Breed-specific legislation is a law passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds.
Some jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds commonly used in dog fighting, and some government organizations such as the United States Army and Marine Corps have taken administrative action as well. This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs, to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally “dangerous” or “vicious.” In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municipal governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation.
Certain dog breeds including pit bulls are a public safety issue that merits actions such as banning ownership, mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs of these breeds, mandatory microchip implants and liability insurance, or prohibiting people convicted of a felony from owning them.
There is a large group that says, “ban pit bulls and their closely related breeds.” This group of advocates is diverse and respected, and it even includes Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). They see the pit bull as overly dangerous and overly abused by mankind. The danger of pit bulls and Rottweilers is well established, in that they account for 75% of all reported canine-inflicted human deaths in the past two decades. It is undisputed that pit bulls in particular are the most abused dog in the USA; created for the specific purpose of violence, the dogs are treated cruelly to make them as dangerous as possible, and are routinely abandoned when they are not vicious enough for their evil masters.
There are two articles that present very well the argument in support of breed bans. The first is by an attorney who won the famous Denver breed ban case. The City of Denver passed a breed ban against pit bulls which the State of Colorado attempted to overturn. The State lost in court because the City produced the evidence that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. The story of that case, and a review of that evidence, is contained in Nelson K. One City’s Experience – Why Pit Bulls Are More Dangerous and Breed-Specific Legislation is Justified. Muni Lawyer, July/August 2005, Vol. 46, No. 4.
The second is an article that considered the problem from a humane standpoint. The following rationale for banning pit bulls appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 8, 2005. It was written by Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the author of “Making Kind Choices” (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2005).
Controlling an animal as deadly as a weapon
— Ingrid Newkirk
Most people have no idea that at many animal shelters across the country, any pit bull that comes through the front door doesn’t go out the back door alive. From California to New York, many shelters have enacted policies requiring the automatic destruction of the huge and ever-growing number of “pits” they encounter. This news shocks and outrages the compassionate dog-lover.
Here’s another shocker: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the very organization that is trying to get you to denounce the killing of chickens for the table, foxes for fur or frogs for dissection, supports the shelters’ pit-bull policy, albeit with reluctance. We further encourage a ban on breeding pit bulls.
The pit bull’s ancestor, the Staffordshire terrier, is a human concoction, bred in my native England, I’m ashamed to say, as a weapon. These dogs were designed specifically to fight other animals and kill them, for sport. Hence the barrel chest, the thick hammer-like head, the strong jaws, the perseverance and the stamina. Pits can take down a bull weighing in at over a thousand pounds, so a human being a tenth of that weight can easily be seriously hurt or killed.
Pit bulls are perhaps the most abused dogs on the planet. These days, they are kept for protection by almost every drug dealer and pimp in every major city and beyond. You can drive into any depressed area and see them being used as cheap burglar alarms, wearing heavy logging chains around their necks (they easily break regular collars and harnesses), attached to a stake or metal drum or rundown doghouse without a floor and with holes in the roof. Bored juveniles sic them on cats, neighbors’ small dogs and even children.
In the PETA office, we have a file drawer chock-full of accounts of attacks in which these ill-treated dogs with names like “Murder” and “Homicide” have torn the faces and fingers off infants and even police officers trying to serve warrants. Before I co-founded PETA, I served as the chief of animal-disease control and director of the animal shelter in the District of Columbia for many years. Over and over again, I waded into ugly situations and pulled pit bulls from people who beat and starved them, or chained them to metal drums as “guard” dogs, or trained them to attack people and other animals. It is this abuse, and the tragedy that comes from it, that motivates me.
Those who argue against a breeding ban and the shelter euthanasia policy for pit bulls are naive, as shown by the horrifying death of Nicholas Faibish, the San Francisco 12-year-old who was mauled by his family’s pit bulls.
Tales like this abound. I have scars on my leg and arm from my own encounter with a pit. Many are loving and will kiss on sight, but many are unpredictable. An unpredictable Chihuahua is one thing, an unpredictable pit another.
People who genuinely care about dogs won’t be affected by a ban on pit- bull breeding. They can go to the shelter and save one of the countless other breeds and lovable mutts sitting on death row. We can only stop killing pits if we stop creating new ones. Legislators, please take note.
REASONS WHY BSL IS Positive and EFFECTIVE IN PROTECTING THE PUBLIC
– Dog control problems are people problems, and are not limited to a breed or mix. However some breeds are more prone to do certain things – pit bulls are more prone to attack and not let go while hunting dogs are more prone to hunt.
– Banning a breed or declaring it inherently vicious punishes those responsible dog owners but also stops a violent animal being in a public place example alligators cannot be kept as pets in many areas – to protect the public .
– Breeds and mixes are easy to identify with simple dna testing .
– The “pit bull” is a TYPE of dog bred for fighting
– Laws on “types” of dogs will cause owners of those “types” to move away or respect bsl laws – meaning they will have to muzzle their dog in public – giving the public greater safety and stops kids getting mauled