What are the alternatives to breed specific legislation?

Every dog owner should know that his dear pet might pose a threat to the community if not treated properly. But, it’s not about the breed of the dog, but about the behavior – both the dogs’ and the owners’ behavior. Dog-bite-related cases have been the subject of many studies which say that most of the involved factors are under the control of the person who owns the dog (source: Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States). That being said, it’s crucial to understand that laws should not target dog breeds, but owners and their behavior. There are some alternatives to breed specific legislation in some US countries which we’re bringing up here.

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Most popular alternatives to breed specific legislation in the US

Breed bans and breed specific legislation are something that causes a great number of loving and responsible pet owners to give up their pets. The worst thing is – it usually doesn’t make any difference nor makes the community safer in any way. Some countries are dealing with the problem with laws that focus on owners’ behavior instead of the dog breeds.

Illinois: Animal Control Act

Illinois Animal Control Act is one of the alternatives to breed specific legislation. In Illinois, all dog owners are a subject to heightened responsibility for their pets. According to that, the owners are liable for their pet’s bite, no matter if it’s the first or consecutive bite. Illinois also has some other Ordinances which support this Act, like Highland Park’s “Dangerous/Vicious Dogs and Problem Pet Owner Ordinance” or Skokie’s “Dangerous/Vicious Animals and Problem Pet Owner Ordinances”

Indiana: Responsible Dog Owner Ordinance

South Bend’s Responsible Dog Owner Ordinance no longer targets out pit bull-type dogs or any single breed as “dangerous”. Instead, the dog is labeled as “dangerous” according to his past behavior. Also, this Ordinance again lets Indiana pet owners have as many pets as they want, as long as all of them are spayed and neutered.

These are just some examples which show how targeting owners’ and their behavior can have a bigger effect on reduction of the number of dog-bite-related cases than breed bans and BSL. If you’d like to see more about how the BSL affects the lives of dogs labeled as Pit Bull or any other breed labeled as “dangerous”, click here.

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