Pit Bulls and the BSL

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The Pit Bull is a Victim of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

Why breed-specific legislation is not the solution

Picture this: You were just informed you weren’t allowed to live in a certain place because you looked a certain way that other folks didn’t like.

Or maybe you just look like someone who did something bad, but you really didn’t. Picture an individual that has never met you, yet believes you’re an enemy and a threat to society. They won’t allow you live in their neighborhood or walk in their parks or on their streets. Is that appropriate?

It’s not appropriate, but it takes place to dogs in our nation and worldwide. Breed-specific regulation (or BSL) targets particular types of pets that are believed to be threatening and then prohibits the ownership of these dogs. This sort of legislation can even mandate that rescued or stray canines matching a specific “appearance” be euthanized instead of being adopted out, no matter their actual background or temperament.

A number of communities throughout the United States and Canada have taken BSL actions, varying from restrictions and demands on dog owners, to straight-out bans on possessing any “pit bull-type” dog.

BSL usually focuses on dogs with a certain look or body feature rather than an actual breed. “Pit Bulls”, in general, are one of the most constant victims of BSL along with Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds. Boxers, and other “guarding” type breeds. Specific BSL can be hard to draft, because a dog’s assumed breed can’t be accurately determined, especially if it is a mixed breed offering the physical appearance of a “suspect” breed.

A recent research study showed that even people extremely familiar with canine breeds could not accurately establish the main breed of particular dogs that were improperly classified as a Pit Bull. By generalizing the “suspect” canines, innocent pets may be euthanized without any evidence that they pose a danger.

Responsible dog owners can be forced to hand over their pets based on local BSL and incorrect descriptions. Cities and states invest money enforcing these restrictions and/or bans rather than using the money to developing viable BSL’s and viable, enforceable licensing, and then respond pro-actively by targeting owners of dogs that present an actual risk to the community based on the actual history and actions of the particular dog.

Any dog can attack regardless of its breed, and more people are actually attacked by dogs they recognize. It’s not the dog’s breed that identifies risk — it’s the dog’s behavior, number of pets involved and the vulnerability of the person attacked that dictates whether or not a dog, or dogs, will cause a bite injury.

Breed Specific Legislation comes in many forms that can threaten responsible dog owners. Read the American Kennel Club’s Position Statement Regarding “Dangerous Dogs” and their BSL Considerations

A dog’s individual record and actions are considerably more essential than its breed and, considering that people don’t always know a pet’s record or behavior, it’s not good to make general presumptions. As an alternative, concentrate on deterrence: enlighten yourself, teach youngsters appropriate dog interaction, and develop safe habits when around dogs. Also learn how to recognize unsafe, escalating scenarios with unknown or threatening dogs.

Please remember it is not the breed, it is the owner. Responsible owners have well behaved dogs, regardless of the breed.

If you would like more information on BSL click here!
Animal Planet also has a very good article. Is your bully breed banned?
Also visit Education Not Euthanization Locally, nationally and internationally, Education Not Euthanization is a vocal advocate for the bully breeds, and all dog owners. Our voices count and together we can make a difference

This article was written exclusively for PGAA.com, by Suzanne Dean, ABCDT