Target: North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple
Goal: Stop the unjust and ineffective discrimination of certain dogs based solely on their appearance
Current state law in North Dakota allows any local government to enact bans or restrictions on certain dog breeds regardless of individual dogs’ temperaments. This type of discrimination is known as breed-specific legislation (BSL), and it unfairly punishes responsible pet owners with well-behaved dogs because of the way their dogs look.
Studies show that BSL does not help prevent dog attacks, and instead results in high numbers of pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs being ripped from loving homes and euthanized in overcrowded shelters. BSL is largely ineffective because a dog’s breed does not make it dangerous— negative situations like abuse and poor upbringing do. The Obama administration even released an official position statement in 2013 condemning the unjust discrimination of dogs based solely on their breed: “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.”
Because of the prevalence of BSL, and the negative stereotype it places on pit bulls, animal shelters across the country are overloaded with pit bulls and similar breeds. Most of these poor creatures don’t make it out of the shelter system alive. Urge North Dakota’s governor to pass a statewide bill preventing breed discrimination.
Dear Governor Dalrymple,
I am writing to you out of concern about the fact that any local government in North Dakota may enact bans or restrictions against certain dog breeds. Studies have shown BSL to be largely ineffective at preventing dog attacks and unfairly punishes responsible pet owners with well-behaved dogs.
While laws addressing dangerous dogs are certainly necessary public safety measures, targeting breeds like pit bulls and labeling them as aggressive does not make North Dakota’s communities any safer. Laws should remain breed-neutral and instead address the temperament and behavior of the dog rather than its appearance. By targeting dogs based solely on breed, many responsible pet owners with well-behaved pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs face undue hardships finding housing or obtaining adequate homeowner’s insurance. BSL ultimately results in countless well-behaved pit bulls and similar breeds being surrendered to overcrowded, tax payer-funded animal shelters where they have little hope of adoption and face an almost certain death.
A total of 19 other states have already passed statewide bills preventing the enactment of BSL. I urge you to ensure that BSL does not continue in North Dakota by passing a similar bill that protects the rights of responsible pet owners and their well-behaved dogs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Almonroth via Wikimedia Commons