Federal Issues

Even though dog bite law is generally derived from common law (the decisions made by courts going back centuries), state statutes, and ordinances of cities and counties, there are issues that are governed by federal laws (including military regulations) or which require the enactment of federal laws.

Relocating vicious dogs to neighboring jurisdictions

While it might be difficult to understand as well as to justify, judges and animal control officers have issued orders to relocate vicious dogs to other cities and states. Without a doubt, relocating vicious dogs to neighboring jurisdictions is one of the foulest actions permitted by current laws. This is a federal issue because these vicious dogs are known to leave one state and turn up in another. There is no justification for this practice. 

Rescuers buying puppy mill dogs for resale

There are so-called “rescuers” who purchase puppy mill dogs for resale. In some cases, they buy a puppy mill dog for $20 and then go on social media, begging for hundreds of dollars to “save” the dog. This is obvious fraud; furthermore, it supports puppy mills, helping to keep them in operation. This is a federal issue because of the use of social media and the fact that the sales happen across state lines. 

For more information, read Phyllis M. Daugherty, “Rescuers” Buying Puppy Mill Dogs for Resale … Federal Investigation Urged, City Watch, April 16, 2018; Kim Kavin, Dog Rescuers, Flush with Donations, Buy Animals from the Breeders They Scorn, April 18, 2018, Washington Post; Merritt Clifton, New Best Friends & HSUS execs flunk economic logic that dogs understand, Animals 24/7, April 26, 2018. 

The burden that the “one bite law” puts on Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance

In one-third of the states, the one bite law allows homeowners and renters insurance companies to deny claims by dog bite victims. (Refer to The One Bite Rule for the specific states and more information.)

In fact, these insurance companies pay, on average, only 16,000 dog bite victims per year, out of the 750,000 dog bite victims who see a doctor. (Watch Attorney Kenneth Phillips’ video about this, Guess Who’s Paying for Bad Dogs.)

Medicare and Medicaid have to pay for medical treatment for approximately 45% of the remaining dog bite victims. Health insurance also pays for approximately another 45%. This is a federal issue because Medicare and Medicaid, and health insurance in general, face skyrocketing costs and claims that are hurting all Americans in every state, so all reasonable measures should be taken to reduce the burden on them. (Watch Mr. Phillips’ other video on this subject, Let’s Stop Paying for Bad Dogs.)

Fake service animals and emotional support animals

Disabled people should be entitled to the presence of their assistance dogs, and the line should be drawn right there. In recent years, however, folks who have no disability whatsoever have benefited from poorly written state and federal laws which unintentionally require airlines, restaurants, movie theaters, hospitals and other places to permit the entry of fake service animals and so-called “emotional support animals.” Pigs, miniature horses, snakes and iguanas have been brought onto planes, into restaurants and even hospitals, as emotional support animals or fake service animals. In a few instances, they have killed people.

The fact is that EVERY pet is there for its owner’s “emotional support” no matter how wild, smelly or dangerous it is to others. The federal government recognizes the problem but has done little to solve it. The time has come to recognize this as a problem of national proportions. When it comes to pets, the Americans With Disabilities Act needs to be clarified and corresponding state laws must be scaled back. 

The laws that open the door to these abuses must make it clear that there is no emotional support animal but simply people who have a properly diagnosed mental condition and are under treatment for it, and that the treatment includes the presence of a specific animal; furthermore, that the specific animal has to be a well behaved dog or cat, and that it cannot be placed next to any person who protests.