Breed Specific Legislation
INTRODUCTION Capture Attention Last week this man attacked and wounded another man at Mt. Scott Park, here in Portland, OR. Because of his actions I need all of the students with facial hair, dark shirts, tattoos and long hair to stand up. Effective immediately, all of you will be detained by local authorities because you have been deemed a threat to the safety of our community and the citizens who reside here. Significance/Relevance Breed Specific Legislation is not a new way to manage aggressive dogs.
These changes in laws tend to happen after a highly publicized dog attack takes place. This type of legislation punishes the breed, not the deed. Credibility As a dog owner who spends everyday of his life with a breed of dog often found on breed ban lists, researching BSL is as much a part of my life as my dog, Lucky. Thesis Breed Specific Legislation aims to keep citizens safe by punishing innocent and guilty dogs alike. Preview Today, I’m going to share some information on what Breed Specific Legislation is, how it affects dogs and dog owners. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated” – Gandhi BODY I. What is Breed Specific Legislation? A. Breed-specific legislation is the banning or restriction of the ownership of a dog solely based on the dog’s breed regardless of the dog’s personal history or temperament. i. BSL has been around for years, but according to www. dogsbite. org “in the last decade over 650 U. S. cities have enacted BSL as a preventative measure to reduce dog attacks and bites to protect citizens. B. Breed-specific legislation is based on the premise that certain breeds are inherently dangerous and that public safety can be accomplished by banning or restricting only those dogs. C. Currently, BSL focuses not on a specific breed, but rather a type of dog. That type, as most of you know, is referred to as the “pit-bull”. The term pit bull generally refers to a Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier, or any dog that is a cross or mix of the aforementioned breeds.
A pit bull may also mean any dog that has the appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to the above listed breeds. Therefore, pit bull is a type of dog not a breed. Breed Specific Legislation exists, this is a fact. Facts create norms, but truth creates illumination. II. How it affects dogs A. Breed specific laws target and punish all dogs of a particular breed (the guilty ones as well as the innocent). Well-behaved dogs of that particular breed are seen, classified, and treated the same as the dogs that have in fact bitten or attacked individuals. i.
According to an article run in the October edition (2009) of the Westword, a local publication in Denver, in 2006 “after a one-year moratorium Denver began to again enforce the pit bull ban in 2005, causing a 77 percent increase in the number of dogs impounded in Pit Bull Row. City records show that between 2005 and 2006, 1,454 pit bulls were put down, leading to the large pile-ups of dead dogs. ” ii. Unfortunately, many of these dogs were deemed pit bulls simply because the animal control officer, shelter worker, dog trainer, politician, dog owner, police officer or newspaper says they are. B.
BSL doesn’t acknowledge the fact that a dog of any breed can be dangerous. Furthermore, opponents of BSL have pointed out that those in charge of law enforcement do not always accurately identify breeds, and that the imposition of penalties on dogs merely as a result of breed identification can be unjust and arbitrary. i. In July of this year, after a nearly 2-year legal battle between the City Council of Belfast, Northern Ireland and dog owner Caroline Barnes, her American Bulldog / Labrador mix, Lennox, was euthanized for resembling a pit bull, which pose a threat to society. ii. As stated on latimes. om, “The Belfast City Council declared Lennox had a severe personality disorder, but his owners, the Barnes family, said he was a well-handled American bulldog-Labrador cross. After measuring his legs and snout, dog wardens declared Lennox a “possible pit bull type” and in 2010 seized him under the UK’s dangerous dog act. ” Dogs are only as good or bad as their owners III. How it affects owners A. Banning a specific breed punishes responsible dog owners who have well trained dogs of that breed, while irresponsible owners who seek a “dangerous dog” as a status symbol will simply choose a different breed. . According to the AKC, “this often leads to increased costs to the community, as many owners abandon their household pets at local shelters because they are no longer permitted to own them, or are unable to comply with the strict regulations imposed on them. ” ii. In many cases, the owner must choose between relocating to a different town or getting rid of their dog. Many of these dogs end up being housed and/or euthanized at the shelters at the taxpayer’s expense. iii. As reported in Canada’s weekly newspaper, Macleans (2004), “Experts in canine control and behavior have all said the same thing.
Breed-specific bans are reactionary and ineffectual because they don’t address the root of the problem: high-risk owners. ” According to Dr. Gary Landsberg, a Thornhill, Ont. , veterinarian and president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, “people who want to breed and/or own vicious dogs will simply turn to other breeds. ” It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch CONCLUSION Summary Statement So now you have a general idea of what Breed Specific Legislation is. Dog attacks and bites are real problems for communities and need to be addressed.
Being informed on how BSL affects both dog & owner, innocent and guilty alike, has hopefully provided you with a foundation for further exploration. Concluding Remarks Is Breed Specific Legislation the right answer to keep communities safe from aggressive dogs? I honestly don’t know. But in closing I will say this. If those of you that resembled this man were actually detained, based solely on similar appearance, would your partners, families & friends accept it as a way to keep our community safe? You be the judge.