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Breed Specific Legislation – How it effects American Pit Bull Terrier owners

Breed specific legislation or BSL for short, is on the rise around the world. BSL targets specific breeds of canine and either (A) restricts them severely or (B) completely bans them from areas.

Countries like Germany, Australia, England, and France have bans on the American Pit Bull Terrier and the ones that were already living in the country are restricted.

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Usually the law states the dogs must be muzzled and on a very short 12 inch leash when out in public.

BSL is very much alive in the United States and the APBT is the number one target for such laws.

Expensive insurance is also required in many of the cities were BSL has been accepted. Sometimes it can be as high as $200,000 per dog. Hundreds of cities, towns, and states are implementing BSL.

As time goes by supporter’s for this ridiculous band-aid approach are getting the laws passed with ease.

The number one restricted breed in the world is the American Pit Bull Terrier or any cross thereof. Meaning, even if your dog is suspected of having APBT in it’s blood it can fall under the power of these laws.

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BSL is nothing more than breed profiling and as of yet it has not worked to curb the amount of serious dog attacks it was put in place to stop.

Matter of fact, the only thing it has done is make life hell for ordinary law abiding dog lover’s.

Why breed specific legislation will never work:

BSL was a flawed concept from the moment it was conceived. In most cases the dogs are targeted leaving the owner, which is the responsible, rational thinking party, out of it.

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Some impose fines along with their laws but are often not enforced to the maximum so the owner gets away with a slap on the wrist.

Dogs are not the problem and BSL does not recognize this. People are the problem and until we find a way to punish people for their neglectful actions which allow dogs to bite and terrorize the public we will never stop the problem.

First problem is, take one breed away, these people will find another breed to replace it.

Since the APBT bans the Rottweiler is now on the rise as the most popular breed.

Now these dogs are taking heat from the general public and the BSL supporters. Again they are restricting the dogs and not the people.

BSL can be compared to gender profiling or racial profiling. Simply because a dog appears to be a dog on the restricted list, it is therefor treated as one.

What if you were driving down the road and the police took you to jail, sentenced you, and placed you on death row just for looking like a certain ethnic group? BSL does exactly that to dogs.

So why is it then that more BSL laws are implemented daily? God forbid a person have to take responsibility for their irresponsible actions and BSL supports these people by not placing very harsh punishments on them.

We have to fight!

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Fighting BSL is the only way to keep all breeds safe. Soon BSL will encompass any dog that can bite (which is all of them) so where does that leave the dog lover?

Supporter’s of BSL will argue that it works, but there is very little evidence of this as many laws are drawn up to encompass several breeds and their crosses.

Even experts of the American Pit Bull Terrier have a hard time identifying a mix from a purebred. Sometimes it is obvious, but in most cases it’s not that easy.

Experts are needed to enforce the BSL law and testify in court that an offending dog is the breed restricted. Results can be manipulated to fit the agenda.

For example, you can poke a dog in the face until it growls or snaps at you. Now the dog is deemed vicious. Fair? Not at all.

In short BSL has nothing to offer the public but confusion and loss. BSL will not and will never be a practicable means of regulating vicious dogs and severe attacks. Until the law makers see this fact of life we will be faced with more BSL laws.

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Well said.

According to https://plus.google.com/114864920981335422615

6 Unintended Consequences of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL)

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When people think of Breed-Specific Legislation they think of pit bulls. However, many BSLs have included American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, American Bulldogs,Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds,Doberman Pinschers and any other mix or dogs who look similar to these breeds. In some instances breed bans have also prohibited dogs of a certain weight or stature. 

Although BSL may appear, on the outside, to be protecting public safety, many BSL opponents including: The American Medical Veterinary Association(AVMA), The American Kennel Club, The Westminster Kennel ClubThe National Centers for Disease Controlamong othersargue that BSL is not effective for many reasons. Below are 6 reasons, backed by research, why Breed Specific Legislation does more harm than good:

Along with this, the American Veterinary Medical Association has noted that there has been no evidence collected to date which clearly shows that one particular breed is more likely to harm someone than another. It is because of this they argue, that when it comes to identifying dogs which could potentially pose a threat to others, clues should be drawn from the dogs individual behavior as opposed to appearance.

