White House Comes Out AGAINST Breed-Specific Legislation


Written by: Phil Monahan

Wicca was a victim of BSL in Montreal, Canada.
Photo by photo courtesy Animal Advocacy Project

The “We the People” site is a place for ordinary citizens to petition the federal government. In a response to a petition to ban breed-specific legislation (BSL), launched last December, the White House has issued a statement on the subject. And there is no political obfuscation of any kind, as the first sentence makes clear:

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.

This could be a big boost for those fighting BSL in many states, counties, and cities across the country. But until there is actual legislation behind the White House opinion, it’s anyone’s guess if it will have an effect.

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Here’s the full White House statement from the We the People site:

Breed-Specific Legislation Is a Bad Idea

Thanks for your petition.

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.

Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.

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