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Council Period 12
Council Period 13
|Councilmember Councilmember Jim Graham
Councilmember Sharon Ambrose
Councilmember Kevin Chavous
Councilmember Jack Evans
Councilmember Vincent B. Orange
Councilmember Adrian Fenty
Councilmember Harold Brazil
A BILL IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Councilmembers Jim Graham, Sharon Ambrose, Kevin P. Chavous, and Jack Evans introduced
the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on Human Services.
To emend 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; 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 Act of 2001".
Sec. 2. The Animal Control Act of 1979, effective October, 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" named herein 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 these breeds."
(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 a paragraph (6), (7), and
(8) to read as follows:
"(6) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to persons who own or
possess pit bulls prior to the effective date of this act and who comply with paragraph
(7) of this subsection, 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
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 person owning a pit bull prior to the effective date of this act may
continue to harbor the dog at his or her premises, provided, that all of the standards and
requirements set forth herein are met.
"(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).
"(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 paragraphs
(6) or (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 5 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 :hall 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 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 paragraph shall not
apply to the impoundment of a pit bull as a result of an attack or bite."
(d) Sec. 12. Penalties (D.C. Code § 6-1011) is amended by adding the following
"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 humanely destroyed,
and the owner of such dog shall be fined up to $20,000, may imprisoned for not more than 2
years, 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
a 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
1995, 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 § 1233(c)(1)), and
publication in the District of Columbia Register.