1. Accurately identifying breeds is extremely difficult

In case study after case study, people inaccurately identify breeds. In fact, in a recent report from Dr. Victoria Boith in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Scienceshowed that adoption agencies 87.5% of the time inaccurately identify breeds who pass through their organization. With statistics like this and the rise of mixed breeds, many professional organizations and researchers have deemed visual identification of dogs as ineffective. They argue that if a person is unable to accurately identify a breed, how are they able to label them as dangerous? 

It is also important to note that the term ‘pit-bull’ does not classify a particular breed, but rather a group of dogs that the media or society considers to be a pit bull. This means that it can change from place to place and person to person, making it an ineffective way to categorize potentially dangerous dogs. In fact most kennel clubs around the world do not recognize pit-bulls as a specific breed.

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2. Humans are to blame for dangerous dogs
A study by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC)found that 84% of dogs that harmed individuals were the result of negligent ownership. These dogs were mistreated, were tethered or confined, or were allowed to play with children without adult supervision. The report also stated that 78% of the dogs in these instances were trained to guard, fight, make their human handler appear more ‘tough’, or were subjected to inhumane breeding. In this case it is not fair, they argue, to compare these dogs those owned by responsible people. The study found that most dogs which are kept in a loving, residential environment were not likely to be harmful to others. Breed-Specific Legislation in this case punishes even those who have properly trained and take good care of their dogs.

3. Dogs go into hiding to avoid detection
Since loving owners do not want to give away pets that may be identified under the breed-ban, they ‘hide’ them. Although this may seem like an effective method to avoid detection, it often leads to the dogs being subjected to less than ideal circumstances. Some of these harmful consequences include: restricted outdoor exercise, limited veterinarian care and not being properly licensed or microchipped. In this case BSL is deemed as ineffective as the health consequences experienced by these dogs, far outweigh the likelihood that they will be a threat or harmful towards an individual.

4. Rebels will just switch to another non-outlawed breed
People who are committed to owning dogs for dangerous purposes, like dog-fighting and other criminal activities, will work around the breed-ban by just switching to a non-outlawed breed. After all, it’s not the breed, it’s the provided environment and training (or lack thereof) that makes any dog potentially dangerous. Bull-Terriers are considered part of the BSL in some states.

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5. Some of these dogs play an important role in the community
Many dogs who fall under the BSL have both throughout history and in current times played an important role in their community. These dogs have acted as therapy dogs, assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs, or drug detection dogs. In this case, removing these dogs from their beneficial community roles, poses far more consequences than benefits. Along with this it will also create difficulties for those with disabilities, who want to travel with their ‘breed-banned’ service dog, as since each state has their own regulations, service dog teams may restricted from certain areas all together.

6. BSL creates a shift away from proper enforcement and is extremely costly
Enforcing dog license and leash laws, animal-fighting laws, promoting spaying and neutering and other similar regulations, is important to public safety, regardless of the breed. When BSL is in place, limited resources are used to focus only on banned breeds, as opposed to regulating all pets and animals as a whole. BSL is also extremely costly and requires a large portion of tax payers dollars.

It is clear to see that BSL is not only difficult to implement, but is also ineffective in increasing public safety. Those concerned about the potential threat of dogs to humans, should focus on community education as a way of reducing these concerns. Like we have learned countless times throughout history with humans, appearance should not be used as a prerequisite of determining behavior, but rather be judged on a case to case basis.

To learn more, check out these links:

Whatever your opinion of “pit bulls” no one can deny their image has been tarnished, especially in recent years. From unscrupulous owners, to poorly researched media, the dogs that we call pit bulls have received less than fair treatment. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) is an attempt to ban specific breeds deemed likely to be dangerous or harmful. However, time and time again it’s been proven to be less than accurate, expensive to enforce and unfair to responsible owners.

The ASPCA’s Stance On BSL

ASPCA on Breed-Specific Legislation

Dog attacks can be a real and serious problem in communities across the country, but addressing dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs can be a confusing and touchy issue. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. 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.

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Who Is Impacted by Breed-Specific Laws?

Regulated breeds typically comprise the “pit bull” class of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers. In some areas, regulated breeds also include a variety of other dogs like American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers or any mix of these breeds—and dogs who simply resemble these breeds.

