Saturday, March 16, 2013

Breed Specific Legislation

Breed Specific Legislation targets specific breeds of dogs based on their appearance and characteristics. I have thought about talking about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) for quite some time.

Why should someone who can't even recognize a pit bull from a poodle have to decide and get the final vote on whether or not pit bulls should be banned? What right do they have to take legislate against something that they have no knowledge on?

A good tip is to keep everything respectful, simple yet very informative.

I'd like to share some writing tips for writing a BSL letter, please see below.

* About - I like to start off by talking about the breed including its origin, standard, characteristics and personality.

* Dog Attacks - I tend to write a paragraph on dog attacks and how every reported dog attack involving a human that is shown that either describes the dog or shows the dog is not an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I explain that the attacks aren't being caused by these breeds of dogs, but the most common breed of dog involved in "pit bull" attacks are American Bullies (I am not saying American Bullies are bad dogs either).

* Breaking Sticks - I believe every bully breed owner or owner of a dog aggressive breed should own a break stick and I believe adding something informative about break sticks and how they are effective if a dog were to get into a fight with another dog is usually a good topic to include. A break stick can easily be used to release a dog's grip on another dog or object.

* Enforcing a breed ban - One thing I add in all of my letters is enforcing a breed ban and how enforcing a breed ban will not improve public safety and steps one can take to prevent dog attacks. Multiple states, counties and cities have realized that banning specific dog breeds isn't the answer regarding improving public safety which is why many have lifted the ban on specific breeds of dogs.

* Why Breed Specific Legislation is wrong - There are many reasons why BSL is wrong, some of those reasons are that BSL targets specific breeds of dogs, BSL may have the owner to do something along the lines of muzzle the dog out in public, spay/neuter the dog, microchip the dog, walk the dog on a specific leash of a specific length. BSL may not allow you to sell, giveaway, transport or take your dog out in public. BSL may have the owner purchase liability insurance. BSL takes our rights away. BSL is unconstitutional.

* Discriminating Against a Breed - If one is dead set on discriminating against a specific breed of dog, I always recommend them to research that breed whether it means reading good books on them or even talking with other owners of the breed. I believe if one who is enforcing a ban can't take the time to research said breed then he or she has no business banning the breed, period. I don't believe any breed of dog should be banned for any reason.

* Guessing Game - I always attach good pictures of at least seven different dog breeds in the letter. I will add a picture of an American Staffordshire Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog and another picture of an American Staffordshire Terrier (all pictures added are of working dogs). I will then ask if they can identify the American Pit Bull Terrier by looking at all the pictures.

* Why? - Why is (enter state/county/city here) wanting to discriminate against (enter breed(s) here)? What is the meaning of (enter state/county/city here) legislating against (enter breed(s) here) and why? (enter state/county/city here) should be about moving forward, not taking one step backwards.

* What you should ask - I ask as a citizen of (enter state/county/city here) that you will not allow a bill that would discriminate against a specific breed of dog to pass and that you will vote against (enter bill name here).

How you can help fight Breed Specific Legislation:

* Educate the public (even if that means handing out pamphlets about your breed of dog to either people who come up to your dog and want to learn more or someone who appears to be looking at your dog in a negative way)

* Be a responsible dog owner and get a break stick and don't allow your bully breed around other dogs, do not take your bully breed to a dog park. If your dog is human aggressive, please euthanize the dog. And, please speak with knowledge.

* Have a well behaved dog and a dog with good manners. Don't have a crazy acting dog in public, have a well behaved and well mannered dog in public.

* I have noticed that "cute" bandannas always seem to attract more positive attention to the breed in public.

* Do not call your dog a pit bull if you have no proof that your dog is a pit bull. Without a pedigree, your dog is a mutt. You are adding to BSL by calling your mutt a pit bull. So, if you got a dog from a shelter, rescue or Craigslist, etc, it is not a pit bull - just call it a mixed breed.

* Send informative letters/e-mails to all of the state representatives and senators as well as the mayor and governor if they were to be legislating against specific breeds of dogs

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