The following guest post has been contributed by: Kelly Reeves President and Co-Founder, Paw Prints in the Sand Animal Rescue
What is BSL? BSL stands for Breed Specific Legislation, which essentially makes certain dog breeds illegal based on their looks or breed. The breeds most commonly included in these laws are: Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, American Bulldogs, Presa Canarios, Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Dalmatians and Wolfhybrids, among others depending on locality.
The reason these breeds are often deemed “illegal” in areas around the United States including Arkansas, Colorado, and Florida and across the globe is because they are assumed to be “vicious” or “risky” simply due to their breed, mix or even the shape of their heads. Most recently, the City of Montreal passed legislation that would ban any dog resembling a pit bull and kill thousands more. Anyone who owns a dog remotely resembling a pit bull would have to register his or her dog with the municipality and muzzle it while in public. In addition, the dogs would be required to be under adult supervision while in public at all times.
If the dogs are in animal shelters or without an owner (strays), they will be euthanized. Additionally, BSL often prevents responsible would-be dog owners from providing a good, loving home to one of these types of dogs because of landlord or homeowners insurance requirements, which will not allow it. So, here’s why BSL is BS specifically as it applies to pit bulls: Pit bulls used to be known as ‘America’s Nanny Dog’ because of their friendly nature, loyalty and stability. They served in WWI and WWII, and many pit bulls are decorated veterans who have served our country. Furthermore, based on a study by the American Temperament Test Society, Inc., pit bulls are among the most tolerant dogs with 86.8% of pit bulls tested passing for temperament, ranking only second to the Labrador Retriever.
Any dog, no matter what breed or size, can be trained to be aggressive. Sadly, the majority of pit bull and other dominant breed dog owners typically live in low income areas where there is a lack of education, resources and a basic sense of compassion and humanity. A study in the Journal of Forensic Science found that the owners of vicious dogs, regardless of the breed, had “significantly more criminal behaviors than other dog owners.” That is why we always say: “It’s the owner, stupid,” which is a hit at the profound ignorance surrounding the perception of pit bulls and those who judge a dog by its breed or looks. We have rescued many dogs whose breed fall under BSL and all have been amazing dogs that have gone into loving, forever homes with families that love and cherish their dog!
I have personally fostered numerous pitties and have one of my own. Before I got involved in animal rescue, all I knew about Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and every other dog breed listed under BSL was what I saw in the media and how they were portrayed: vicious, aggressive, or high risk. However, practically every dog that has come through my door has been nothing but loving, loyal, and sweet. It took having hands on experience, educating myself, and gaining a better understanding of these breeds and proper handling for me to change my attitude and perception about these amazing dogs!
We want to help bring awareness to the issue that is BSL and put an end to the unjustified prejudice against certain breeds of dogs. We hope you will join us and support our ‘I’m With The Banned’ campaign by purchasing one of our shirts and give these great dogs the rights they deserve.
To help, please go to visit this link. Proceeds from this BSL t-shirt campaign will also go towards our rescue programs and the care and medical expenses of our rescue animals. For more information on Paw Prints in the Sand and the work we do, please visit our web site at www.pawprintsinthesand.org, or on our social sites: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.