Time to End the Myth of Breed Specific Legislation

Time to End the Myth of Breed Specific Legislation

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Nanci Cosentino started this petition to City Manager Michael Schrage and

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) first appeared on the scene in the 1980s. BSL is a statute, ordinance or regulation, which outlaws or severely restricts certain breeds of dogs based on their physical appearance rather than any action or event on the part of the animal. This practice needs to be banned throughout the United States and it starts right here with your community.  The following is an explanation of what BSL is and why it doesn't better the community or protect it from biting or aggressive dogs of any breed.

What is BSL – Breed Specific Legislation – any law that tries to ban or place harsh restrictions on owners of certain dog breeds whether or not a particular dog is a problem to a community. Most commonly BSL is aimed at the so-called Bully Breeds like American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, American Bulldogs, Dobermans and Cane Corsos.

It is a fact that ANY breed is capable of biting, not just the so-called Bully Breeds, and any breed of dog can be a great family pet.  Any dog can bite out of fear, pain or if aggressively trained to do so. The problem is not with the breed of the dog but  the other end of the leash – irresponsible owners.  Biting dogs will exist as long as owners fail to provide socialization, training and/or fail to provide proper containment. Then there are those who believe training a dog to be aggressive or intimidating is a good thing.

There is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals. Following a thorough study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to strongly oppose BSL. The American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, American Bar Association and a host of other national organizations also oppose BSL, recognizing the inequities and inherent fallacies of such laws.

Statistics have shown there is no correlation between breeds and dog bite incidents. The CDC estimates there are over 4.7 million dog bites per year and 81% of those bites cause no injuries or only minor injuries.  A 15-year study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association identified factors in fatal dog-bite attacks and showed that none have anything to do with a specific breed of dog.  Over 30 breeds and dog types were associated with dog bite-related fatalities and many of the incidents were due to owner failures.

Contrary to the promise that BSL will increase community safety and decrease incidents of dog bits, studies have shown that wherever BSL has been initiated, the number of dog bites has actually increased.  

There are numerous ways to keep communities safer.  None involve BSL. The best methods involve enforcement of existing leash laws, dangerous dog ordinances, and mandatory rabies vaccinations.  Owners also must be more proactive in providing proper containment, training and medical care for their animals.

BSL does not prevent dog bites. It only serves to penalizes responsible owners and dogs who have never had any history of biting or aggression, but have been happy, safe and beloved family members. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!