Stop Tennessee from Requiring Pit Bull Owners to Purchase Liability Insurance

Target: Representative Brenda Gilmore

Goal: Don’t require all pit Bull owners to purchase additional liability insurance

Tennessee Representative Brenda Gilmore recently proposed House Bill 621, which would require the owners of blacklisted breeds such as pit bulls to purchase a minimum insurance policy of $25,000 for liability against any injury the dog might inflict. The bill stipulates that this will include any dog that has previously been responsible for a vicious attack and that any animal belonging “to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog” will automatically be considered vicious regardless of its background. This bill must be stopped before it hinders the progress that has been made in changing the reputation of pit bulls.

Breed discrimination around the country has become a serious problem, keeping owners from living where they want, working where they want, or even being able to take their dog to public places like a park simply because of the breed of their loved one. It has become akin to a kind of racism. That is, presuming to know what something or someone is based solely on their appearance and reputation.

Many of these laws are based on the statistic that pit bulls and similar breeds are responsible for more fatal attacks than others. While this is true, these statistics are heavily skewed because they don’t take into account ownership, or the fact that they only include reported attacks. One look will show that the blacklisted breeds are the largest and most muscular of the dog breeds. Of course their attacks will be more fatal or violent and reported more often, but that doesn’t mean the breed itself is more violent.

It is also an unfortunate circumstance that, given the pit pull’s history, there are people in this world who actively seek out such dogs for the purpose of creating an image and intentionally making them aggressive. Again, this is because of a reputation and not because of fact. But these statistics do not take into consideration human ignorance or the horrible conditions that these breeds are often forced to endure against their will. Conditions they are being punished for when it simply is not their fault. Any breed, just as any human, can be made agressive under the right circumstances.

Wendy Jackson, founder of the East Tennessee Pit Bull Rescue (ETPBR) is working to prevent the legislation from passing. She made a statement saying, “Yes, this type of dog is a powerful dog and obviously if they were motivated to do harm they could. The issue should be controlling people who control the dogs.”

Please take a moment to sign the petition below and stop what would be an incredibly damaging bill. Thousands of pit bulls, Boxers, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and other blacklisted breeds are struggling every day to survive in shelters, often euthanized simply because of their reputation and human ignorance. Don’t let the discrimination continue.


Dear Representative Gilmore,

You recently proposed House Bill 621, which will require pit bull owners and other blacklisted breeds to carry liability insurance. The damage such a bill would cause is unimaginable. The idea that any breed, race, or species on earth is inherently violent, inherently anything for that matter, is entirely ignorant and without foundation.

It might be true that pit bulls cause more fatal attacks than other breeds, but this does not take into consideration their size or their ownership. Of course their attacks are more fatal. They are large muscular dogs. So are all of the other dogs that have been blacklisted. But that doesn’t mean that a large muscular dog is more prone to act violently than any other breed.

What should be done is to provide more thorough background checks on those who adopt. A good child is the product of good parenting and dogs are no different. The majority of pit bulls and other large breeds that are responsible for vicious attacks are the result of an owner who trained the dog that way. An entire group of dog breeds should not be punished for human ignorance. Thousands of pit bulls are euthanized in shelters every year because of a ridiculous and ignorant reputation.

Please do not allow this bill to pass and destroy the progress that has already been made in repairing the reputation of these breeds and saving their lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: maplegirlie via Flickr

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  1. Have owned three Pit Bulls, they have NEVER bit anyone! It is the “Dogs” in Congress that will bite you…

  2. Hey just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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