Around the world, dog guardians are losing their rights. They are losing the right to pick a pet for themselves or their family. They are discriminated against when applying for housing. It is sometimes impossible to get homeowners insurance. People are even forced to move or risk having their dog killed. All because of ill-conceived legislation that is ineffective against dog bites and dog bite related fatalities. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) are laws that single out breeds of dogs for restriction (muzzling, hefty insurance, etc) or outright banning. Time and time again, these types of laws prove ineffective in reducing dog bites or fatalities.
This community will serve as a clearing house for news articles or proposed legislation dealing with banning or restricting dogs based on breed, physical structure, size or any other bizarre, unfounded reason.
The goal is to motivate people to write letters to the editor, legislators and anyone who will listen and encourage them to print fair articles and propose fair, common sense legislation.
Anyone who loves dogs is welcome. This is not a breed-specific community.
Good quote about the efficacy of BSL:
Denver, Colorado Pit bulls have, for the most part, been banned for nearly 20 years. When asked if the ban has been effective, Denver direct or animal control, Doug Kelley, "People ask me a whole bunch whether the pit bull ordinance is effective, and my answer is, I don't know."
Groups Against BSL Most animal advocacy, child safety and human health groups oppose BSL as a valid method of decreasing dog bites. stop_bsl's listings of GROUPS AGAINST BSL
Misconception #1:BSL Targets the Most Reported Biters Let's also be fair: Dog bite reports are notoriously inaccurate, relying heavily on personal perception and possible bias when labeling a dog's breed. Whenever a dog is a mixed breed, it should be labeled as such. Willmar, Minnesota : For several years, the number one biters have been "mixed breed" dogs, followed by Labrador Retrievers.
Iowan city For three years in a row, Labrador Retrievers have topped the bite list Victoria, Australia Between 1997-1999, 700 attacks were reported. Forty-six breeds were identified. - German Shepherd: 127 attacks - Cattle dog: 90 attacks In fact, Rottweilers, Kelpies, Labrador Retrievers,Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers,Crossbreeds, Dobermans, Boxers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks bit more frequently than the American Pit Bull Terrier (21 bites). In Winnipeg 1989: 31% of dog bites committed by German Shepherds and their crosses; only 9% committed by pit bulls and their mixes. Pit bulls banned. (Source for the two UK references and Winnipeg) Edmonton, Canada - Since a 1997 implementation of breed restriction, 4 breeds have the same bite rate as pit bulls and 11 breeds exceed the number of bites inflicted by pit bulls. Source: Page 8 Kitchener/Waterloo - Number of pit bull bites: 18. Number of German Shepherd bites: 85 - Pit bulls banned. Perth County,Ontario - Dog bite statistics compiled since January 2002 show just 1% of bites attributed to 'pit bulls'. One third of reported bites were caused by mixed breed dogs, and the top five biting breeds were, in order: Chow Chow, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Dachshund, and Rottweiler. Source Ottawa, Ontario - Of the nearly 900 reports of bite incidents in Ottawa, Ontario for the last three years, only five were attributable to pit bulls. The largest number of bite incidents involved Black Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. Source UK study Percentage of bites by THREE breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Doberman) BEFORE BSL: 6% Percentage of bites by German Shepherd BEFORE BSL: 24% German Shepherds are not banned.
Misconception #2: BSL reduces dog bites The basic premise behind BSL is that it will reduce the rate and frequency of dog bites inflicted on humans (based on the assumption that certain types of dogs are both more dangerous and bite more frequently than other breeds of dogs). Aurora, CO (2008): In 2005, Aurora banned pit bulls. After two years, total number of dog bites has increased more than 30%. San Francisco, California : San Francisco implemented a mandatory spay/neuter law for pit bulls in 2006. Pit bull bites decreased, while the overall number of dog bites more than doubled in the first six months of 2007 from 109 - 227. Middletown (April, 2007)Middletown lifted its two year ban of pit bulls. Pit Bulls comprised 5% of bites before and after the ban. From April 2007 - October 2007, pit bulls have bitten twice. UK, 2007 dog bites were at a record high with a 10% increase from 2006 and a 50% increase since 1998/99. The Dangerous Dog Act, banning four breeds, has not worked in reducing dog bites. June of 2007, the number of hospitalizations from dog bites have doubled since the implementation of the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act. UK Study A study was performed to ascertain the efficacy of the breed ban. Number of bites BEFORE the breed ban: 99 in a three-month period. Percentage of bites by pit bulls BEFORE the breed ban: 3% Number of bites 2 years AFTER the breed ban: 99 in a three-month period. Percentage of bites by pit bulls AFTER the breed ban: 5% In this case, the number of bites did not decrease after the breed ban AND the number of bites by a prohibited breed increased.
