Have you ever heard in the news that a certain city is trying to pass BSL and wondered what that is? BSL stands for “Breed Specific Legislation”. It is a law or laws that ban or severely restrict the ownership of a particular breed of dog. These laws declare an entire breed “dangerous or vicious” based on a single incident or on the actions of a few members of the breed. Did you know that many states and communities already have BSL in place? Some of the communities have outright bans of breeds, others have Breed Specific Restriction Laws, which can require dog owners to muzzle their dog in public, purchase liability insurance, or keep their dog confined in a kennel with specific requirements.
Breed-specific legislation applies only to dogs of a certain appearance.
The breed most often targeted for BSL is the pit bull, but “pit bull” is not a breed. It is a catch-all phrase used to describe Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers or any mix of these breeds. There are at least 11 breeds that have the looks of a “pit bull”. If BSL is passed in your community, you might very well be targeted for having a boxer, a bulldog, a bull terrier, a cane corso, a mastiff or a rottweiler.
According to the American Temperment Testing Society, “Pit Bulls” rate in the 82 percentile. Meaning that of the bully breeds tested, 80% of them passed the temperament test. You might be surprised to know that all breeds tested fell within the 71-92 percentile, from Chihuahuas to Shih Tzus!
The dangerousness of a dog is directly related to ownership practices. Studies have shown that dog owner mismanagement; dogs not properly socialized, trained or contained, is frequently the cause of dog bites. A better alternative to BSL would be Stronger dog laws with an emphasis on abuse prevention, and irresponsible owner regulation. To see if your community has BSL or is considering it, visit:
How did you do on the photo quiz?
A. Tosu Inu, B. Dogo Argentino, C. Cane Corso, D. Bullmastiff, E. American Bulldog, F. American Pit Bull Terrier, G. Bull Terrier, H. Boxer