We’ve heard a lot of this and that about pitbulls and hearsay about Puerto Rican laws regards owning pitbulls, since one of our dogs is sometimes mistaken for a pitbull. So, here are the facts:
In 1998, a bill (HB585) was signed by the Governor of Puerto Rico, which bans introduction, importation, possession, acquisition, breeding, sale, and transfer of Pitbull Terriers or hybrids resulting from a breed of these dogs or with dogs from other races, are all prohibited. The banned race of canine is defined as “a race of bull terriers that include the Stafforshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and combinations of these and other terrier races.”
The bill also states the following:
“Any person, as of the date of enactment of this Act, who owns any of the canines mentioned, shall register said dog or dogs in a registry intended for those purposes, at the Agriculture Department. The registration will take place within the eight (8) months following the approval of this law. After that grace period has expired, the opportunity to register them will cease and the Registry will be closed. The registration application must contain the name, address, and telephone numbers of the owner, the location where the animal will be kept, and all the information needed to identify the dog. Said application must be accompanied by a registration fee of twenty-five (25.00) dollars. Every dog so registered will be assigned a registration number which will be engraved on a small metal plate to be affixed to said dog’s collar. The owner of the dog will receive, in addition to the duly engraved plaque with the registration number, a certificate of registration as evidence of the dog having been duly registered with the Department of Agriculture. In the case of a female, she is to be sterilized, tattooed with an indelible mark indicating this surgical procedure has been performed, and the corroborative document signed by a veterinarian will be required by the department of agriculture prior to her registration. Any dog that fails to carry a plaque indicating its registration number and whose owner fails to produce the registration certificate after the eight (9) month grace period shall be immediately confiscated by the pertinent authorities.”
So this is the just of it: Pitbulls were officially banned from Puerto Rico, when the bill was passed in 1998. There was a 8-month window where they allowed you to register your Pitbull with the Department of Agriculture. You can no longer register a Pitbull or bull terriers and they are illegal to possess if they are not already registered. If you are caught with an unregistered Pitbull or bull terrier, the dog will be confiscated and you will be charged with a misdemeanor.