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Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

What is BSL? According to Wikipedia, "Breed-specific legislation is a law or ordinance passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws or ordinances pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds."

HALO Animal Rescue does not endorse or encourage BSL.  BSL is not an effective route to take in a misguided effort to protect the public from aggressive dogs.  In some cities around the country, particular breeds of dogs, generally pit bull type breeds are restricted or outright banned from the city/county.  In Denver in 2005, Denver Animal Control began enforcing a city-wide ban on pit bull type dogs, or any dog determined to be part pit bull. Dogs were removed from homes and destroyed by the thousands amongst the protest from their owners and neighbors.  Dogs that were contained in their own homes, that had never behaved badly or caused any harm to anyone were removed and killed because of a type of "racial profiling" in the dog world known as BSL.  Although the reason the law was passed was noble, to protect Denver citizens from aggressive dogs, their choice in how to "rectify" the situation was an extremely poor one. BSL does not get at the root of the problem: irresponsible owners who house dangerous dogs.

Best Friends in conjunction with their legal team, including Laura Allen author of Animal Law Coalition has come up with very succinct and easy steps that any community can start adopting immediately! Here's a brief overview with some of the most imperative points:

1) Pass a dangerous dog law that penalizes to varying degrees different levels in displays of aggression. This engages the public to look at ways to curb bad behavior in their dog before it escalates.
2) Pass & enforce leash laws that require spay/neuter after second violation.
3) Pass laws that restrict tethering, chaining, penning and caging of dogs. Chained dogs are far more likely to be more aggressive. dog fighting
4) Encourage spay/neuter and provide low-cost spay/neuter services. Ninety percent of all fatal dog attacks are by intact males and females.
5) Encourage responsible dog ownership, including early socialization and training. Eighty-one percent of fatal dog attacks are by dogs that were isolated or not treated as part of their family.
6) Strengthen dog fighting and anti-cruelty laws.