While Pit Bulls and the bully type breeds are the most common to be targeted, BSL legislation in some states and municipalities also ban Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Chows, Akitas, or other large dogs perceived as dangerous, vicious or aggressive.
Why BSL is not Acceptable
Dogs are as individual and unique as the human species. Their temperaments and dispositions are a combination of breeding and bloodlines, reproductive status (whether they’ve been spayed or neutered), early socialization, and training. Irresponsible, uneducated owners who have failed to spay/neuter or socialize their dogs at an early age are generally the cause of vicious and aggressive behavior.
The inherited aggressiveness of the bully breed is generally towards other animals, not people. Dog or animal aggression should never be confused with people aggression. The bully breeds are known to be loving, loyal and protective companions but should be socialized with other animals at an early age. With early socialization and proper training, the bully breeds make excellent pack and family members.
A common slogan among anti-BSL activists is “punish the deed, not the breed.” Dogs are as individual as the people who own and love them, and none should be unfairly judged because of their appearance or breed. BSL legislation is forcing owners of targeted breeds to either move, re-home their beloved family members, or turn them into animal control facilities to be destroyed.
Breed specific legislation fails to acknowledge dogs that are valuable and contributing members of society; law enforcement canines, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, assistance dogs for the disabled, and loyal, loving family members. If these dogs fall into a breed category subject to BSL in a particular locality, they are banned as well, regardless of their temperament or disposition.
The news media is a large contributor to this growing problem. They jump to report any wrongdoing on the part of breeds perceived as dangerous. Yet they fail to report the many instances of heroic deeds or daily acts of kindness these breeds display. They zero in on bites and attacks perpetuated by a BSL-targeted breed, and for the most part, ignore similar stories involving smaller dogs. In this way, they feed society’s hunger for drama and sensationalism. In doing so, the dogs become the ultimate victims of their biased and slanted reporting.
What Needs to be Done
States and municipalities need to concentrate their laws on dangerous, aggressive dogs that are a menace to society, regardless of breed. However, legislation should also stipulate that dogs that bite someone during the commission of a crime while trying to protect themselves, their owner, or their owners property be exempt from this designation.
There should be stricter laws for owners who fail to socialize and contain their dogs or for those who choose to breed, train and encourage aggressive behavior. Responsible owners and their dogs should not be punished by society because of the actions or ignorance of a few.
For the government to ban ownership of a dog based on breed alone is social injustice of the highest order. To engage in wholesale slaughter as a means of elimination is nothing short of genocide. That our stewardship of other species is taken so lightly is a testament to our failure as a reasoning and compassionate society.
For More Information
For information on whether your city or state has enacted, or is considering BSL legislation, visit Understand-A-Bull
For more information on BSL and how to defend your dog in the fight against BSL, go to ForPitsSake.org.
If you’re considering adding a bully breed to the family, PitBullLovers.com has a wealth of breed-related information.