The governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, signed a new bill into law that prevents a dog’s breed from being considered in legal matters regarding whether or not a dog is viewed as vicious or as a liability. The law also prevents insurance companies from excluding homeowners and renters based on their breed of dog.
Both of these moves represent a shift from dog-related folklore to very real canine behavior science. But it’s the part regarding “findings of facts or conclusions of law” that is particularly bold and progressive.
As far as we know, there are no states that prevent lawyers from presenting a dog’s breed or presumed breed as evidence in a dog-bite related lawsuit.
The text of the bill reads:
As mentioned above, this legislation is based on modern scientific research and that means that it puts the responsibility on individual dog owners and the determination of “vicious” behavior on the individual dog, not on breed stereotypes.
The law defines an aggressive dog as:
The law defines a vicious dog as:
Just as Arizona joins New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan in preventing home insurance companies from underwriting policies due to a dog’s breed, we hope other states will follow Arizona’s lead in disallowing breed-blaming in a court of law.