Thursday, July 12, 2012
BSL is a very sad thing as seen in recent days.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a law that bans OR restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs.
**It is a common misconception that BSL refers only to breed bans. BSL is seen in two forms: bans and restrictions.**
Breed-specific restrictions may require an owner of a targeted breed do any of the following or more, depending on how the law is written:
Muzzle the dog in public
Spay or neuter the dog
Contain the dog in a kennel with specific requirements (6′ chain link walls, lid, concrete floors, etc.)
Keep the dog on a leash of specific length or material
Purchase liability insurance of a certain amount
Place “vicious dog” signs on the outside of the residence where the dog lives
Make the dog wear a “vicious dog” tag or other identifying marker
Breed specific ordinances are quick fixes and not a sufficient long term solution for the following reasons:
1. Dog problems are generally problems with owner responsibility and are not limited to breeds. When breeds are singled out as dangerous or vicious, responsibility is removed from the dog owner which is where it belongs. Irresponsible people are also less likely to follow the law - and as a result, everyone has to suffer.
2. By limiting the ability of citizens to own certain breeds, responsible law abiding citizens will shy away from those breeds. These are the types of owners that communities need to encourage, not drive away.
3. Communities that have instituted such bans often find that the irresponsible owners and the criminals who use dogs for illegal purposes simply switch to another breed.
4. Breeds and mixes are hard to identify and often dogs are mis labeled and destroyed based on paranioa and prejudice and also punishes those that are good canine citizens. Many breeds function as assistance dogs for handicapped owners, search and rescue dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, police dogs, etc. and drives them out of the community.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and several state veterinary medical associations oppose breed-specific legislation for just this reason.
5. The dog most restricted is the "pit bull." A pit bull is a type of dog, not a recognized breed. See the breed information page for more detail.
6. Passage of laws that are only enforced through complaints cause two problems: 1) they create disrespect for the law if authorities require compliance only upon complaint, and 2) they provide ammunition for neighborhood feuds.
In my own opinion, I have always said any dog can become vicious if they are raised by their owner to be such. Banning a dog or animal just because they are a certain breed or in the Lennox case, just because he looked to have pit in him, is totally absurd. We have all been saddened by his unnecessary death, but let's make it a time to educate, and give other animals a chance to find their forever homes. The American Kennel Club has a free education program created for elementary school children. By showing hate to those that took Lennox's life only adds fuel to the fire. I do not agree they did the right thing but when we show hate to them, it only brings us to their level as well. May Lennox rest in peace, he will forever be in our hearts. Your feeling sad? Visit your local animal shelter and give another a chance at life they may not have otherwise. I guarantee your spirit will be lifted. RIP Lennox.