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Breed Specific Legislation

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) bans OR restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs.

**It is a common misconception that BSL refers only to breed bans. BSL is seen in two forms: bans and restrictions.**

A breed ban usually requires that all dogs of a certain appearance (“targeted breed”) be removed from the municipality wherein the ban has been implemented. After the effective date of the ban, dogs in the municipality that are identified as targeted breeds are usually subject to being killed by animal control, though in some cases, such dogs may be saved if relocation is an option. Breed bans may have grandfather clauses that allow dogs of targeted breeds to stay in the ban area (provided they are registered with the municipality by a certain date, and likely subject to various breed-specific restrictions).

Breeds commonly targeted by BSL

Click on each picture to see what breed it is

Breeds commonly targeted by BSL

Click on each picture to see what breed it is

Breed-specific restrictions may require an owner of a targeted breed do any of the following or more, depending on how the law is written:

Muzzle the dog in public
Spay or neuter the dog
Contain the dog in a kennel with specific requirements (chain link walls, lid, concrete floors, etc.)
Keep the dog on a leash of specific length or material
Purchase liability insurance of a certain amount
Place “vicious dog” signs on the outside of the residence where the dog lives
Make the dog wear a “vicious dog” tag or other identifying marker

Breed-specific legislation applies only to dogs of a certain appearance, not to any and all dogs. It does not take into account how the owner has raised, trained, or managed the dog. It does not take into account the dog’s actual behavior.

WHY IS BSL WRONG?

  • BSL does not improve public safety or prevent dog bites
  • BSL ignores the plight of victims and potential victims of non-targeted breeds
  • BSL is costly
  • BSL requires each and every dog to be identified as a breed something that has proven impossible to do accurately and objectively
  • BSL makes targeted breeds more desirable to irresponsible and criminal owners
  • BSL does nothing to make irresponsible dog owners accountable
  • BSL punishes responsible dog owners. Not a single canine welfare organization supports BSL.

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