Breed Specific Legislation Doesn’t Target the Real Problem
Pit bulls are being targeted and labeled as dangerous, unpredictable, and vicious. These stereotypes lead people to fear these dogs, viewing them as a menace to be dealt with. The media has painted a portrait of the big bad pit bull, striking fear into the public who demand something to be done. Many breed specific legislations have been implemented in an effort to control the “pit bull” problem. BSL should not be in acted because it is an ineffective solution that does not target the real problem, irresponsible dog ownership and criminal acts, instead it punishes responsible owners.
Breed specific legislation refers to laws, policies, restrictions and regulations that pertain to certain dog breeds. These laws place restrictions on the breeding and ownership of dogs that have been deemed dangerous. These laws are executed in hopes of reducing dog attacks and bites. BSL places numerous limitations and policies on certain breeds and their owners. The goal is to improve public safety by targeting breeds that are inherently dangerous by nature and those that appeal to individuals involved in criminal activities.
Many supporters of BSL depend upon dog bite statistics. However, dog bite statistics are unreliable. They only take into account bites that have been reported. This does not consider the number of dogs of a specific breed that have not bitten, nor does it compare that number to the amount that has bitten. They also do not compare the percentage of bites from one breed to the next such as the number of pit bulls that bite compared to the number of Golden Retrieves. Also these statistics do not list the cause of the bite. Many bites are provoked as dogs generally do not bite without warning.
Most breed specific legislations target pit bulls; but what exactly is a pit bull? This is an umbrella term used to vaguely classify dogs with certain characteristics. A dog of medium size with a wide head, broad chest, short coat, strong solid build, thick nose and powerful jaws is considered a pit bull. Many breeds fall into this description such as Labrador retrievers, Boxers, American Bulldogs, Presa Canarios, Bull Mastitis, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Tosa Inus, Dogo Argentians and so on. Even some smaller breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers, Patterdale Terriers, and Boston Terriers are confused with pit bulls. Proper identification is impossible without the dog’s registration papers and pedigree. Many dogs are mutts and their breed and lineage is impossible to determine. Any dog that appears to be a pit bull or to be mixed with a pit bull will be targeted.
BSL is taking the nation by storm; however it has been ineffective in solving the problems of dog bites and attacks. Dog bites and attacks are caused by irresponsibility on part of the owner, not by specific breeds. A dog’s breed does not make it dangerous, training, or lack thereof, lack of knowledge, neglect, and pure abuse make a dog a threat. Individuals who desire the creation of such dogs typically are involved in criminal acts such as drugs and dog fighting. Once a breed, such as pit bulls, has been banned and eradicated from an area those wishing to own and produce vicious dogs will just move to another breed. Thus, the cycle begins again.
Pit bulls and other powerful breeds have been labeled as being inherently aggressive and dangerous. This is false; no dog breed is inherently more vicious than another. Any dog of any breed and size can be aggressive and dangerous. Even small breeds have caused serious injury and in some cases death to children. According to the American temperament test society the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Terrier have a passing rate of eighty-six to eighty-three percent whereas the general dog population only passes with seventy-seven percent. This means pit bulls are statistically safer than retrievers and spaniels. These tests put the dogs through various unexpected situations to gauge their reactions. These tests often include the use of strangers, and any sign of unprovoked aggression is an automatic failure for the test.
BSL does nothing to stop those who irresponsibly own a dog. These individuals will not obey the restrictions, ordinances and bans; instead they will keep the dogs in secret or simply choose another breed. What these legislations do is punish those who responsibly own these dogs. Those who wish to keep their pets will be forced to comply with laws such as erecting high fences on their property, buying expensive insurance policies, muzzling their dogs in public, and restricting the dog to their property at all times. However many legislations end in complete bans of pit bulls. The owner must then either relocate their dog to a place where BSL hasn’t be implemented, relinquish their pets, or have them sized and put to death. These are animals that have done nothing wrong, these are dogs that have shown no aggression and yet they must pay with their blood. Owners who have responsibly trained their dogs, who keep them as household pets have their families ripped apart.
In order for dog bites and attacks to be successfully reduced irresponsible ownership must be targeted and criminal acts punished. Breed specific legislation does nothing to target reckless ownership; instead it punishes those who correctly own their dogs. BSL is highly prejudiced in nature, punishing dogs for merely existing. BSL is not the answer, it simply is ineffective.
- Why BSL Doesnt Work | Victoria Stilwell Positively
- Stop BSL | Your Community. Safe. Smart. Humane.
- Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) Love-A-Bull, Inc. | Austin, TX
Love-A-Bull was organized to educate and to advocate on behalf of the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier (all breeds commonly referred to as 'Pit Bulls') and Pit Bull mixes. Whil