Breed specific legislation is discrimination of dogs based on how they look rather than how they act. It is unjust and ineffective. It punishes innocent dogs and dog owners and doesn’t solve any real problems.
Pit bulls are the main focus of breed specific legislation. Pit bulls are not a single breed, but a class of four breeds. These four breeds are the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American bully.
According to aspca.org the beginning of breed specific legislation was in the late 1980s, coinciding with gang members increased ownership of pit bull breeds.
The shift of public opinion led to several locations in the United States along with the entirety of the United Kingdom to begin outlawing breeds the government viewed as dangerous. This includes not only pit bulls, but often times other threatening-looking dogs such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs and Doberman Pinschers.
Once a dog breed is banned, owners of that breed are forced to surrender their dog, no matter the dog’s individual temperament, personality or history. The dogs then are either relocated or euthanized.
Aspca.org argues breed banning not only has no effect on safety, but can even worsen the situation. They said breed specific legislation can provide a false sense of security and misdirect public resources.
According to ASPCA’s website, “Breed-specific laws have a tendency to compromise rather than enhance public safety.”
Katherine O’Shea, animal rights activist and volunteer at Bark Works Animal Rescue, said the way dogs act is usually a result of their owner’s treatment and training. She said that her personal experience with pitbulls has been great.
“My grandma’s pit bull is named Honey and she just cuddles up on your lap and is the sweetest thing,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea said breed banning hurts both owners and their dogs.
“You can’t make a dog illegal because that makes the dog’s entire existence illegal and that’s just cruel to the animal. It’s cruel emotionally to the animal and physically to the animal,” O’Shea said.
Instead of punishing an entire breed and their owners for the mistakes of the few, we should focus on encouraging responsible dog owners.