The ASPCA applauds the White House for taking a stand this week against local laws targeting certain dog breeds. We have worked for years to fight these unjust and ineffective laws, known as breed-specific legislation or “BSL.” The Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Bar Association all agree that BSL does not prevent dog bites or enhance public safety.
BSL is counterproductive. Rather than give up their beloved pets, owners of restricted breeds often attempt to hide their “outlaw” dogs by restricting time outdoors and even limiting vet visits. Actions like these, taken to avoid detection, can have negative consequences for both public and canine health.
Studies have concluded that correctly identifying a dog’s breed based on looks alone is a hit-or-miss proposition—and the confusion only grows when dealing with mixed breeds, so these laws are difficult to enforce. Additionally, animal control officers in jurisdictions with BSL end up spending too much time enforcing breed bans instead of routine enforcement of dog licensing laws, leash laws and other regulations that require owners to control their dogs−regardless of breed.
The ASPCA is currently fighting breed discrimination in Massachusetts and Maryland. On the national scale, residents of public housing funded by the federal government are often impacted by rules that unfairly restrict the breeds they may own. The Obama Administration’s statement should instruct federal agencies to review their policies to be sure they don’t allow flawed regulations and breed bans. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to help fight BSL in your area!
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