Somehow during a week dominated by the introduction of Sunny, his family’s new dog, President Obama was able to address the topic of breed specific legislation. What is breed specific legislation or BSL? It is any law that seeks to make it illegal to own a specific dog because of his or her breed. BSL has been used particularly against pit bulls. Advocates of BSL say it keeps people safer by limiting the number of dangerous dogs being kept as family pets. Those against BSL say there are no bad breeds, only bad breeders and owners who teach their dogs to be aggressive and / or dangerous.
When the White House was made aware of an on-line petition carrying more than 30,000 signatures which urged the federal government to pass breed specific legislation, they put out the following statement:
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate.
As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.
It will be interesting to see if this statement has any impact on breed-specific bans currently in place on many military bases both here and abroad.
So what’s your opinion on the topic?
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!