Breed Specific Legislation


What the hell is BSL? I know the answer but still ask the question. Breed Specific Legislation refers to laws that ban or place regulations on certain breed types. In most cases, breeds are completely banned. In counties and states where BSL bans exist, even the most well-behaved, properly trained dogs are removed from their home for no other reason than “conforming” to the outlawed breed. There is no way to keep the dog just because he’s a “good dog” and has no violent history. The dogs are then euthanized or in rare cases, sent to rescue groups and organizations that fall outside the BSL county or state jurisdiction.

What are the most commonly restricted breeds? American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, American Bulldogs, and Mastiffs.

I live in Miami-Dade County, a place where BSL completely bans “Pit Bull Dogs”. According to Miami-Dade Municipal Code, Section 5-17, a Pit Bull Dog is any dog that “substantially conforms to the standards established by the American Kennel Club” for the following breeds: American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers or any other dog that displays characteristics of these breeds. Yes, even if a dog has a teeny resemblance to one of these breeds, he will be confiscated and the owner slapped with a $500 fine. These Pits end up at Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. Some are successfully adopted by residents in neighboring counties or sent to outside rescue groups but most are euthanized within hours or days.

Blanket restrictions on certain breeds are not only unfair, they’re ignorant. Not all Pit Bulls are aggressive man-eaters just like not all Maltese’s are fluffy bundles of joy. Instead of punishing a breed, why not punish the owner of the dangerous dog, no matter what breed? As a volunteer at Miami-Dade Animal Services, I see Pit Bulls come in constantly who have been seized for no other fault than because they resemble a Pittie. When I take them out to play, the vast majority are extremely loving and gentle. Some came from families with kids; many are just happy at the chance to give a human some big slobbery kisses. And sadly, most are put down. Meanwhile there is no proof BSL reduces dog attacks.

Texas and New York enacted owner-specific laws or “breed-neutral legislation”, meaning dog owners are directly responsible for their dogs. These laws address dangerous dogs and reckless owners and are a proven effective method in reducing dog attacks. Owners are charged and required to fulfill a number of requirements (spay/neuter, no tethering, etc.) that have been proven to reduce dog bites. Did you know more than 70% of dog bites come from unneutered male dogs? Both TX and NY are against BSL and recognize ultimately, owners are responsible for their dogs and it is not fair to place restrictions based on breed alone. Hopefully, other states and counties will start to recognize the same truths.

What do you think about BSL? Here’s my opinion 😉 ::

If you’d like to read more about breed-neutral laws, check out why the ASPCA favors these laws over breed-specific legislation here.

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18 responses to “Breed Specific Legislation

  1. I would like to see more requirements RE spay/neuter for several reasons. This is yet another good reason to neuter your dog- REGARDLESS of breed!

  2. Pingback: Liebster Blog Award | Iowa Dog Blog

  3. Owner responsibility makes far more sense than picking on a certain breed.

  4. It is discrimination of the worst kind to blame an entire breed for the behaviour of the few. Would this approach ever be applied to people? No.

    I never knew that 70% of dog bites come from unneutered male dogs.

  5. It is not the dogs..it is the owners who are at fault.

    Yes I agree that certain types of dog are inclined to be dangerous but this is due to in-breeding and also to those who train dogs for sport.

    This is what should be banned and is far more important than whether one dogs resembles a banned type. Get rid of the Dog Fighters….that is horrific and the dogs are bred and trained for this purpose.
    Is it the fault of the dog? No definitely not!

  6. I had problems in Dade County with 2 of my pups 7 eighths Staffy and 1 eighth American Staff,the neo Nazis concerned,were a supposed DR Pizano who I queried on numerous occasions whether she was a qualified vet and a Moron Sean Gallagher who would have done Adolph Hitler proud.We eventually got the 2 dogs out and they now live in Washington much to Pizano and Gallaghers disgust.
    Having said that to rid the USA of BSL you have to Vote the Councillors and all concerned out of power and try and get Decent Human Beings representing the Voters preferably Independants.
    Herein lies the problem as Voters to-day will run off and Vote Republican cos their Daddy did,I know a family that lost 2 Dogs to BSL in a Democrat area and still run off and Vote for the Democrats.
    As long as Voters behave this way BSL will exist and family-pets will be murdered,that is a fact,polticians like Obama are not interested,his only concern is his re-election campaign.

  7. BSL is as stupid as regulating hobby breeders. The good always gets swept up with the bad and once a government starts to regulate, they generally paint with a broad brush. I will never understand why many national rescue groups have thrown their lot in with those who want to regulate hobby breeders. To me it is all the same thing. If it is good to regulate one thing for perceived wrongs, then where to stop? (I know that is not your point, but it is something that always has me scratching my head when BSL is brought up.)

    By the way “inbreeding’ doesn’t cause dangerous animals unless that is the type of temperament one is choosing to replicate. You can bred two totally unrelated dogs and still get a dangerous animal. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are “inbred” but I think one would be hard pressed to find one that is truly dangerous.

    • We are definitely not fans of BSL!! And we don’t agree with limiting one group if others are allowed free reign. I agree that inbreeding does not cause dangerous dogs. I do think it can be detrimental to the pet’s health and excessive inbreeding can obviously cause serious problems due to the limited gene pool.

  8. I understand and appreciate you concern but good dogs of certain breeds can become aggressive in certain situations. I do not want my grandchildren to be in peril because a a dog owner is not responsible for his pet. Unfortunately bad practices make bad laws. Too many dog owners refuse to abide by rules or are willing to admit they have a bad dog.

    • No child should ever be in danger due to a dangerous dog/negligent owner however I know it happens all the time. 70% of dog attacks are on children or the elderly, another scary stat. I wish that only responsible owners were allowed to have dogs- it would eliminate so many problems. The sad part about BSL is that, in turn, only outlaws have these breeds and most are kept underground (no spay/neuter, no medical care, in poor conditions, etc.). The reason the CDC decided not to support BSL is because they say the AKC does not have an Aggressive Breed List and there is no accuracy in dog bite data.
      In the end, I just wish people would be held accountable for contributing and causing such aggressive dogs- and more so than a quick stint in jail and an invitation to rejoin the NFL!

  9. thank you for responding to my blog post on BSL! I agree with everything you said, however i wasn’t aware about the laws in texas and new york- it makes me happy that atleast 2 states are thinking clearly and making the owners, not the dog, responsible for their actions!

  10. Pingback: Repealing the Pit Bull Ban in Miami | For The Love of My Dogs

  11. Pingback: Repealing the Pit Bull Ban in Miami | For The Love of My Dogs

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