The Problem with Breed Specific Legislation

Topics: Management, Sociology, Psychology, Organization, Ethics, Nurse / Pages: 7 (1599 words) / Published: Feb 3rd, 2006
The Problem With Breed Specific Legislation

The time has arrived, many say, for restricting the presence of- and even

eliminating- certain breeds of dogs. There have been many documented instances of

vicious dog attacks in cities across America . As a result, around the

country many communities are enacting laws based on the misguided belief that a dog's

breed is responsible for its behavior. These laws are commonly referred to as breed bans,

or breed-specific legislation. Breed specific legislation is any law that prohibits the breed,

or kind, of dog that someone is allowed by law to own. There are many

practical alternatives to these laws that would provide adequate protection to the general

public, without penalizing all dogs in certain breeds. Breed specific

legislation does not consider the individual dog, it's past actions and behavior, or even

the way that the dog was raised and treated by its owner. Just being the wrong breed is all

that is taken into account; the dog is presumed guilty until proven innocent. Every dog

has the potential to bite, even the most stringent breed specific legislation will not change

that. That is why, instead resorting to breed specific legislation, dog owners need to be

responsible and have their pets trained as puppies to avoid any behavioral or socialization

problems later on in life.

Dog owners often challenge the constitutionality of breed specific regulations.

The challenge is a difficult one because in general the courts defer to lawmakers, upholding legislation when there is some rational connection to the promotion of public

safety. Discrimination by breed of dog does not discriminate on the basis of a

constitutionally protected class such as race, sex, or religion. Discrimination,

therefore, on the basis of breed of dog is constitutional if there is a rational basis for the

classification and a reasonable relationship between the

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