BSL or Breed Specific Legislation is a threat to ALL dogs, not just Pit Bulls or other “dangerous breeds”. Basically, BSL looks at the breed of a certain dog instead of the behavior of one specific animal. An analogy for BSL in humans would be racial profiling, due to the fact that it does not look at the characteristics of the individual, instead generalizing them to be true for an entire breed or race. Think BSL doesn’t affect you because you only own labradors or golden retrievers? Wrong. If the knee-jerk reaction of BSL catches on in the way that many supporters of BSL hope it will, people will then see that once all of the Pit Bulls are gone, issues related to dog bites will still exist. The proponents of BSL will then move onto the next breed, and so on, until BSL does affect you.
What can you do as a dog owner?
Speak out against BSL, and let people know why breed specific bans are not a reasonable solution to the greater problem of poor dog owners. First, BSL laws are difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. There are over twelve different breeds of dog that are commonly mistaken for ‘Pit Bulls’. Second, banning a particular breed of dog will only serve to make that breed more enticing to people who choose to use their dogs for harm rather than good. People with no regard for the law will not be impacted as a result of BSL legislation, so it doesn’t affect the irresponsible owners that it should. Third, BSL laws (even proposed ones) cause caring, intelligent owners to shy away from dogs that are considered dangerous. With less capable owners interested in owning these types of dogs, it practically ensures that these dogs will fall into the wrong hands.
What are some alternatives to BSL?
1) Active enforcement of current dangerous dog laws and tougher penalties for offenders. We need to focus on responsible ownership by letting neglectful owners know that their actions will not be tolerated.
2) Better education for dog owners in the areas of canine safety and animal behavior. The more owners know about the ways their animals behave, the easier it will be for them to avoid any potential issues.
First they came for the Pit Bulls,
and they banned them and killed them.
Their owners cried out in horror but I did not object,
because I did not own pit bulls.
Then they came for the Rottweilers,
and they banned them and muzzled them.
Their owners cried out in protest but I did not object,
because I did not own Rottweilers.
Today they have come for my dogs,
and they will ban them and take them from me.
As I cry out in outrage and anger no one objects, because they do not own my dogs.