Breed-Specific Legislation Abolished In Six More States? Restrictive BSL Laws Worthless, Study Says
Dogs are barking for joy after learning that six more states may abolish breed-specfiic legislation.
Breed restricting laws make it illegal to own certain breeds of dogs in certain areas. The most commonly restricted dogs are pit bulls, as they have been involved in several highly-publicized attacks and are therefore considered the most dangerous.
However, recent studies have determined that the inherent danger of pit bulls is negligible, and that enforcing breed-specific laws is a complete waste of time and money. The findings were welcomed by a variety of organizations that had already insisted that BSL (breed specific legislation) was a complete failure.
According to The Huffington Post, "Opposition to BSL comes from sources as diverse as the American Bar Association, animal rescue groups, the Center for Disease Control and even President Barack Obama, who said in August that the laws are largely ineffective while doing nothing to improve public safety, and are often a 'waste of public resources.'"
The six states that are currently considering changing their BSL are Missouri, Maryland, Utah South Dakota, Washington, and Vermont. Seventeen states have already eliminated breed restrictions.
The new survey conducted by Best Friends Animal Society determined that the overwhelming majority of citizens, dog owners or not, disagreed with breed-specific legislation, reporting that, "84 percent of those polled believe that local, state or federal governments should not infringe on a person's right to own whatever breed of dog they choose."
Ledy VanKavage, a spokesperson for Best Friends, said that the survey demonstrates an important shift in the perception of dogs in American society. Where they were once simply considered a utility for herding or protecting or retrieving, people now "view dogs as members of their family."
VanKavage went on to argue that lawsuits resulting from BSL are expensive and ridiculous, both for dog owners and for the government.
"More and more cities are getting sued," she said. "If a city tried to take my dog simply because of its breed, I'd lawyer up in a minute," she added.
Pit bulls are the primary targets for BSL. VanKavage said that this catastrophic for the dogs in the long run, because it "contributes to the overall perception of pit bulls as different, which inevitably works its way into the public conscience and effects adoptions, shelter policies, and even other public policy."
Although pit bull attacks are exceedingly rare, it is estimated that Baltimore spends $992,606 per year enforcing their BSL laws.