REVIEWED NOVEMBER 2016

State preemption map ::

State preemption laws that bar local governments from enacting breed-specific ordinances are far from universal or absolute. In this section we explain each state and its associated designation.

breed-specific, states with preemption, mixed preemption, home rule, no preemption
Learn about the history of these preemption laws and states that have rejected recent bills.

Non-preemption states

Non-preemption states respect local control and believe that local government officials are best suited to determine their own animal control and public safety policies. Municipal jurisdictions in these states are free to enact breed-specific ordinances for the purposes of public health and safety and animal welfare. Learn more about the different types of breed-specific ordinances that cities and counties adopt to protect public health in our Breed-Specific Legislation FAQ.

States that Protect Local Breed-Specific Ordinances
Key State Status Key State Status
breed-specific law preemption map key Alabama No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Missouri No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Arkansas No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Montana No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Alaska No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Nebraska No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Delaware No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key New Hampshire No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Georgia No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key New Mexico No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Hawaii No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key North Carolina No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Idaho No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key North Dakota No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Indiana No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Ohio No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Iowa No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Oregon No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Kansas No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Tennessee No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Kentucky No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key Vermont No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Louisiana No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Washington No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Maryland No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key West Virginia No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s)
breed-specific law preemption map key Michigan No state preemption; defeated recent preemption bill(s) breed-specific law preemption map key Wisconsin No state preemption
breed-specific law preemption map key Mississippi No state preemption breed-specific law preemption map key Wyoming No state preemption

Mixed-preemption and home rule states

States governed by a mixed-preemption breed-specific law often allow city and county breed-specific spay and neuter ordinances. In states with strong home rule provisions, such as Colorado, home rule cities and counties can supersede and fully mute state-level laws prohibiting local breed-specific ordinances. This is why the City and County of Denver, the City of Aurora and other home rule jurisdictions in Colorado can enact and enforce breed-specific pit bull ordinances.

States Governed by Mixed-Preemption Laws and Home Rule
Key State Adopted Title and Section Statute
breed-specific law preemption map key South Carolina 1988 § 47-3-710. Regulation of Dangerous Animals "An animal is not a 'dangerous animal' solely by virtue of its breed or species."
breed-specific law preemption map key Colorado 2004 § 18-9-204.5. Unlawful Ownership of Dangerous Dog Statute is completely void in home rule jurisdictions; statute is also specific only to the regulation of "dangerous dogs."
breed-specific law preemption map key California 20051 § 122331. Health and Safety Code "(a) Cities and counties may enact dog breed-specific ordinances pertaining only to mandatory spay or neuter programs and breeding requirements, provided that no specific dog breed, or mixed dog breed, shall be declared potentially dangerous or vicious under those ordinances."

“Likely” mixed-preemption states

The following states have a preemption law that prohibits local governments from declaring a specific dog breed "potentially dangerous" or "dangerous," but the state law does not appear to prohibit jurisdictions from adopting breed-specific spay and neuter ordinances. These state laws are currently untested in this area. We encourage jurisdictions to test them. The idea that these preemption laws are airtight, particularly in the area of pit bull sterilization ordinances, is a fallacy.

States "Likely" Governed by Mixed-Preemption Laws
Key State Adopted Title and Section Statute
breed-specific law preemption map key Minnesota 1989 § 347.51. Dangerous Dogs; Registration "A statutory or home rule charter city, or a county, may not adopt an ordinance regulating dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs based solely on the specific breed of the dog. Ordinances inconsistent with this subdivision are void."

See recent "proposed" ordinance in Rochester by the city attorney.

breed-specific law preemption map key Oklahoma 1991 § 46. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs "Potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs may be regulated through local, municipal and county authorities, provided the regulations are not breed specific. Nothing in this act shall prohibit such local governments from enforcing penalties for violation of such local laws."
breed-specific law preemption map key Texas 1991 § 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs "A county or municipality may place additional requirements or restrictions on dangerous dogs if the requirements or restrictions: (1) are not specific to one breed or several breeds of dogs; and (2) are more stringent than restrictions provided by this subchapter."
breed-specific law preemption map key Virginia 19932 § 3.2-6540. Control of Dangerous Dogs "No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited."
breed-specific law preemption map key Nevada 2013 § 202.500. Dangerous or Vicious Dogs "A local authority shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance or regulation that deems a dog dangerous or vicious based solely on the breed of the dog."

