BSL: Why You Should Oppose It and How You Can Fight It

There’s good news in the Pit Bull community today: The State of Ohio signed HB 14 into law, ending 25 years of breed discrimination against Pit Bull dogs. We’ve won a battle, but there’s still a raging war against this beloved breed, so there’s no time to sit back and celebrate.

StephGomez.net

Breed-discriminatory legislation {BSL} is being enforced in hundreds of cities all over our country. It means different things in different areas, but in a nutshell it means people are being told what kind of dogs they can – and can’t – have, as well as how those dogs must be managed. Some areas don’t allow Pit Bull type dogs at all, while others that do allow them require owners to adhere to strict requirements like using muzzles in public, proof of liability insurance on the dog, and other irrational and unfair rules that don’t apply to your average family pet.

What BSL does is punish the breed, not the deed. Dogs that have never caused a problem are targeted and punished because of how they look… not because of how they act.

Even if you aren’t a Pit Bull lover {in which case, I wonder why you’re visiting this blog!}, there are many reasons why you should oppose BSL. Here are just a few: 

  1. It’s a waste of precious resources. Most communities have limited funds when it comes to animal-related issues. Isn’t it more important to promote responsible pet ownership like spaying and neutering, enforcing leash laws, and support of local shelters and rescues for the good work they do, rather than hunting down Pit Bulls and other “vicious” breeds?
  2. BSL puts unnecessary burdens on innocent people. If my county decided to ban Pit Bulls, I’d either have to get rid of my dog or move to another county. Why should I have to do that, when I am a responsible, law-abiding citizen whose dog is well-behaved, properly vaccinated, sufficiently restrained when she’s in public, and has never hurt a fly? You see, BSL not only punishes irresponsible pet owners, but also those of us who’ve done nothing wrong.
  3. BSL is based on misinformation. If you really believe that Pit Bulls are inherently mean, that they don’t get along with other animals, and that they are born fighters that don’t make good family pets, you probably support BSL. But the fact is, those things aren’t true. They’re myths, perpetuated by a society that has grown to fear Bully Breeds due to incorrect media representation and horror stories. Know the facts before you decide what you believe
  4. BSL is nearly impossible to enforce. Would you recognize a Pit Bull if you saw one? Test your skills. It’s almost impossible to accurately identify many breeds strictly by sight. So many dogs that are not Pit Bulls are mistaken for them, and occasionally a dog that isn’t a Pit Bull is mistakenly labeled as one. How can a community properly and effectively legislate Pit Bull ownership if they can’t even correctly identify the dogs?
  5. BSL affects you, even if you don’t own a Pit Bull. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the photo below and think about your own dog. Could YOUR dog mistakenly be identified as a member of the Bully Breed family, simply because he looks a certain way? How would you feel if he was taken away from you simply because of the way he looks? Don’t think it can’t happen – it can, and it does. 
 
Breed Specific Legislation will only further feed society’s fear and ignorance about Pit Bulls and other Bully Breeds. If we – as Pit Bull owners and lovers – stand by and do nothing, our dogs will continue to be misunderstood, misrepresented, feared, and banned.
 
We must do what we can to fight BSL in our own neighborhoods and throughout the country. I strongly encourage signing petitions and participating in peaceful demonstrations when appropriate. If your local shelter  sponsors events like my shelter’s Parade-A-Bull, which is a “celebration of all things bully breed”, take part in it. Events like these give us the opportunity not only to dispel the myths surrounding our dogs, but also those surrounding Pit Bull owners.
 
If BSL is being considered in your area, won’t you please write or call your government representatives and let them know that you do not agree with it?
 
What other ways can we work together to combat discrimination against those without a voice?

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Christina Berry

Wife, Mom, Social Media Manager, Pit Bull advocate, lifestyle blogger, movie lover, scatterbrain. Founder of Indy Social Media Moms. Lover of cotton candy, boy bands, daisies, all things Paris, Audrey Hepburn, and Key West. Blogging for a cause at The Lazy Pit Bull, and for fun at From The Berry Patch and Chrissy, Inspired.

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