I know there are a lot of people that don't even know what Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is, so I'll start with that. BSL is legislation is usually put in place, in a panic, when a dog viciously bites or attacks an adult, child, or another dog. This law or ordinance puts restrictions on certain breeds. Restrictions such as... the breed of dog specified has to wear a muzzle at all times off it's property; it has to have a microchip and be registered to the local Animal Control; the owner has to pay a yearly fee to own such dog; the dog has to be on a leash at all times and can never be allowed to run free in it's own back yard; if the dog is outside off leash, it has to be in an 8ft tall kennel with a top on it; ... The list goes on and on. Some of the rules are no big deal, but some get as bad as an entire breed of dog is not allowed in a city, and anyone who owns one will have a short amount of time to re home their family pet in another city or Animal Control will come over and confiscate their dog and have it euthanized.
Yes, shocking to those of you who own Maltese or Dachshunds... By the way those two breeds are banned in some countries. The most typical breeds that are discriminated against are Pit Bull Types, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Great Danes, St Bernards, and a whole list of dogs you have probably never heard of.
Could you imagine... A dog, the same breed as the one you have at home, bites a child in the face. People are understandably upset. Who wouldn't want something done? The city has to hold and isolate the dog for about 10 days before anyone can start to make decisions on the dog's fate. Now during this 10 days the people in the neighborhood continue to get more and more upset about the dog. Then it starts to spread throughout the media. The whole city starts to get upset. City officials decide this dog is dangerous, so then all of the breed must me dangerous. That's where the panic legislation comes in play.
Enter the police report... It starts off with the dog attacked the neighbors child in it's own yard. Oh..., well how did the boy get in the yard? The dog owner states that the child has been found in their yard multiple times. They even went as far as to lock the gates. The police were finally called when the child started using his yard toys as a ladder to get in the dog's yard. The parents of the boy seemed to blow off the police warning and think it was cool that the dog and boy wanted to be together so much. But did the dog really enjoy the visits? The owner of the dog stated that the dog is a retired Search and Rescue dog, a Therapy Dog, and had many titles in agility. This dog had obviously has a ton of training and was friendly. What happened then?
It is found, after further investigation, that a quiet neighbor saw the whole thing. "I saw the boy climb the fence and start petting the dog. They really look like they enjoy each other's company. It's just a shame the accident happened. I called the owner of the dog and told her about the boy in the yard again. When she came out to tell the boy he needed to go home, it startled him and he fell off of the table he was on. Landed right on the 14 year old arthritic dog. It yelped and turned it's head around puncturing the child's face. Instantly the dog moved and tried to tend to the child. The owner made it to the boy, and I called the ambulance".
So, who's fault was it? The dog? The dog owner? The parents?
This is why I do not like breed specific legislation. It punishes the dog and not the responsible party. It was later found that the parents have a criminal history of child neglect and domestic abuse. There was probably some alcohol or drug abuse in there too.
Due to the panic in the city, the owner had her baby of 14 years, who had saved many people over the years, put to sleep. It was later found to be the parents fault and the child was removed from his home to one where people actually cared. The parents got 2 months in jail and a fine... What? I know, huh!
This is how it goes in some places. No, this is not a real story, but it is parts of many stories I know all to well. We all know it is wrong, but until enough people get educated about Breed Specific Legislation this discrimination will continue to divide us. It is scary to decide about wanting or not wanting a law when you don't know enough to have an educated opinion. So do some research, all dog people should at least know a little about BSL. Even people who love chihuahuas... We all know how friendly they always are. Hehe. Don't get upset! I own one! I also own two American Pit Bull Terriers and a Pug. And yes, as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer I have to pay to own my dogs here in my city.
Now, remember the dog in this back yard was the same breed as the one in your house. We have a big deal coming up soon here in Springfield, Mo. We are trying to go from BSL to a vicious/dangerous dog ordinance. Please, start asking questions, don't always believe the media, fight for the responsible owners of the "Power Breeds"! For more information please check out these materials:
The movie "Beyond the Myth"
The book "Wallace"
And meet a few Pit Bulls that have been raised right.