Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Stop stereotyping dogs and end breed specific legislation
BSL, or breed specific legislation, is laws that are meant to help stop dog bites and attacks by banning or placing restrictions on certain breeds that are perceived to be “dangerous” to the public, mainly Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Some of the restrictions placed can include muzzling the dog when in public, making owners of these so-called aggressive dogs purchase liability insurance of a specific amount, and/or having owners of these breeds place “vicious dog” signs on the outside of their homes or forcing the dogs to wear “vicious dog” tags or other means of identification. Some shelters will even euthanize a dog just because it is or looks to be a particular breed.
States in the United States that currently have laws prohibiting the passing of BSL include: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
One of the problems with BSL is that there is no sure way to know whether dogs such as Pit Bulls top the list of “most dangerous dogs”. Quite a few dog breeds, even those that are not targeted by BSL, can be mistaken for Pit Bulls. Some breeds that can look like Pit Bulls include American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, larger, more muscular Labradors, and Chow mixes. Because of this, a dog that had bitten or attacked someone could be recorded as a “Pit Bull attack”, even though it was not really a Pit Bull.
BSL is also very costly to enforce. Instead of judging an entire breed, the owner of the dog should be the main focus. If an owner knows his or her dog is aggressive, it should be his or her responsibility to keep the dog contained properly, such as in a yard with a high enough fence where the dog cannot escape. Often these dog attacks are the cause of an irresponsible owner. If stricter laws were enforced on dog owner irresponsibility, it could help prevent more bites and attacks than punishing an entire breed based on the actions of some dogs of that breed.
The practice of Dog Fighting is one of the main reasons why Pit Bulls are known as aggressive and vicious. Instead of targeting the breed, stricter laws on Dog Fighting could also be much more beneficial. It is how the dog is brought up and the environment they grow up in that often determine how the dog will become, not just because it was born a specific breed.
There are current laws that are not being enforced properly as well, which could be very helpful in preventing dog biting, such as leash laws. If more dog owners abided by these laws, it could also reduce the number of dog bites.
Tell U.S. legislators to end the discrimination of judging a dog just because of how it looks and to ban BSL in the United States.
I respectfully urge that you end BSL (breed specific legislation) in the United States. BSL is very costly to enforce, even though it does not help reduce the number of dog bites and attacks. Instead, ensure that states are properly enforcing current laws, such as leash laws, which can be very helpful in preventing these incidents.
Enforcing stricter laws on irresponsible owners could be a much more effective way of combating dog attacks rather than blaming and placing restrictions on a particular breed. Also, placing stricter laws on the practice of Dog Fighting can be very helpful as well, since forcing a dog to fight will inevitably cause it to become aggressive and unpredictable.
So far, thirteen states prohibit the passing of BSL. If all states banned BSL and looked for better ways of dealing with these incidents, the fight in preventing dog attacks could be handled in a more effective and fair manner to all breeds and their owners.
[Your Name Will Go Here]