There’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to ending breed-specific legislation (BSL). Wounded Paw Project is on the front lines, fighting every day to put an end to this unfair and ineffective law. We believe all dogs should be judged by their individual behavior, not by their breed. This is why we’re committed to working hard until BSL is a thing of the past.

What is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)?

breed-specific legislation (BSL)

BSL is legislation that targets certain breeds of dogs, often characterized as “dangerous” or “aggressive.” This type of law bans or restricts the possession or ownership of these designated breeds, usually pit bulls and Rottweilers. Unfortunately, this discriminatory legislation does nothing to reduce dog bites or improve public safety.

Who is Impacted by Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

The effects of Breed Specific Legislation can be far-reaching, impacting not only the dogs and their families but entire communities. BSL impacts

  • Dogs: Due to breed-specific legislation, thousands of innocent dogs are put at risk. Some may be taken away from their families and never rehomed. And rather than give up their pup, some owners of banned breeds will try to hide their dogs by restricting their time outdoors, not socializing them, or not taking them to the vet when they need medical care.
  • Owners and Families: BSL tears families apart by taking beloved dogs away from the people they love, often without due process or fair compensation. This can lead to heartache and despair for both pet parents and their children.
  • The Public: BSL creates an unsafe environment where communities become divided instead of united in the cause of animal welfare. People are often unaware of the real issues and lack of evidence to support breed-specific legislation, so they can’t come together to find a better solution.
  • Law Enforcement: Breed-specific legislation places a heavy burden on law enforcement agencies as it requires them to identify and track banned breeds, often diverting resources from other important safety issues.
  • Veterinarians: Veterinarians are caught in the middle of BSL, having to deal with the fallout from these laws while also trying to provide medical care to the affected dogs.

The Problem with BSL

end bsl

The primary problem with breed-specific legislation is that it doesn’t work. Studies have shown that BSL is ineffective at reducing the number of dog bites and incidents of serious injury caused by dogs. Furthermore, this type of law unfairly targets certain breeds and puts innocent animals at risk based on their appearance rather than their behavior. Some other issues with breed-specific legislation include,

BSL is Difficult to Enforce

Frequently, breed-specific legislation focuses on dogs with a certain appearance or physical characteristics instead of an actual breed. Pit bulls are often the biggest target of BSL, but this doesn’t consider the many dogs that may simply look like one. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to accurately identify banned breeds and enact the law accordingly.

Other dogs that typically fall victim to BSL include boxers, Dobermans, and Rottweilers. Determining a dog’s breed or mix solely by appearance is incredibly challenging. According to a study by Maddie’s Fund, even individuals with expert knowledge of dog breeds frequently misidentify mixed breed dogs and commonly mistake them for “pit bulls.”

BSL is Unfair to Innocent Dogs

Due to Breed Specific Legislation, many innocent dogs never get a chance to prove themselves as gentle and loving animals. This type of law often discriminates against dogs based solely on their breed or appearance without taking into account the individual dog’s behavior and temperament.

Breed Bans Don't Stop Owners from Being Irresponsible

Violence is not bred; it is taught. Breed-specific legislation does not address the root of the problem—irresponsible owners. The ASPCA states that there is no evidence to suggest that breed-specific laws reduce the number of dog bites or attacks in a community.

In many cases, BSL punishes good owners and their beloved dogs instead of targeting irresponsible pet parents who are training their dogs to be aggressive. With that in mind, better solutions must be found to help reduce the risk of dog bites and attacks in communities worldwide.

BSL is Discriminatory

Breed-specific legislation discriminates against certain dog breeds and people who own them. This type of law often singles out a certain breed or group of dogs, creating an environment where all dogs of that breed are viewed as dangerous and bad, regardless of their individual behavior or temperament. This can lead to discrimination against pet parents who own “banned” breeds and their children.

BSL is Costly

Another problem with breed-specific legislation is that it can be quite costly for cities to enforce. It requires additional staffing, increased training, and resources, as well as legal bills if the law is challenged in court. Furthermore, it often requires owners of banned breeds to purchase expensive “breed-specific” insurance policies, which can be a financial burden for those who cannot afford them.

It's Not Actually Possible to Calculate a Breed's Bite Rate

A breed’s bite rate is impossible to calculate accurately, as there is no reliable way to determine the exact number of bites caused by a particular breed. This makes it difficult to assess whether or not a certain breed is more aggressive than another. Additionally, many times the news media inaccurately reports attacks, which can lead to an unjustified fear of a certain breed.

Ultimately, breed-specific legislation is not the answer to reducing dog bite incidents in communities. It unfairly targets dogs based on their appearance and doesn’t address the root of the problem—irresponsible owners. In order to effectively reduce the risk of dog bites and attacks.

How You Can Work Against Breed-Specific Legislation

breed-specific legislation (BSL)

The best way to work against breed-specific legislation is to support legal action. If your city has a breed ban, contact legislators and urge them to repeal it. You can also join forces with local animal advocacy organizations that are working to change laws in your area.

Education is another important tool when it comes to combating BSL. Share accurate information about responsible pet ownership and promote the humane treatment of animals. Teach people in your community that any dog can be aggressive, regardless of its breed. Finally, continue to spread awareness about how unfair and ineffective BSL is, and work with legislators to find better solutions to reduce dog bite incidents in your city.

Breed-specific legislation is unfair, ineffective, and costly. There are more effective methods of reducing the risk of dog bites than punishing all dogs in a certain breed or group. By working together, we can help improve laws impacting our furry friends and ensure all dogs are treated fairly and responsibly, regardless of their breed or appearance.