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Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

Legislation which is breed discriminatory is unreasonable, unenforceable, and ineffective. Far more effective and fair is dangerous dog legislation which identifies individual dogs as dangerous based upon their actions, and penalizes irresponsible dog owners.

Studies and statistics indicate that no specific breed is significantly more inclined than another to be dangerous or vicious. No dog breed is inherently vicious, rather, a dangerous dog is created by the actions of irresponsible or abusive dog owners. At times, certain breeds are more popular with this type of owner than other breeds due to the perception that a certain breed is "macho." But as the popularity of one breed wanes, or ownership of that breed becomes more heavily legislated, a different breed will just take its place.

One major factor which makes breed specific legislation unenforceable and a drain (both financially and logistically) on law enforcement resources is the difficulty in accurately identifying which dogs in a community are affected by the legislation. If the legislation is vague (such as laws prohibiting "pit dogs"), what identification criteria are to be used? There is no breed standard for something which is not even an actual breed. If the legislation is specific (such as laws pertaining to American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or Rottweilers), who is identifying the dog as being of that breed? Most law enforcement professionals are unlikely to be familiar with the specifics of the very detailed breed standards for a number of different breeds. Also, many of the dogs in a community are likely to be mixed-breed or of unknown origin. Even an experienced expert on dog breeds would frequently be hard-pressed to identify which breeds were the primary ancestors of such a dog. If law enforcement professionals, and sometimes canine experts, might have difficulty accurately identifying whether a particular dog is affected by breed specific legislation - how is the everyday pet owner of a mixed breed dog supposed to know whether or not the law pertains to them?

We at PawVillage agree with the position of many well-respected canine organizations: To be effective, dangerous dog legislation must define a dog as dangerous based upon its actions not its breed, and must impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible dog owners. The AKC (American Kennel Club) has publicly stated, in their dangerous dog legislation position statement, their opposition to breed specific legislation.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) Resources

Sample Letters
Want to help fight BSL in your area? Check out the following sample letters to legislators.
Sample Letters at the Rott-N-Chatter web site

Online Resources
Rott-N-Chatter - Breed Specific Legislation section of the Rott-N-Chatter web site

 


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