Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

Miami started the fad of banning pitbulls, thinking it was a public safety measure.  Many communities followed.

Does banning pitbulls make your community safer?  Yes, but so does banning Cocker Spaniels and Chihuahuas.   Most dog bites are the result of irresponsible dog owners, but poor ownership qualities become more noticeable as the size and the power of the breed increases.  A bad Chihuahua owner is hardly noticed because the bite of a Chihuahua rarely needs medical attention.  Bites caused by pitbulls are increasingly causing fatalities… thus the decision communities take to ban them.

Are Pitbulls getting a bad reputation?  Yes and no, Pitbulls are very loyal dogs, but they attract the worst pet owners; on top of that, genetics play a role that makes the dogs predisposed to aggression towards other animals.  Many humans are bitten trying to protect their pet from an attacking Pitbull.

People always find their way around the BSL laws.  When Pitbull owners discover that their breed has been unmasked, they simply respond saying that the dog is a service animal.  You already know how I feel about the abuses of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) concerning service animals; but, now you have communities dealing with the dilemma of dealing with Pitbulls as an ADA issue.

The chant opposing BSL is, “The deed, not the breed.”  The idea is that if a dog is aggressive, it will display that aggression by biting someone.  Given that every dog has the potential to bite, you don’t arbitrarily ban a breed without proof of aggression.  In theory, this sounds fair, but the problem arises that someone now has to be bitten.  The idea of BSL is to prevent bites before they occur.

We now live in a world in which people want to champion the cause of the under dogs and as such we are seeing a movement to rescind BSL laws in many cities.  Some State have created laws prohibiting breed specific laws.  Although this movement will not sway the insurance companies that have banned these dogs from homeowner insurance polices or stop apartment managers from renting to owners of specific breeds.

The underlying problem is that in the wrong hands dogs, any dog, presents a risk to society when the owner of that dog decides that his right to own a potentially dangerous dog out weighs the rights of his neighbors to live safely.  Pitbulls can live in our community, only if their owners can recognize the potential threat that they may pose and take the necessary steps to prevent them from causing harm… this also applies to Chihuahuas as well.

Although Pitbulls are finding good pet owners, they are prominently still falling into the hands of the worst owners, as evidenced by the volume of Pitbulls that are overwhelming our shelters.  In leu of a ban on Pitbulls, I would recommend legislation that requires the sterilization of the breed; it is our only hope of getting our shelter populations under control.  As long as pitbull breeds fill over half of the kennels in our shelters that are and will remain a problem in our communities.

A few years ago, after Denver banned pitbulls, people began identifying their  pitbull as a service animal.  As you have read in other posts on this site, the laws concerning service animals had gotten way out of control and Denver was dealing with that abuse as people fought for their banned pets.  In February of 2020, the City of Denver overturned the previous ban and provided for passage of pitbulls to be treated like other pets, following a two year probationary period.