Insight into Breed Specific Legislation

A rescuer’s insight on breed specific legislation

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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 12771727_479024315629259_3891746997389440529_oothers 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.15994839_1403254396375961_6565662900536028681_o

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!

11813498_415300512001640_1472609243826416763_nI 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, or on our social sites: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

7 replies
  1. linda says:

    What a bad rap these loving dogs have because of ignorant and criminal owners. Sure there are “bad” dogs, but, who made them that way? Unfortunately many are abandoned, abused, overly bred and brought to shelters to be euthanized. We humans let them down and now they’re paying the consequences.

    • Susan Maranda says:

      I am in total agreement with your comment. BSL laws should be discontinued. It is we humans especially those who abuse BSL breeds that gave resulted in their ban in many states and countries.

      People must educate themselves on any dog that is to be adopted or bought. They must consider so many factors such as children, home size, but mostly their characteristics.

      Animals only react as they have been trained to do. If a human is a monster and is cruel and abusive then the dog will react the same way. With love and tenderness they won’t be aggressive. However all breeds must be respected as well.

  2. Rick Stafford says:

    I remember as a kid i think the vicious breeds were Doberman Rottweiler and German shepherds and even in the late 70s and 80s the equation was poor breeding and very bad treatment often for nefarious reason (often to protect drug stashes and the owner would literally beat the dogs to bring out their worst).. We don’t need bans on breeds , we need better education and forced test before you can purchase and license you dog

  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    No such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners – BSL laws are biased, prejudicial and completely unnecessary – and as usual, the wrong species is being blamed – these dogs deserve to be treated as individuals, not lumped together because of breed. What these braindead officials are doing is punishing the dogs (usually pit bulls) for what HUMANS have done to them. This is cockeyed and unfair. These dogs deserve better.

  4. Kathleen Drude says:

    As a veterinarian I have had the pleasure of treating all breeds! I have never had a problem with any breed! Actually I find my issues are humans! Never have I had more problems and doesn’t matter what the gender or nationality! So speaking from my standpoint I’ll stick to animals whatever the breed or gender!


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