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Breed Specific Legislation: More Harm than Good

Is BSL effective, or a waste of money that tarnishes the names of select dog breeds.
by

Rebecca Hersman

on 8 March 2012

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Transcript of Breed Specific Legislation: More Harm than Good

Breed Specific Legislation: More Harm than Good. What is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) defines breed specific legislation as a, “term for laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds completely in the hopes of reducing dog attacks.” BSL allows the government to regulate entire breeds of dogs they believe to be vicious and because dog bite repots are highly inaccurate, popular opinion is often what they base their bans off of. 1970's A study conducted by the American Veterinary Taskforce on Canine Aggression and Humane-Canine Interactions lead analysts to believe that the frequency of dog bites if directly correlated to the popularity of the breed. However... 1980's 1990's Doberman Pinscher's increased in popularity, so did their attacks. Pit Bull's popularity increased, so did the number of attacks by pits. Rottweilers became more popular, and their attacks be came more frequent. With nearly 4.7million dog bites reported each year, (dogtime.com), some dogs should have an eye kept on them. However, these bites result from a multitude of breeds from Rottweiler to Chiwawa, and breed specific legislation is only targeting the larger more intimidating breeds. dogs like Pomeranians and Golden Retrievers are also responsible for human fatalities. The legislation is vague in it’s meaning. It outlines that certain breeds may be disallowed but it also has a gray area with regards to mutts containing features similar to a specific breed. So any dog could fall under a BSL ban, even if it is not a pure bred, which creates a lot of room for discrepancy considering that of the 73 million domestic dogs in the U.S. 31million are considered mutts BSL also compromises the health of a dog. People who are not willing to part with their pet are going to find ways to keep the animals under the radar. That means they cannot walk the dog in public, vaccinate it, or register it. It is punishing good dogs and owners. People who train their dogs properly are still going to be affected by the legislation, even if their dog would not hurt a fly. Breed Specific legislation can also lull a community into a false sense of security. BSL does not only disallow the breeds of dogs as pets, but as service dogs in the community as well. German Shepherds are the most common breed of dog used by the police for search and rescue, and drug detection. BSL takes Shepherds out of the mix and forces law enforcement to use less effective dogs. The American Humane Association (AHA) sites a county in Maryland that spends about $560,000 to enforce their BSL. That number does not include payroll, cross agency costs, and utilities. Money coming into the government from the fees the bans enforced only added up to about $35,000. (AHA) The ASPCA sites another county in Maryland saying that it spends upward of $250,000 to enforce a ban on Pit Bulls. But a 2003 study of the county noted that, “public safety is not improved as a result of (the ban),” and, “there is no transgression committed by owner or animal that is not covered by another, non-breed specific portion of the animal control code.” A recent radio add for the fast food chain, McDonalds, played off of the typecast that todays society has put on Pit Bulls. The add was quoted as saying, “Trying a brand new item at McDonalds isn’t scary. You know what’s scary? Petting a stray Pit Bull…” A whole campaign designed around a misconception about a dog that was made to be aggressive by humans. Needless to say this add outraged dog lovers across the Midwest, who grouped together and fought to take the advertisement down and send their own message to the McDonalds Corporation. A message that maybe the folks who write breed specific legislation should take into consideration. Just because a large portion of people believe something does not make it true. Until members of modern society can learn to think for themselves, and form their own opinions based on facts and not popular opinion issues like this are inevitable. BUT, there are other methods and policies that can be implemented to give citizens peace of mind with out slandering certain breeds and tearing apart families. There are already laws in place in cities like Columbus, Ohio that follow individual dogs known for bad behavior and place them into one of three categories depending of the severity of the problem and require the owners of said dogs to pay fines or face criminal charges. A dog can either be labeled vicious, dangerous, or simply a nuisance, and each categories comes with it’s own regulations. (Catherine Candisky.) These non-breed specific laws keep an eye on the problem of dog attacks without singling out a specific breed. The ASPCA also suggests different precautions lawmakers can take to reduce dog bites and dog aggression in general. Neuter your dogs. This lowers the level of testosterone, which in turn lowers the level of agrssion
Crack down on dog fighting, people are making the dogs follow through with agressive behavior and rewarding them for it. We cut this down and we cut down the number of dog attacks.
Make punishment for irresponsible owners more harsh.
This allows responsible owners to keep their pets and keeps certain dog breeds from getting a bad reputation. In short breed specific legislation is a great waste of money that tarnishes the names of particular breeds of dogs. The community needs to work to educate people and implement laws that do not single any specific type of dog out, but instead hold the owners liable for their actions. In doing this people will not have to part with their pets and innocent dogs will not be euthanized. my dog <3 Sources "America's Bark Off to McDonalds | Pit Bulls Against McDonalds." Motley News. Motleynews.com, 2 Feb. 2012. Web. Winter 2012. <http://motleynews.net/2012/02/05/americas-bark-off-to-mcdonalds-pit-bulls-against-mcdonalds/>. "Breed Specific Legislation." ASPCA. ASPCA. Web. Winter 2012. <http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/dog-fighting/breed-specific-legislation.aspx>. "Breed-Specific Legislation." American Humane Association. The American Humane Association, 2011. Web. Winter 2012. <http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/stop-animal-abuse/fact-sheets/breed-specific-legislation.html>.Candisky, Catherine. “Passage by legislature- Ohio won’t label pit bulls as ‘vicious’ but city still can”. Columbus Dispatch. (Columbus, Ohio) 2-9-2012. Ohio Link. Web. 2-17-12.This is an article from the Columbus Dispatch talking about how Ohio is handling the Breed Specific Legislation. It explains the vicious dog list and the distribution of powers. It shows who enforces the bans within the state of Ohio. It is a reputable source because it was published in a city newspaper. The article was also published within the same month that I am writhing my paper so the information is very current and applies very well to my paper."Punish the Deed, Not the Breed!" Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). 2005. Web. Winter 2012. <http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/Locations/ohio.htm>.
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