More information on Canine Legislation can be found on the AKC website.
What is BSL?
Imagine the following scenario about you and your dog. You own a dog that you love. Youíve spent time and money on food, vet care, toys, training, and other expenses. You are a law-abiding owner. You keep your dog on a leash & pick up after her when you walk her. Your dog is registered with the county, has all the required vaccinations, & is well behaved. Perhaps she is a certified therapy dog, has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test & the American Temperament Test. She's part of your life & your family. Then, months, possibly years, after you have lived with her, the police show up at your door. They tell you that the local government gives you two options: move your dog to a place where "her kind" is allowed, or turn her in to animal control, where she will be destroyed. HUH? WHY? She has never attacked anyone. She's never bitten anyone or anyone else's dog. She doesnít bark all day long. She doesn't dig or chase the neighbor's dogs or cats. You donít allow her to roam loose, unattended in your neighborhood. So why is the government after your dog? Because her type has been placed on a list of "dangerous" dogs: dogs that are, because of their physical features, condemned as being "viciousî. This is the unfair reality that hits owners in cities, states, or countries where Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is enacted. Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, is any law (generally a city, county, or state law) that attempts to force a dog owner to do any of the following for owning a certain type of dog:
Have extra liability insurance, generally totaling over $100,000 to cover the dog
Muzzling whenever the dog is on public property, or not allowing it to leave the owner's property at all.
The complete removal of that type of dog from an area, whether by forcing owners to give up their dogs for euthanasia or requiring them to move their families or their dog somewhere else. BSL is an attempt at quelling a problem that is not rooted in one specific type of dog, which is where the laws immediately fail. The problem lies in many things, such as irresponsible breeding, neglect, or incorrect, dangerous training; however, breed alone is not the issue. Not only does it fail to address the real problems behind the dangerous dogs, but also it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. And just who is fueling the fire, whipping up the flames of this hysteria? Who is driving the onslaught of anti-dog legislation? Your local paper, TV or radio station - with inaccurate reports which use inflammatory language & show unrelated footage of dogfights. Every time a dog attacks it is suddenly reported as being a pit bull no matter what the breed or mix is. Why isnít the finger pointed to the owner? Across the country and around the world - cities, counties and local town councils are busy banning or restricting breeds instead of punishing irresponsible substandard behavior.
Breed bans - an outright ban on owning a specific breed of dog
Breed-specific sterilization - owners are forced to spay or neuter animal
Breed-specific insurance requirements - forces owners to obtain the unobtainable "vicious" breed insurance - in reality this forces owners to surrender dogs or move
Weight or size restrictions - banning dogs over an arbitrarily determined weight or size - as in Fairfield, Iowa where all dogs over 100 lbs are banned (St. Bernard, Newfoundland, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, etc.)
"The formula for creating a dangerous dog has been demonstrated (use in negative functions, abuse, poor socialization, chaining, dogs maintained as a pack, etc.). The formula for creating a dangerous breed is something entirely different. Since no breed of dog is inherently vicious, the creation of a 'viciousbreed' is in reality the creation of an image."
- Karen Delise