Many states, including New York, Texas and Illinois, favor laws that identify, track and regulate dangerous dogs individually—regardless of breed—and prohibit BSL. However, more than 700 U.S. cities have enacted breed-specific laws.

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Are Breed-Specific Laws Effective?

There is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals. Following a thorough study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to strongly oppose BSL. The CDC cited, among other problems, the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty in identifying dog breeds (especially true of mixed-breed dogs). Breed-specific laws are also costly and difficult to enforce.

What Are the Consequences of Breed-Specific Laws?

BSL carries a host of negative and wholly unintended consequences:

Dogs Suffer. Rather than give up beloved pets, owners of highly regulated or banned breeds often attempt to avoid detection by restricting their dogs’ outdoor exercise and socialization—forgoing licensing, microchipping and proper veterinary care, and avoiding spay/neuter surgery and essential vaccinations. Such actions can have a negative impact on both the mental and physical health of these dogs.

In addition, breed-specific laws can create a climate where it is nearly impossible for residents to adopt and live with such a breed—virtually ensuring destruction of otherwise adoptable dogs by shelters and humane societies.

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Owners Suffer. Responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs who happen to fall within the regulated breed are required to comply with local breed bans and regulations. This can lead to housing issues, legal fees or even relinquishment of the animal.
Public Safety Suffers. Breed-specific laws have a tendency to compromise rather than enhance public safety. When animal control resources are used to regulate or ban a certain breed, the focus is shifted away from effective enforcement of laws that have the best chances of making communities safer: dog license laws, leash laws, anti-animal fighting laws, anti-tethering laws, laws facilitating spaying and neutering and laws that require all owners to control their dogs, regardless of breed. Additionally, guardians of banned breeds may be deterred from seeking routine veterinary care, which can lead to outbreaks of rabies and other diseases that endanger communities.

Breed-specific laws may also have the unintended consequence of encouraging irresponsible dog ownership. As certain breeds are regulated, individuals who exploit aggression in dogs are likely to turn to other, unregulated breeds. Conversely “outlaws” may be attracted to the “outlaw” status of certain breeds. The rise of pit bull ownership among gang members in the late 1980s coincided with the first round of breed-specific legislation.

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What Are the Alternatives to Breed-Specific Laws?

There is no convincing data to indicate that breed-specific legislation has succeeded anywhere to date.

The CDC has noted that many other factors beyond breed may affect a dog’s tendency toward aggression—things such as heredity, sex, early experience, reproductive status, socialization and training. Conversely, studies can be referenced that point to clear, positive effects of carefully crafted breed-neutral laws. A breed-neutral approach may include the following:

1. Enhanced enforcement of dog license laws
2. Increased availability to low-cost sterilization (spay/neuter) services
3. Dangerous dog laws that are breed-neutral and focus on the behavior of the individual guardian and dog
4. Graduated penalties and options for dogs deemed dangerous
5. Laws that hold dog guardians financially accountable for failure to adhere to animal control laws
6. Laws that hold dog guardians civilly and criminally liable for unjustified injuries or damage caused by their dogs
7. Laws that prohibit chaining, tethering and unreasonable confinement, coupled with enhanced enforcement of animal cruelty and animal fighting laws
8. Community-based approaches to resolving reckless guardian/dangerous dog questions that encompass all stakeholders, available dog bite data and recommended realistic and enforceable policies

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6 Reasons Why Pit Bulls Make Great Pets

You are considering adopting or buying a dog, and one breed you are considering is a Pit Bull Terrier, or one of several breeds that are closely related to this breed. It is important that before you take any steps towards becoming an owner that you thoroughly research the breed so that you understand the challenges of owning this loyal, yet controversial breed.

99% of issues that arise with pit bulls have to do with owners who are idiots. The truth is that this breed has many good traits. A super-dog, if you will. And although the media focuses on the negative aspects, in reality they can be awesome pets for the smart owner. Here are six reasons why:

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1. Pit Bulls are Affectionate Companions

Pitbulls are wiggly, cuddly, affectionate dogs. If you don’t like dog kisses then consider another breed, because most pitbulls love licking. The same goes if you have children and you don’t want them to be a regular target for face washes.

