“Breed-specific” legislation is yet another type of legislation that sounds good but actually does nothing. Unfortunately, these laws are generally based on either the most recent big-dog attack, or dog breeds that “look scary”.
BSL is obviously unjust, coming down harder on dogs than it does on poor owners. Not just that, but it’s also completely ineffective. Completely, utterly, and entirely ineffective. There’s plenty of evidence that proves exactly how ineffective it is.
Due to this fact, a number of cities, states, and even countries have been repealing their BSL laws. Unfortunately, Aurora is not one of those cities. Here in Aurora, we still have significant breed bans against a variety of bully type breeds.
The worst part is that many states consider dogs to be property, instead of members of the family. This is why these laws hurt even more. Not only do they break up families, but they treat dogs like objects.
If you’re unfamiliar with BSL, or you’re familiar with it but don’t know what you can do, here are some facts that can help you.
1. BSL Kills
Pit bulls have almost no chance when they’re put into public shelters. Some BSL laws demand they be euthanized immediately. Others euthanize simply because they know that no one will adopt the poor dog due to the restrictive law. Some shelters are able to put the dogs up for adoption but only adopt them out to areas in which there is no breed restriction. However, not all shelters and areas are so lucky.
2. No Evidence Exists That Banning Breeds Lowers The Number Of Dog Bites
“If it saves even one life, it’s worth it” some people will claim. Well, there simply isn’t a single shred of evidence that it saves even one life, so this argument falls flat.
3. While Pit Bulls Are Most Affected, Other Breeds Are Also Banned
The American Kennel Association gives only lip service to the temperament of purebred dogs, which is why there’s a stigma around certain breeds. However, pit bulls tend to score quite well on temperament tests.
As if that wasn’t enough, “pit bull” isn’t even a dog breed. Rather, the term is an umbrella term used to describe a certain type of terrier.
Because of this, dogs that have a similar appearance to “pit bulls” tend to get caught up in BSL laws. These can include dogs such as bulldogs, mastiffs, Doberman pinschers, the list goes on.
4. BSL Can Tear Apart Families
Since breed bans rarely grandfather in people who already own the banned breeds, the city can legally take your dog away from you. Because of the way the laws push good dogs out of good homes, mnay of these dogs end up euthanized.
5. Science Proves Breed Isn’t A Factor In Dog Bites
While no one is denying a large breed dog can produce a great deal of jaw strength, the National Canine Research Council has done research proving breed simply isn’t a factor in dog bite related fatalities. Rather, the factors include:
No one present to intervene (87.1% of fatalities are caused this way)
The dog being unfamiliar with the victim (85.2% of dog bites occur due to this factor)
Poor training by previous owner (37.5% of dog bites occur for this reason)
Neglect or abuse of dog by former owner (21.1% of bites are caused this way)
And of course, 80.5% of cases included more than one of these factors.
6. “Pit Bull” Is Subjective
As mentioned, “pit bull” isn’t actually a breed of dog. Since it refers to one of numerous dog breeds that share a similar appearance, shelter and city workers will often declare a dog to be a pit bull even if it’s not one of the breeds commonly associated with the term. As if that wasn’t enough, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association stated in a 2013 paper that in more than 80% of all dog bite cases, the breed of the dogs couldn’t be readily identified.
7. Most Major Organizations Oppose BSL
Pick an organization that you trust. The ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S., the CDC, the American Animal Hospital Association, they’re all against BSL.
8. Even The Public Opposes BSL
The Best Friends Animal Society commissioned a poll to gauge public opinion on BSL. 84% of those surveyed said the government shouldn’t keep a person from owning any dog breed they wish.
9. BSL Wastes Money
The enforcement of any law requires funding, and this is no different for BSL laws. However, it’s even worse in the case of BSL, since there are literally no benefits to enacting the policy. In the city of Miami, it’s estimated that $603,445 is spent annually enforcing BSL. And yet, there’s not a single reduction in dog bites that can be connected to these laws.
What do you think Aurora taxpayers are forking out?
On the plus side, multiple organizations are working to get these laws repealed.
Here’s how you can help.
There are plenty of groups working on anti-BSL and pit bull advocacy. You could join one of them. A few suggestions are Stop BSL, Love-A-Bull, and Hershey Anti-BSL Group. Search for these groups on Facebook.
If you live in Aurora, where BSL laws are on the books, contact your representative. Voice a strong opinion against BSL to them. In addition, make certain to spay/neuter your dogs. The ASPCA has found more than 70% of all dog bites involve male dogs that are still territorial due to being unneutered.
Make sure to educate those you speak with. These laws sound so barbaric that many dog-lovers can’t imagine they exist. Tell them, and make sure they know.