I try not to get political in this blog, but when you live in Arizona, it’s hard not to think about how one might determine whether or not members of a particular group might be illegal. Which in turn makes me think about how everyone in my family in Austria was declared illegal in the 1930s. As a result, I had a tougher time with this topic than I anticipated.
What is Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) anyway?
Laws that single out a particular breed of dog to regulate rather than dogs in general. Although BSL in the United States has been associated primarily with pit bulls and, to a lesser extent, Rottweilers, any breed can be targeted by any municipality, county, or state. A town could put restrictions on Chihuahuas, say, because its citizens think the dogs are yappy disturbers of the peace.
And these restrictions could take any form. All Chihuahuas could be required to wear special noise mufflers when they go out in public. After three yapping incidents, vocal cord severing might be mandated.
An over-the-top example, you say? After all, noise is not dangerous.
Neither are the vast majority of dogs targeted by BSL. And they’re often put to death — silenced permanently — as a result of these laws.
What’s the justification for these laws?
A comprehensive discussion of this issue is on the Dog Bite Law site, which explains:
Certain breeds of dog have been associated statistically, judicially and politically with an unacceptable level of risk of harm to human beings.
What are the problems with these laws?
- They’re too vague. For example, it’s impossible to define what a pit bull is.
- They don’t work.
Sorry… I’ve been spending way too much time, trying to be dispassionate. So I’m going to turn you over to Oh My Dog! blog which is pretty much devoted to this topic.
And to Dawg Business, who was inspired by my promise of a post to blog on the topic.
Now I’m going off to have a meltdown in private.
Chihuahua image from MikeHipp via Creative Commons