By Laura Drucker
It’s been a big week for dogs in Washington. First, the Obamas introduced their new furry family member, Sunny, a one-year-old Portuguese Water Dog (and made a contribution to the Washington Humane Society in her honor), and now, even better: The White House has officially come out against breed-specific legislation (BSL).
BSL, which unfairly targets Pit Bulls and other “bully breed” dogs, has proven to be biased, ineffective, and difficult to enforce. It puts a huge burden on shelters and pet parents, and fails to address the primary problem behind aggressive dog behavior: irresponsible dog guardians.
Here is the full text of the statement, titled “Breed-Specific Legislation is a Bad Idea“:
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.
As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.
Though the statement doesn’t speak to any specific federal efforts that will be made to curb the implementation of BSL at city and state levels, it should certainly provide a boost to those fighting the good fight.
Learn more about Breed-Specific Legislation: