We are supporting initiatives in Missouri and Iowa to end breed-based legislation.
What is Breed-Specific Legislation?
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a blanket or broad law that either regulates or bans specific dog breeds based on their appearance. BSL dictates what kind of pet a citizen can own and be a part of their family. BSL is often enacted because of the belief that one type of dog breed is more dangerous than the other, which is not true. Breed-based restrictions are not founded on science or credible data but on misinformation. There is no evidence to suggest that breed-specific legislation makes communities safer for people or pets. Instead, these restrictions lead to countless and undue hardships for pets, people and their communities.
BSL Isn’t Effective
BSL is founded on the unsupported assumption that one dog breed is more dangerous than the other, which is not true. Otherwise friendly and well-behaved dogs are discriminated against because of their perceived breed or appearance. There is no statistical evidence that BSL makes communities safer for people or pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that BSL is ineffective.
Bad Laws Have High Costs
Breed-based restrictions lead to countless, undue hardship. These policies do not improve public safety or animal welfare and are costly and difficult to enforce. Breed bans and restrictions force dogs out of homes and into shelters, taking up kennel space and resources that could be used for animals who are truly homeless.
A Patchwork of Problems
BSL is typically enacted at the local level, meaning it can vary from place to place in a single state if one kind of dog breed is allowed or not. This patchwork of legislation makes it extremely difficult for residents to navigate which communities allow their dogs and which do not. This creates negative consequences for residents because they limit relocation options for personal or professional reasons within the state, hinder life-saving abilities for animal adoption organizations, and undoubtedly result in dogs who have not exhibited any problem behavior losing their homes and often their lives because owners unknowingly or without choice moved into a jurisdiction with BSL.
Ending BSL: A Growing Trend
Fortunately, more people and their elected officials are learning why breed bans don’t make sense, and BSL is on the decline. In recent years, twenty-one states have passed laws prohibiting BSL on the local level, including Missouri and Iowa, and over 100 municipalities have replaced BSL with breed-neutral policies.
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