Grandfather law states

Currently, only Florida has a state preemption law prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific laws that also grandfathered in pre-existing ordinances, mainly the Miami-Dade County pit bull ban that was enacted in 1989. No other municipal jurisdictions in Florida are allowed to enact or enforce breed-specific laws. In August 2012, during a Miami-Dade County primary vote, citizens voted to keep their longstanding pit bull ban by a 63% to 37% margin.3

States with Grandfathered Breed-Specific Laws
Key State Adopted Title and Section
breed-specific law preemption map key Florida 1990 767.14. Additional local restrictions authorized.

Preemption states

Preemption states have laws barring local governments from enacting breed-specific laws. Notably, both Illinois and Rhode Island are untested home rule states. In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court confirmed the authoritative power of home rule ordinances. In Pennsylvania, the preemption statute specifically excludes county governments. Again, even in preemption states, these laws are not always absolute, especially in states with strong home rule provisions.

Preemption States Prohibiting Local Ordinances
Key State Adopted Title and Section
breed-specific law preemption map key New Jersey 1989 4:19-36. Supersedure of local law, ordinance or regulation.
breed-specific law preemption map key Pennsylvania4 1990 1982 Act 225. Section 507-A. Local ordinances.
breed-specific law preemption map key Maine 1991 § 3950. Local regulations.
breed-specific law preemption map key New York 1997 § 107 : NY Code. Section 107: Application.
breed-specific law preemption map key Illinois5 2003 510 ILCS 5/24. Chapter 8, paragraph 374.
breed-specific law preemption map key Massachusetts 2012 Section 157. Nuisance or dangerous dogs.
breed-specific law preemption map key Connecticut 2013 Section 7-148. Scope of municipal powers.
breed-specific law preemption map key Rhode Island6 2013 § 4-13.1-16. Prohibition of breed specific regulation.
breed-specific law preemption map key South Dakota 2014 40-34-16. Ordinance specific as to breed of dog prohibited.
breed-specific law preemption map key Utah 2014 Title 18 Chapter 2. Regulation of dogs by a municipality.
breed-specific law preemption map key Arizona7 2016 Senate Bill 1248. Not codified yet.

Rental properties

There is a range of conflicting state preemption maps on the Internet showing which states do and do not allow local governments to enact breed-specific laws. As illustrated above, however, there are often serious variations in these state preemption laws and very few are airtight. Furthermore, none of these maps show the upwards of a million private rental properties governed by breed-specific leases across all 50 states that are entirely unaffected by these state preemption laws.8

  1. California enacted a full state preemption law in 1989. In 2005, part of it was repealed to allow for breed-specific sterilization ordinances. San Francisco enacted the country's first mandatory pit bull sterilization ordinance in 2005.
  2. The state preemption law in Virginia was enacted between 1990 and 1993. Not all states have complete legislative archival histories online. Even when they do, the adoption dates can be difficult to determine.
  3. Miami-Dade County Elections, 2012 Election Results (www.miamidade.gov) and Final Election Results Miami-Dade County August 14, 2012 (results.enr.clarityelections.com)
  4. The Pennsylvania state preemption law excludes counties.
  5. Illinois is an untested home rule state.
  6. Rhode Island is an untested home rule state. Learn more: Haas, Terrance P. (2006) "Constitutional Home Rule in Rhode Island," Roger Williams University Law Review: Vol. 11: Iss. 3, Article 3.
  7. The anti-BSL preemption in Arizona Senate Bill 1248, drafted by Best Friends Animal Society, was hidden in this anti-animal welfare bill that banned local puppy mill ordinances. In a statewide preemption strike on local control, cities saw their puppy mill ordinances stripped away, while Best Friends celebrated a "pit bull" victory at the cost of animal welfare protections across the entire state.
  8. Multifamily Rental Properties: Would You Believe 2.25 Million?, by Paul Emrath, Eye On Housing, March 29, 2013 (www.eyeonhousing.org)