Friday, July 5, 2013

Nevada says No to BSL!

Breed Specific Legislation - the idea of banning certain dog breeds - is popular amongst some people afraid of dogs. It doesn't work. Looking at statistics from areas that implement Breed Specific Legislation, the public safety benefit is unmeasurable, while loved pets and service dogs are ripped away from their families and killed because they happen to be an outlawed breed.

I'm not saying that everyone has to love every kind of animal, but legislation stemming out of fear is rarely effective. May 24th, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Nevada AB 110, stating "a local authority shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance or regulation that deems a dog dangerous or vicious based solely on the breed of dog."

Prince George's County in Maryland has done the most thorough assessment of BSL to date. They found that:
  • The cost for the county to confiscate and euthanize one single pit bull came out to around $68,000
  • In the fiscal year 2001-2002, these expenditures totaled a dazzling $560,000
  • The county lost revenue due to a dramatic reduction in dog shows and exhibitions
  • Dog bites decreased at the same rate amongst all breeds
Amongst the indirect losses, the investigators found people moving away from the county because of BSL. Tourism decreased because people with banned breed can't - or won't - visit. And, there is the loss of trained service dogs, not to mention the heartbreak of families who lose their pet.

The ASPCA states the problem is never the breed, but the way a dog is treated by the humans around it. The three most aggressive breeds are actually the Dachshund, the Chihuahua, and the Jack Russell Terrier. Ironically, none of these have ever been covered by a breed specific ban. These are fairly small dogs and those who worry about dog bites might say they'd rather have a Jack Russell run up and bite them than a Pitbull. The point is that owners must take responsibility for their dogs, train them, and socialize them, whether they're large or small. 

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) also made a study on dog bite fatalities in the US and have published an interesting fact sheet. They conclude that each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities. According to the fact sheet, the data on which breeds might be more dangerous is inconclusive, and they say, "Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites."

They also give some good hands-on advice on things to consider before getting a dog, and on how to prevent dog bites.

What are the alternatives to BSL? Education, enforced leash laws, strong animal abuse and dog fighting laws, and owner accountability are a few examples. 

No comments:

Post a Comment