Breed Specific Legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to a combination of misinformation, media hype and a relatively few irresponsible owners. While proponents of BSL claim that it will reduce dog bite incidents, long-term studies show that BSL is not effective.
While the majority of BSL laws are targeted to "Pit Bulls" or any dog that "appears to be similar" to a Pit Bull (a general categorization of several distinct breeds), BSL can target any breed. When a dog is targeted by BSL, the dog and the owners are typically subjected to a range of legal requirements - up to, and including, the summary impounding of the dog and execution. An example of a city with such a law is Denver, Colorado; thousands of dogs have been taken - many from their family homes - and killed. Not because the dog behaved inappropriately or dangerously, but simply because someone felt the dog looks like it might be at least part Pit Bull.
Many Americans recently rallied in support of Lennox, a family dog living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The events surrounding the handling of Lennox is every dog owner's worst nightmare - to have a licensed, well-trained, well-behaved dog summarily ripped away from his home, put into a stressful animal control kennel and then executed, simply because of his looks. This horrible scenario plays out in dozens of cities across the United States today.
While some cities target only dogs that are living within their munipalities, many target even dogs that are passing through, accompanying a traveler with their dog. Travelers who may have no knowledge that by passing through a particular town, their dog could be seized and killed.
Denver is one such city; even if the dog is a certified service dog, if an air traveler has a long layover in Denver, if their dog "looks like" a pit bull, the traveler can't leave the Denver airport without putting their highly trained service dog at risk of summary execution.
We point this out to you because BSL affects not just where people live, but where people can travel without fear.
BSL affects all dog owners, not just owners of Pit Bulls. Fairfield, Iowa also targets German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Great Danes, Irish Wolf Hounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Mastiffs, Boerbels and any dog weighing over 100 pounds, such as Saint Bernards, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Great Pyrenees.
We support laws that encourage responsible dog ownership of ALL dogs, regardless of breed. For example: permanent identification (tattoo and/or microchip); licensing; and leash laws for non-working dogs in public unless in a designated off-leash area. We support laws that provide for dogs to have the right to defend themselves within their home, to defend their owner/family or to react when intentionally provoked; and we support laws that concretely define "dangerous dogs" by the individual behavior of the dog, rather than by the appearance of the dog.
Make BSL illegal in the United States. Do not allow cities to retain BSL under any "grandfathering" clauses.
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