The ASPCA’s take on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

*IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog post is based on the opinions of the ASPCA with regard to Breed Specific Legislation and does not neccesarily express the views of The Canine Training Center.  Content was derived entirely from the ASPCA website.

**Now that disclaimers are out of the way, please know that we strongly agree with their opinion. 🙂

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a broad term for laws that attempt to regulate or ban certain breeds with the intent to reduce dog attacks.  “However, the problem of dangerous dogs will not be remedied by the ‘quick fix’ of breed-specific laws—or, as they should truly be called, breed-discriminatory laws.”

Just because you do not own a Pit Bull does not mean that your dog is safe from BSL.  In some areas, “regulated breeds” also include American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers or a mix of these breeds and some areas also restrict dogs who merely resemble them.

Why the ASPCA doesn’t think BSL is effective

According to the ASPCA, breed specific laws are expensive and difficult to enforce and there is no evidence to support claims of their effectiveness.  Prince George’s County, MD spends more than $250,000 a year to enforce its Pit Bull ban and according to a study conducted by the county in 2003, “public safety has not improved as a result of the ban.”

After an in-depth study of human dog bite fatalities, the CDC has decided not to support BSL due to the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty of identifying breeds.  The CDC also believes that people who make dogs aggressive will substitute these dogs with other unregulated breeds.

Why the ASPCA think BSL is bad

  • Dogs are kept hidden- Dog owners are forced to hide their beloved pets to avoid exposure.  They limit their dogs time outside, avoid licensing, microchipping and veterinary care.
  • Good dogs and their owners are punished- Dog behavior has no merit; well behaved dogs are banned as well.
  • False sense of security- Focus is taken away from the enforcement of effective safety laws such as: license laws, chain/tether laws, leash laws, dog fighting laws, spay/neuter laws and laws that require owners to keep safe control of their dogs regardless of breed.
  • May inspire ownership by irresponsible owners- Outlawing a breed increases the breeds allure to outlaws.

ASPCA points

  • More than 70% of dog bite incidents involve unneutered males.
  • An unneutered male is 2.6 times more liable to bite.
  • 97% of the dogs involved in dog attack related fatalities in 2006 were not spayed/neutered.
  • A chained dog is 2.8 times more liable to bite.
  • In 2006:
    • 97% of dogs involved in fatalities were not spayed/neutered.
    • 78% were not pets but instead were used for guarding, image enhancement, fighting or breeding.
    • 84% were owned by irresponsible owners.  Meaning that the dog was abused, neglected, not humanely handled or was allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.

The ASPCA states that they advocate the enforcement of effective laws that are not breed specific, “laws that hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their animals.”

What is your opinion: should specific breeds be banned or do you agree with the ASPCA?


Source: All content was derived from the ASPCA website

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