Some of you may have heard of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and wondered what it was, but never seriously looked into exactly what it is. Others reading this may already be advocates to ending BSL. And if anyone reading this is in favor of BSL, I hope this article can help persuade you towards changing your mind.
BSL is a form of legislation that bans, or restricts, certain types of dog based on their appearance, those which are generally characterized as a “dangerous” looking breed. These bans, or restrictions, are typically applied to dogs that look to be part of the pit bull, shepherd, or Rottweiler families.
The website stopbsl.org gives readers a wonderful overview on what, exactly, BSL is. If you’re not 100% up on the facts of BSL, you should give this website a once-over to beef up your knowledge.
Some people might think, “hey, let’s get rid of every dog that we think could be dangerous to ourselves and our children”. What a great idea! Let’s keep the neighborhood safe!
In response to that great idea I would have to ask a few questions. Who gets to decide what dogs are dangerous? I think Chihuahuas are vicious little beasts, does that mean I get to ban them from my neighborhood? What happens to the responsible dog owners who already own Chihuahuas? Do they have to put their dogs down in order to stay in this neighborhood? What do we do about a vicious dog who may not meet the BSL requirements? Does that dog get to stay while other, more well behaved dogs have to go?
Those are just a few holes that can be poked into BSL. I’m sure those of you reading this could come up with quite a few more. If so, please post them in the comments section, I’d love to read them!
Communities across the US should know the facts about BSL before they consider enacting it. Much independent research has been done on Breed Specific Legislation, and it all points towards one glaring fact: It just doesn’t work! And as that fact is slowly gaining momentum, neighborhoods across America are throwing out their BSL restrictions and bans.
The ASPCA, The American Humane Society, and The Humane Society of the United States have all come out against BSL, recognizing that it is an ineffective tool when dealing with dangerous dogs.
Recently, even President Obama made public comments against BSL, stating that, “it’s a bad idea”, and a “waste of public resources”.
I understand that some people harbor a fear of certain animals. But instead of trying to ban those animals, perhaps they should attempt to understand them instead.
It wasn’t too long ago that some people feared other cultures, and their perceived effect on our society. If we had allowed that line of thinking to dominate our country, our world would be a much different place today.
Let’s stop that fear from turning our communities into a place where poor legislation punishes responsible dog owners. It’s up to people like us, those who understand and love the breeds that BSL targets, to educate as many people as we can about BSL and why it’s not right for our neighborhoods, or any neighborhood in America. Let’s get our voices out there. Together we WILL be heard!