Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: End policies that ban certain dog breeds on U.S. military bases purely because of their appearance or reputation
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) outlaws certain dog breeds (usually pit bulls, rottweilers and German shepherds) and labels them as aggressive based on their appearance rather than temperament. Studies show BSL does not help prevent dog attacks, and results in high numbers of dogs being ripped from loving homes and euthanized in overcrowded shelters. The White House issued an official position statement against BSL, but U.S. military families with banned breeds are still being forced to surrender their companions to an almost certain death. As Commander-in-Chief, it is President Obama’s responsibility to follow through with his statement by removing BSL from U.S. military bases.
Many studies show that BSL is ineffective because a dog’s breed does not make it dangerous— negative situations like abuse and poor upbringing do. An official position statement released by the White House in August 2013 condemns BSL: “We don’t support breed-specific legislation—research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective… And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.” While the president should be commended for endorsing the statement, he has taken no action to end BSL in the almost full year since its release.
Military families who move frequently, especially those with children, can benefit emotionally from having a stable source of support from their dog. Sadly, BSL on military bases forces families with well-behaved, but banned, dogs to give up their companions. Losing a pet is a traumatic experience for anyone, especially a child who has shared a lifelong bond with their dog in the midst of repeatedly changing schools and having to make new friends.
It is President Obama’s duty to stand behind his position statement and end BSL on military bases— both for the well being of the dogs, and the military families who love them.
Dear President Obama,
While I thank you for issuing an official White House position statement against breed-specific legislation (BSL), immediate action must be taken to end BSL. BSL leads to high numbers of banned dogs being taken away from loving homes and winding up in overcrowded shelters, where they face an almost certain death. As Commander-in-Chief, I urge you to end this injustice and stand behind your statement by removing BSL from U.S. military bases.
The White House position statement condemns and discredits BSL, citing research that concludes BSL is ineffective at preventing dog attacks and a waste of resources. The statement goes on to say dogs of any breed can be raised to be aggressive, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that calculating bite rates for specific breeds is virtually impossible.
The men and women serving in the U.S. military often move frequently, which can be difficult for their families—especially those with children. Military families can benefit emotionally from having a stable bond with their dog, who is a constant companion and source of support. Sadly, BSL on military bases forces families with well-behaved dogs to give up their companions. Losing a pet is a traumatic experience for anyone, especially a child who has shared a lifelong bond with their dog in the midst of repeatedly changing schools and having to make new friends.
I am urging you to stand behind your position statement as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military and end BSL on military bases—both for the well being of the dogs, and the military families who love them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: animaldreamguide.com