Pitbulls are not aloof – they like to remind you regularly of how they feel about you, and in general this means a lot of tail wagging and kissing.

2. Generally Healthy and Easy to Care For

Yes, pit bulls require a reasonable amount of attention. They do not, however, need a lot of care. They have short coats and are normal shedders, and only need to be brushed semi-regularly.

They don’t tend toward genetic disorders like some other breeds, although they should be inspected at puppyhood for signs of hip dysplasia, but this is a good idea for most medium to large breeds anyway. Most pit bulls do not get larger than 50 to 60 pounds, although there are some larger sub-breeds.

And as long as you exercise the dog regularly, a pitbull can be very comfortable in a small dwelling.

3. People-Orientated, When Socialized Properly

Pitbulls love people. Although this breed frequently gets a bad rap in the media, if you have ever met a pitbull that was raised by a loving, conscientious family then you will understand how much they like to be with people.

The downside of this personality trait is that they can get overexcited when they meet new people, which is something that needs to be addressed through training and positive reinforcement.

4. Pit Bulls are Loyal to their Owners

Your pit bull will be you and your family’s best friend from the day you take them home to the day they pass away. While they will be naturally protective of their family and their property, because pitbulls are so people-orientated they do not make good guard dogs.

Unless you just want them to smother intruders with hugs and kisses.

5. Eager to Please

A pitbull will always do it’s best to make you happy, as long as you are clear about what you expect from them. Many people will mention the fact that this breed is notoriously stubborn, but once they realize that you are the boss, they will work hard to ensure that you were happy with them.

This breed can be challenging, and is not recommended for first time dog owners as you need to be comfortable and confident that you can handle the breed, otherwise they will pick upon the fact that you are less than sure of yourself.

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6. High Tolerance for Pain

Sometimes presented as a negative trait, the fact that pitbulls have a high pain tolerance makes them exceptional family dogs. They easily (and happily) put up with the rough play of children without reacting. At the same time, pitbull owners may have to invest in prong collars, as the shoulder and neck strength of the pitbull means that sometimes an average collar will not do.

It is important that when considering a pitbull as a pet that you carefully screen all puppies and adult dogs to ensure that they respond positively. Dogs of any breed that show fearfulness or aggression towards people or other dogs should be avoided, particularly as a family pet, unless you are willing to put in a lot of extra time and money into behavioural training.

To be a successful and responsible pitbull owner you need to at all times have your pet under control. Dogs should never be left unsupervised with other dogs or children, and should never be allowed to roam off leash except in controlled dog-friendly spaces. Remember that as a pitbull owner you are charged with showing the positive side of this breed, so make sure that you always have a friendly and well behaved pet.

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BSL: What Is BSL?

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Breed-specific legislation is a law passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds. Some jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds commonly used in dog fighting, and some government organizations such as the United States Army and Marine Corps have taken administrative action as well.

This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs, to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally “dangerous” or “vicious”. In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municipal governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation. It is generally settled in case law that jurisdictions in the United States and Canada have the right to enact breed-specific legislation; however, the appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries is disputed.

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One point of view is that certain dog breeds are a public safety issue that merits actions such as banning ownership, mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs of these breeds, mandatory microchip implants and liability insurance, or prohibiting people convicted of a felony from owning them. Another point of view is that comprehensive “dog bite” legislation, coupled with better consumer education and legally mandating responsible pet keeping practices, is a better solution than breed-specific legislation to the problem of dangerous dogs. A third point of view is that breed-specific legislation should not ban breeds entirely, but should strictly regulate the conditions under which specific breeds could be owned, e.g., forbidding certain classes of individuals from owning them, specifying public areas in which they would be prohibited, and establishing conditions, such as requiring a dog to wear a muzzle, for taking dogs from specific breeds into public places.

Finally, some governments, such as that of Australia, have forbidden the import of specific breeds and are requiring the spay/neuter of all existing dogs of these breeds in an attempt to eliminate the population slowly through natural attrition. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2000 concluded that while fatal attacks on humans appeared to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers), other breeds may bite and cause fatalities at higher rates, and that since fatal attacks represent a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans, there are better alternatives for prevention of dog bites than breed-specific ordinances.

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