Speaking out for our best friends


Breed Discriminatory Legislation

Imagine being forced to give up your dog, your

   companion, your best friend.....

  -not because of anything you did

  -not because of anything your dog did

  -but because of what your dog looks like

Dog attacks are not a breed specific problem--they are a human specific problem.

Breed Discriminatory Legislation (BDL) is also called Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).  BDL places restrictions on certain groups of dogs with the false hope that this will enhance public safety.  BDL is expensive for communities, overwhelms animal control departments, and has been proven unsuccessful in keeping communities safe.  It punishes responsible dog owners of the targeted breed and does nothing about reckless owners of other breeds.  All dogs can bite and all dogs can kill.  The common element isn't breed, it's reckless owners.

Experts agree that breed neutral dangerous dog laws that target reckless owners and hold them accountable for their behavior keep communities safe.

Reckless dog owners chain their dogs or allow them to freely roam the neighborhood.  They keep dogs, not as family pets, but for protection or as a status symbol.  They do not alter their dogs or provide them with adequate care.  Reckless owners leave their children alone with dogs and don't properly socialize their dogs.  When they encounter problems, they blame the dogs and take no responsibility for their own failings.

Dogs are relatively safe.  When you consider that there are millions of dogs living in our homes as members of our families.  Dog attacks are extremely rare.  There are more people killed by forklifts each year than killed by dogs.  There are more children treated in emergency rooms for slipper related accidents than dog bites.  Most people never consider forklifts or slippers a threat but they do think about vicious dogs.  Why?  The media sensationalizes dog attacks.  They report what sells and pictures of sharp teeth definitely grab more attention than pictures of forklifts.

Supporters of BDL claim dog bite data "proves" that certain breeds are vicious.  Dog bite data is statistically invalid.  Experts believe that the majority of dog bites go unreported.  The Centers for Disease Control stopped tracking dog bites by breed in the 90's because the data was meaningless.  In order to have meaningful data you have to know how many dogs of each breed live in a community.  You can't directly compare cocker spaniels to chihuahuas if there are 2000 cocker spaniels and only 100 chihuahuas.  In order to use breed data, you have to be able to accurately identify breed.  Most dogs are mixed breeds.  Breed identification is extremely difficult, even for trained experts, in mixed breed dogs.  Often breed is reported for bite reports over the phone by the dog owner or bite victim.  Are all bite victims breed experts?  No, so why would we use their reports?  Bite data also does not differentiate between bites that require band-aids and bites that require surgery.  Dogs that inhibit their bite when they contact skin are very different from dogs that sink their teeth into flesh.  Bite data doesn't provide accurate data that can be used to make decisions about which dogs are dangerous and which dogs are not.

So what do dog experts think about BDL?  They oppose it. 

Experts agree that breed neutral dangerous dog laws that target reckless owners and hold them accountable for their behavior keep communities safe

The following is short list of some of these organizations.

National Animal Control Association    
American Veterinary Association    
American Kennel Club    
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Emergency Physicians    
American Association of Dog Trainers    
Professional Liability Insurance Trust
Humane Society of the United States    
Best Friends Animal Society    
American Medical Association    
US Center for Disease Control
National Canine Research Council     
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
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