You may have heard the term “breed specific legislation” (BSL) when people talk about pit bulls. What exactly is BSL and why is it harmful to this beautiful but misunderstood dog? Breed specific legislation is when a local jurisdiction creates laws to regulate your right to own a particular breed of dog considered to be dangerous (mostly pit bulls). BSL is often a knee-jerk reaction by a town in response to an isolated dog bite case, or even just general negative stereotypes about a particular breed of dog.
The biggest problem with BSL is that it fails to address the most important issue—irresponsible dog ownership—by instead directing focus on a specific type of dog. According to the organization Pit Bull Rescue Central, breed specific legislation harms both dogs and responsible owners by banning ownership of a breed that needs our support…not our condemnation. Communities with BSL laws are more likely to euthanize dogs identified (often mistakenly) as pit bulls. While this type of dog is destroyed, other kinds of dogs that really do exhibit dangerous behaviors—and their negligent owners—are left alone.
What are some practical alternatives to BSL? Pit Bull Rescue Central has common-sense solutions to address the issue fairly. Local jurisdictions should implement and enforce strict, but general, dangerous dog laws. Dogs of any breed can be dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible owner. Anti-nuisance laws pertaining to all dogs should also be in place. The public should also be better educated about both responsible dog ownership and how to be safe around dogs (this is especially important for children).
Want to learn more about how you can help pit bulls—and all dogs—in your community? Check out the Pit Bull Rescue Central website for more information.
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