Misconception #3: Pit bulls are ALWAYS the top biters (and that their bites are always more severe) See above for evidence to the contrary. South Australia:September,2008: The number one and two biters are Kelpies and Jack Russell Terriers. Redding, California bite statistics for 2006 - Number one biter: Labrador Retriever (22 bites) - Number one breed causing major wounds: Blue Heeler (8 major bites, 11 total bites) - Pit bull statistics: 13 bites total; 9 minor, 4 major - Jack Russell Terrier: 12 bites total; 9 minor, 3 major New South Wales bite statistics for 2006 - Top three biting breeds: German Shepherds, Cattle dogs, Rottweilers
Misconception #4: There is no Media Bias - The Public is Always in the Loop as to Dog Bite Reports Lincoln, NE: September 2008 Entire article is supposed to be about dangerous dogs, yet the focus is on a loose pit bull who does nothing but walk down a street. Dog did not act aggressive. Dog did not threaten animals, cars or people. Oconee County, South Carolina August 2008: Preface: Pit bulls (APBTs, ASTs) weigh between 30-70lbs. This news story reports a "pit bull" attack inflicted by a 130-150 lb dog. That is not a pit bull. New Jersey: August, 2008 Title of article, "Newark arrests complicated by pit bull" with another reading "Pit bull attacks cop". The truth? The dog sat there and did nothing, even though his miscreant owner encouraged an attack. August, 2008 In Victorville, CA, the local paper covers the story of a loose 'pit bull' attacking a teenager. This is 70th dog bite of the year and the 1st 'pit bull' bite in THREE years. Searching the archives of the paper reveals they have not covered ANY of the other 70 dog bites. July 2008: Horrible example of falsifying information to sensationalize an already tragic story January 27, 2008 media outlets reported a woman had been mauled to death by her pet pit bulls in Illinois. As the media scrambled to paint pit bulls as devil-worshipping baby killers, the coroner was doing an autopsy. The woman died of a drug overdose, the bites were inflicted post-mortem. January 28, 2008 , UK media reported dozens of times that a Rottweiler had savagely mauled to death his owner. The dog,aged 10, had never been aggressive. Witness reports of the dog licking (not biting) were deleted and only the most sensational accounts were included. It turns out that man died of a massive stroke and the dog was frantically trying to wake him up - the dog did NOT maul the man. Only one news agency reported on the coroner's findings. Lorain, Ohio Of the 70 dog bites, only 5 were committed by pit bulls. Every single one of those bites, regardless of severity, were reported in the media. New Zealand & Australia Two studies show that: - Media reports tend to misidentify attacking dogs as pit bulls when bites were more severe - Severity based on breed was not statistically different - 16% of the 8% of pit bull bites were considered 3-5 in severity (five being most severe). A breed comparison shows that Dalmatians had a 3-5 severity rate of 24%; Rottweiler 21%; Doberman 17%; Golden Retriever 16%. Pit Bulls do not cause significantly more damage than other breeds. Source: Page 7 Prince Edward Island Title of Google News article is "Pit Bull put down after biting boy" - However, in the text of the news article, the breed of dog is identified as a boxer.
Real World Examples of Dog Bites Caused by other Breeds in Regions with BSL
Is BSL good for taxpayers? The cost of enforcing breed specific legislation is often high, especially since resources are wasted on calls from "concerned neighbors" regarding possible banned breed presence. London, Ontario The province of Ontario banned pit bulls in 2005 - Percentage of licensed pit bulls: 4% - Percentage of time (and money) animal control spends on pit bull related calls: 25% - Percent of money spent on enforcing ban: 10% or $170,000 per year. Windsor, Canada - An extra $26,000 each year is spent on enforcing a pit bull ban United Kingdom's Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 - Cost for IDENTIFYING pit bulls: $14 million Source: Page 8 - Yearly costs in litigation: $10 million Cincinnati, Ohio - During a 10-year period, the city spent $160,000 per year trying to enforce a pit bull ban Omaha, NE estimates enforcing a pit bull restriction will cost up to $500,000 per year.
We want to encourage others to become more active, even if it is simply engaging in some letter-writing campaigns!
So, to make life a bit easier for everyone, please consider the following suggestions:
• Do post links to news articles, but also include contact information for the editor and reporter behind a cut. Please also keep the text of the article behind the cut. • Do post links to proposed ordinances or legislation singling out specific types of dogs. Also, behind a cut include contact information for the local city council, assembly or senate members, or any appropriate contact people. • Do post information regarding public hearings, including location, time, speaking limits, etc. • Do share personal stories of discrimination or successful prevention of BSL. • Do post template letters that people can personalize and send to legislators or news agencies. • Please check the tags and memories feature for more important and useful information.
Rules of Conduct 1. Please stay on topic. This is a community about BSL so anything related to breed specific legislation is fair game. Pictures of pets and subjects unrelated to discriminatory legislation are better suited to other communities. 2. This goes without saying: Be respectful of fellow members. Debates and discussions are okay, but let's try and keep it civil. 3. Anonymous comments are prohibited. 4. Comments referring to the elimination, destruction or massacre of any breed are prohibited.
Here is a simple form to put before your lj-cut to help people focus:
• Be respectful. Always. No one wants to read a condemning diatribe. • Keep it short, especially if you are writing to legislators or editors. • If writing a letter to the editor, please be considerate of any rules they may have, like number of words. • Feel free to post your letter here, so we can help modify or bestow praise. • Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check. • Please view this post in regards to letter writing for effect.