (5A) to
read as follows:
"(5A) The term "pit bull" means any of the following: Staffordshire Bull
Terrier; American Staffordshire Terrier; American Pit Bull Terrier; American Bulldog; any
dog which has been registered at any time as a Pit Bull Terrier; any dog which has the
appearance of being predominantly of the breed of dogs known as Staffordshire Bull
Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier or American Bulldog. A
dog shall be deemed to have the "appearance of being predominantly of the breed of
dogs" if the dog exhibits the physical characteristics which substantially conform to
the standards established by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club for any of
(b) Section 9(h)(1) (D.C. Code §6-1008) is amended by striking "domestic dogs
(excluding hybrids with wolves, coyotes, or jackals)" and inserting the phrase
"domestic dogs (excluding pit bulls and hybrids with wolves, coyotes, or
jackals)" in its place.
(c) Section 9(h) (D.C. Code §6-1008(h)) is amended by adding paragraphs (6), (7), and
(8) to read as follows:
"(6) Paragraph (l) of this subsection shall not apply to persons who own or
possess pit bulls prior to the effective date of this act, or if:
"(A) The pit bull is in the temporary care or custody of the
District animal shelter for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of this act;
"(B) The pit bull is being temporarily transferred into and held in the District
of Columbia for the purpose of showing the dog in a place of public exhibition, contest,
or show sponsored by a dog club, association, or similar organization. The sponsor of the
exhibition or show must obtain written permission from the Administrator of Animal Control
and must provide protective measures adequate to prevent the dog from escaping or injuring
the public. The dog shall at all times during the transportation to and from the show or
exhibition be confined in a secure temporary enclosure; or
"(C) The pit bull is being temporarily transported through the District and is
confined in a secure temporary enclosure.
"(7) Any pit bull owned prior to the effective date of this act shall be
considered a dangerous dog pursuant to the Pet Ownership Nonrestriction Act of 1988,
effective March 16, 1989 (D.C. Law 7-181; D.C. Code §6-1021 et seq.), and shall be
subject to the standards and requirements set forth under that act. Any person owning a
pit bull prior to the effective date of this act may continue to harbor the dog on his or
her premises, provided, that all of the standards and requirements set forth herein are
"(A) Within 10 days of the effective date of this act, each owner, keeper,
harborer, or possessor of a pit bull shall register such dog with the Administrator of
Animal Control. A pit bull must at all times wear a tag provided by the Administrator that
will readily identify it as a registered pit bull.
"(B) The owner, keeper, harborer or possessor of a pit bull shall pay an annual
fee of $20.00 (per pit bull) to the Administrator of Animal Control to support
"(C) All owners, keepers, harborers or possessors of pit bulls must, within 90
days of the effective date of this act, provide to the Administrator of Animal Control
certification by a licensed veterinarian that the pit bull has been neutered or is
incapable of enduring neutering (in the case of a male dog) or the pit bull has been
spayed or is incapable of enduring spaying (in the case of a female dog).
"(D) All owners, keepers, harborers or possessors of pit bull dogs must, within
ten (10) days of the incident, report the following information in writing to the
Administrator of Animal Control:
"(i) The removal from the District or death of a pit bull;
"(ii) The birth of offspring of a pit bull; and
"(iii) The new address of a pit bull owner, keeper, harborer or possessor should
the owner move within the District.
"(8) The Administrator of Animal Control shall impound and humanely destroy any
pit bull found in the District which does not meet the provisions set forth in paragraph
(7) of this subsection, unless the impoundment is disputed in accordance with the
"(A) An owner who disputes the classification of a dog as a pit bull shall
petition the Administrator of Animal Control in writing for a hearing not later than 5
days after the impoundment. The petition shall include the name and mailing address of the
petitioner. The Administrator of Animal Control shall determine a hearing date not later
than 30 days from the date of the petition and shall mail a notice of the hearing to the
petitioner not later than 10 days prior to the hearing date. Where no written petition is
received within 5 days of impoundment, the pit bull shall be destroyed.
"(B) The hearing shall be held before a hearing officer designated by the
Administrator of Animal Control. Any facts that the petitioner wishes to be considered
shall be submitted under oath or affirmation either in writing or orally at the hearing.
The hearing officer shall determine whether the dog is a pit bull as defined in section 2
of this act. If the owner disputes the determination, the owner may, within 5 days,
petition the District of Columbia Superior Court for a de novo review. An impounded pit
bull shall remain in the custody of the Administrator of Animal Control until final
determination of a dispute.
"(C) If the dog is found to be a pit bull, it shall be destroyed unless the owner
produces evidence deemed sufficient by the Administrator of Animal Control that the dog is
to be permanently taken out of the District. The procedures in this section shall not
apply to the impoundment of a pit bull as a result of an attack or bite."
(d) Section 12 (D.C. Code §6-1011) is amended by adding the following sentence:
"Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a pit bull that causes injury to or
kills a human being or a domestic animal without provocation shall be humanly destroyed
and the owner of such dog shall be fined up to $20,000, or may be imprisoned for not more
than 2 years of imprisonment, or both.".
Sec. 3. Fiscal impact statement.
The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal
impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act,
approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code §1-233(c)(3)).
Sec. 4. This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of
veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), approval by the Financial
Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority as provided in section 203(a) of the
District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of l 995,
approved April 17, 1995 (109 Stat. 116; D.C. Code §47-392.3(a)), a 30-day period of
Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home
Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Code §1-233(c)(1)), and
publication in the District of Columbia Register.