Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): It’s the deed not the breed. A mother grows tired as her infant child lies sleeping on the sofa of their small apartment. The mother not wanting to disturb the napping child surrounds the boy with blankets and pillows so he will not fall off the sofa during his nap. Never one to miss an opportunity to rest, the mother retires to her bed in the other room to take a nap. Moments later, the mother startles awake to the screaming of her little boy. She rushes to the living room to see what could be causing this blood curtailing scream and finds her infant being mauled by the family dog (Jenkins, 2007).
After reading that description, which breed of dog comes to mind? A Doberman Pinscher; a German Shepherd Dog; or the favorite target of the media: the Pit Bull? If someone would have guessed any of those breeds they would be mistaken. This attack was perpetrated by a Dachshund. In recent years, communities have tried to pass laws banning certain breeds of dogs in attempt to manage this problem. While banning certain breeds may quell the fears of the public, enforcing effective legislation to address dangerous dogs on an individual basis would be a more prudent approach in the prevention of dog bites and attacks.
“Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) is, in simple terms, a statute or regulation that is directed toward one or more specific breeds of dogs. The majority of BSL is focused on breeds traditionally known as "dangerous," or those that have demonstrated particular propensities for aggression and violent behavior (Weiss, 2001)”. With the media sensationalizing dog attacks, especially those involving the Pit Bull, communities around the United States are moving to or have enacted BSL as a :knee jerk reaction in an effort to prevent bites and attacks. The Centers for Disease Control completed a study that researched all fatal dog attacks between 1979 and 1998. During this 20 year period, 238 people died...
References: American Kennel Club – Litter Registrations Statistics for 2006. Retrieved March 9, 2008 from http://www.akc.org/reg/litter_stats.cfm
Center for Disease Control – National Center for Heath and Statistics, Fast Stats. Retrieved March 9, 2008 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/acc-inj.htm
International Association of Canine Professionals – Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation, ©2006 from http://www.dogpro.org/index.php?pageID=200
Jenkins, Marc - Dachshund Mutilates Baby Boy 's Genitals - Reattachment Found To Be Impossible. Lake County News-Sun (November 6, 2007). Retrieved February 24, 2008, from http://cbs2chicago.com/local/dog.mutilates.genitals.2.490060.html
Sacks, Jeffrey J., MD, MPH; Sinclair, Leslie ,DVM; Gilchrist, Julie , MD; Golab, Gail C. , PhD, DVM; Lockwood, Randall , PhD - Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998 – Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000
Weiss, Linda S. – Breed Specific Legislation in the United States - Animal Legal and Historical Web Center, 2001. Retrieved March 20, 2008, from http://www.animallaw.info/articles/aruslweiss2001.htm
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