Why MUST we Stop Breed Specific Legislation?
Because no matter who you are: a parent attempting to protect your children, an animal guardian hoping for a chance to live in peace with your companion animal, or a taxpayer tired of your money being wasted on ineffective laws, you need to become involved with this issue because Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) will NOT achieve your intended results.
In fact, BSL will not accomplish anything at all!
There is a very REAL problem of dangerous animals running loose, attacking and sometimes killing human beings. This indeed must be addressed and stopped. But, banning a specific breed of dog or animal simply will not make our society safer. Using Colorado as an example: Their were 600 reported dog bites, and 44 were pit bulls, or pit bull mixes in the past two years. That is 7.6% What about the other 92.4%? You still have 92.4% of dogs out there in the county that have bitten someone. We must go after the irresponsible dog owners. This will engage us in solving 100% of the problem.
There is GOOD legislation now in place in Illinois. Under the "Ryan Armstrong Law" the dog owner is held criminally responsible period. If a dog attacks, the dog can be deemed dangerous and or vicious. If the dog gets out and attacks again, now the OWNER can face a felony charge pending on the circumstances, and face up to five years in prison. There is also up to a $25,000 fine, for the owner being irresponsible.
People that have animals for all of the wrong reasons, no matter what the breed, will not want to go to prison for what their dog did.
So what can we do RIGHT NOW to achieve our desired results of personal/public safety, maintaining private/individual rights, and utilizing public funding to it's best advantage?
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Any time you observe Breed Specific Legislation GET INVOLVED and attempt to educate the politicians and the media with the facts:
According to the American Canine Temperament Testing Association, 82.5% of the American Pit Bull Terriers that took the temperament test passed, compared to a 77% passing rate for all breeds on average. In the test, a dog is placed in a series of confrontational situations. The first sign of aggression or panic is a failure of the test. Pit Bulls have achieved the fourth highest passing rate of all 122 breeds tested.
Click here to view an article on the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling that there is no genetic evidence that one breed of dog is more dangerous than another.
The following is from Glen Bui, Vice President of the American Canine Foundation (ACF),
( BS Biology Genetics / Canine Behavior / Legislative Consultant / Professional Dog Trainer ):
I have divided the numbers of fatal dog attacks vs. the population of some of the breeds listed in fatal attacks. I have been able to obtain statistics on the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) from the American Kennel Club (AKC), American Dog Breeders Association (A.D.B.A.) and United Kennel Club (UKC) for registrations on APBT's. For the other breeds I used AKC/UKC statistics.
Apx. 240,000 - 12 Fatal Attacks Chow Chow .705%
Apx 800.000 - 67 Fatal Attacks German Shepherds .008375%
Apx. 960,000 - 70 Fatal Attacks Rottweiler .00729%
Apx. 128.000 - 18 Fatal Attacks Great Dane .01416%
Apx. 114,000 - 14 Fatal Attacks Doberman .012288%
Apx. 72,000 - 10 Fatal Attacks St Bernard .0139%
Apx 5,000,000- 60 Fatal Attacks American Pit Bull Terrier .0012%
Please keep in mind there are more dogs of these breeds in our population, so I'm not pointing my finger at one specific breed. The Chow shows us the highest figure, but I only had AKC registrations to work with, and I'm sure there are a lot more Chows that do not become registered.
The top six reasons why BSL doesn't Work, brought to us by the American Kennel Club.
#1 Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.
#2 Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.
#3 Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.
#4 Breed-specific laws increase costs for community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds would be euthanized at the shelter.
#5 Some communities have had their breed-specific laws overturned on constitutional grounds. Because proper identification of what dogs would be included is difficult or impossible, the law may be deemed unconstitutionally vague. It may also be found to involve the taking of property without due process.
#6 Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.
Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, the National Animal Interest Alliance, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.
For more information from the American Kennel Club visit their web site at www.akc.org
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is coming up everywhere, they are proposing it in several cities across the United States and attempting a Ballot Initiative for a state level breed ban on APBT's in Colorado, something that has never been attempted before. Everyone needs to participate in making the owners accountable, not any one specific breed.
Start a letter writing campaign to your Alderman, City Council, Cook County Board of Commissioners, State Representatives, the Governor, Senators, the media. Post information, addresses, contact phone numbers and email information on every animal activist web site you can find. Contact everyone who will assist you in spreading the truth, and help to stop BSL in your area.
We applaud Jeff Armstrong and the newly formed group P.A.I.D.O (Parents Against Irresponsible Dog Owners) in their efforts to stop senseless dog attacks by targeting the OWNERS of all breeds. He is an excellent example of how one person can build enough momentum to create positive change and good legislation. Jeff is also a Consultant for the ACF (American Canine Foundation). You can review their Education and Legislation web site.
Click here for one of the many letters he has written to stop BSL in Chicago:
When writing your letter, try to keep these helpful ideas in mind:
* keep the letter strictly to the issue
* be firm, yet not harsh
* do NOT be rude or nasty - these letters will not even be read
* keep it as short as possible - if it is too long, the reader will stop half way through the letter
* always include your full name, address and title if appropriate
Please read this article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Responsible ownership the alternative to breed banning, other restrictions
Here is yet another good idea about how to hold owners responsible: A registration fee of $50 per year if the dog is fixed, $500 if it is not fixed (link below)
Pit Bull Rescue has a page on their web site with a comprehensive overview of the laws that attempt to govern "dangerous dogs" throughout the United States. If you own a pit bull (or other dog deemed dangerous) and do any traveling with your companion, you may want to review this page.
You can also help by being an ambassador for the pit bull breed, and passing along the link to our "Truth About Pit Bulls" page so the public can experience what this breed truly represents.
Negligent owners allowing dangerous animals to harass ordinary citizens and create difficulties for responsible owners is an international problem. Please read some examples of how BSL was DEFEATED in Canada and Germany.
Letter writing campaigns, educating others, effective communication with activist groups and being a good ambassador for well behaved animals are some of the ways you can help stop BSL from starting.
We attempt to stay up to date on as many ways of improving animals lives as possible. Please check out "The Buzz" page for the most current events.
To keep aware of up-to-date information, join the BSL-Updates@yahoogroups.com just click on BSLfirstname.lastname@example.org On this list you will get updates from Lee Ann O'Reilly and my self, Jan Cooper as events unfold along with the necessary contact information.
Another link that is informative is: http://www.onelist.com/community/BSL-UPDATES
GREAT NEWS FOR RESPONSIBLE PIT BULL OWNERS!
Kudos to Colorado Governor Bill Owens, who recently signed into law new legislation, sponsored by Representative Debbie Stafford and Senator Mark Hillman, that holds dog owners liable for their dogs’ actions, even if it is a first attack.
Additionally, the new law prevents communities from banning certain breeds—thereby nullifying Denver’s controversial pit bull ban! Adoptable dogs who were doomed to be euthanized because of their breed may now be placed in loving homes.
Colorado residents, please join us in thanking Rep. Stafford, Senator Hillman and Governor Owens for getting this great law passed. Simply visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center today, where you can send letters of thanks to these forward-thinking legislators. And if you don’t live in Colorado, you can still get involved in passing important humane laws in your state. Just visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center and select your state from the pull-down menu to find out what legislation is pending.
Read the article "Guilty by DNA" in the Boulder Weekly for insite.
Below is artwork donated for some adorable animals: Duke, Ruby, and J.R..