What States Have Banned Pit Bulls?

Steph Skardal/CC-BY 2.0

No states have enacted breed-specific laws, or BSLs, banning pit bulls. However, there are over 700 U.S. cities in 40 states that have enacted these bans. Additionally, appellate courts in 12 states have upheld the constitutionality of breed-specific pit bull laws, including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

Both large urban centers and smaller, more rural communities, cities and municipalities across the United States have enacted pit bull bans. These cities include Denver, Colo., Miami, Fla., Cincinnati, Ohio, Yakima, Wash., Kansas City, Kan., Independence, Miss., Council Bluffs, Iowa and Jacksonville, Fla. In some places, entire counties have enacted bans, including Prince George’s County, Md., and Bracken County, Ky., San Francisco enacted a pit bull sterilization law in 2006, and several other California municipalities have enacted a similar spay-and-neuter law.

While breed-specific laws were invented to regulate pit bulls, several U.S. cities have expanded these laws to incorporate other fighting breeds, including dogo argentino, tosa, Brazilian mastiff, cane corso, presa canario, and presa mallorquin breeds. Pit bulls, however, continue to be the focal point of BSL laws because they are the most common and are widely believed to have a negative impact on communities.