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Animal Law

Quote of the Day: The White House Doesn’t Support Breed Specific Legislation

Paws up for the White House!

In response to an online petition calling for a federal ban on breed-specific legislation (the petition gathered over 30,000 signatures!) the White House stated:

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.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) regulates or outright bans ownership of dogs based on breed. BSL operates on the legal presumption that a certain dog breed is dangerous or vicious, and such laws most often impact the ownership of pit bulls.  This is notwithstanding the fact that “pit bulls” are not a breed: the term “pit bull’ encompasses the American Staffordshire Terrier; American Pit Bull Terrier; and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and mixes of those breeds. People generally call a dog a “pit bull” when he or she physically resembles those breeds.  This is a big part of why BSL doesn’t work: Most people inaccurately identify the correct breed based on appearance (how did you score on this test?), and yet enforcement of BSL is based on the physical characteristics of a dog!

When a dog attack occurs, the individual dog and his or her owner should be punished. As the saying goes: Punish the deed, not the breed. BSL goes too far in that it seeks to punish all dogs of a specific breed and their owners, which doesn’t properly redress the problem. Any dog can be dangerous. Targeting a specific breed (or type) of dog has found to be not only unconstitutional, but also inappropriate.

I’m so glad the White House agrees with what animal advocates have been saying: “BSL is a bad idea.

For more information on why it’s so bad, check out:

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About The Paw Report

I graduated from St. John's University School of Law in 2012, and am admitted to practice law in New York State. I was a member of the New York City Bar Association's Animal Law Committee for three years. I was born and raised in Rhode Island, but moved to New Mexico when I was 18. After dabbling in film for two years, I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Anthropology. I've been living in New York City since 2008, and currently reside in Brooklyn with my boyfriend and our two cats. I am a former organizer with Direct Action Everywhere - New York City.

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