As it’s Animal Right’s Week, I wanted to highlight what is really a travesty of justice for canines. It’s a travesty because it harms dogs and people AND it doesn’t work.
I’m talking about those unjust laws that ban certain breeds from full participation in society: aka Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).
According to the ASPCA “Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals.”
As with many ill-considered responses to a perceived threat, BSL not only hurts dogs and the people who love them, it doesn’t work!
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) opposes BSL, citing that the difficulty in identifying dog breeds/breed mixes and the inaccuracy of dog bite data that results make BSL ineffective. There are other problems as well, not the least of which is that breed-specific laws are costly and difficult to enforce.
BSL happened because people want a “quick fix” to their problems. Well, we know from the dog training world that quick fixes, especially those designed to be punitive like shock collars and BSL just don’t work. Oh, they appear to work at first, but their are merely suppressing a behavior or situation for the short term and most definitely NOT actually solving a problem for the long term.
In addition to being against BSL because it is wrong, harmful and ineffective, we at Creature Good Dog Training are against BSL because it disproportionately harms those dogs and people we serve – adopted dogs and their people. Far too many targeted breeds such at pit bulls, are passed over for adoption or, worse, euthanized and far too many families have to choose between affordable housing and their beloved dog because of housing breed bans.
Breed Specific Legislation makes it harder for dogs in targeted breeds to get adopted and stay adopted.
Is there any good news?
Yes! Nearly half of all US states (21 states so far) now have some form of anti-breed specific legislation law (you can go here to see where your state stands).
People are becoming more educated about dog communication which is the best way to decrease dog bites and keep people and the dogs who love them safe.
This Friday’s Family-Dog-Love resource email is about understanding dog communication so if you don’t already know the signs that mean a dog is uncomfortable and may escalate to a bite, you’ll want to grab that resource!