- Pets and Animals
Breed Specific Legislation: Unconstitutional or Not?
What is BSL?
Breed Specific Legislature, or BSL for short, are laws and ordinances which pertain to a specific breed or breeds of dogs. They are put in place by governments, usually local, to either prevent people from owning certain dogs in that area or make it more difficult for people to own those dogs.
The Center for Disease Control had decided that backing Breed Specific laws was not the solution to dog bites. They have stated that it is difficult to calculate statistics of specific dog breeds when it comes to bites because many go unreported and many people don't know exactly what type of dog bit them. To get an accurate count, DNA testing would need to be done on every dog involved in a bite incident. The CDC also indicated that regulating one particular breed would only shift people's focus onto another breed. The threats of vicious dogs biting wouldn't be lessened by the laws. In fact, its been studied and many researchers have deemed that breed specific laws don't actually accomplish anything other then spending government funds.
Unconstitutional Pet Laws
Breed Specific laws effect more then just the average pet owner. With the Americans with Disabilities Act people can legally have service dogs to assist them with daily life. These dogs are not pets, they are workers. Local breed laws are now intruding on ADA laws. The ADA specifies that any breed of dog can be a service dog, the dog a person chooses is based on their personal needs. If properly trained any dog can be a great service animal. However, laws banning breeds don't care if the animal is a service dog, they will still attempt to remove the dog and have it euthanized because of its breed. This is unconstitutional. These laws discriminate against people with disabilities by regulating what types or breeds of dogs a person is allowed to use.
Denver, Colorado is great example of unconstitutional laws being used. The city put in place a ban on American Pit Bull Terriers with no stipulation on service animals. Residents in Colorado were forced to hide their pets because if the pet enforcement team was to find the pit bulls they would remove them from the residence and have proceed to have the dog euthanized without concern for the person/owner. This is a clear violation of ADA laws which are federal laws, that means local laws and ordinances can not be made to go against those laws.