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Arizona bill would stop landlords from discriminating against certain dog breeds

An American Staffordshire terrier dog
Chad Snow/KJZZ
An American Staffordshire terrier, which is often classified under the pit bull breed.

Arizona lawmakers advanced a bill on Monday that would stop landlords from discriminating against certain breeds of dog, like pit bulls.

For landlords who allow dogs on their properties, Senate Bill 1439 requires them to allow tenantsto have any type of breed. 

Sen. Brian Fernandez (D-Yuma), the bill’s sponsor, said the idea was brought to him by his assistant. There are several Democratic co-sponsors on the bill, plus one Republican.

“We recently had a client of ours who’s a veteran, she actually now works with an organization that helps other veterans with housing-related issues,” said Arizona Pet Project CEO Leanna Taylor. “When we met her she was living in her car. She had been there for six months with her two pit bulls because she could not find housing that would accept her and her dogs.”

Several animal welfare groups support the bill, but the Arizona Multihousing Association opposes it.

The bill passed its first hearing, 5-2. Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) said he’s concerned that if the bill becomes law, landlords will stop allowing dogs altogether..

“Not sure this leads to the outcome the sponsor would hope,” Mesnard said.

Sen. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) also voted no but did not respond to a request for comment.

Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.