BSL But does it really work? Really?

Posted: March 15, 2013 in Pit Bulls
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For someone like me before coming to Ottawa I didn’t even know something like “Breed Specific Legislation” even existed. When I rescued Bently the dog who forever changed my life and made me love the breed I never even thought about having trouble with him in Ontario. Certainly discrimination is something we humans save for each other. A dog is a dog I assumed.

BSL is an unfortunate part of everyday life for folks here. Since passing this law it seems that Pit Bulls can do no right. The BSL has done a good job of casting a dark shadow on a group of dogs that just happen to look a certain way. It’s interesting we live in a government town surely the people who make the laws will look at research and make an educated decision as to bill 132. Sadly this is not the case. Just a simple google of BSL will bring you a slew of information about its ineffectiveness. The law makers claim they are trying to reduce the amount of dog bites. Great! Reducing dog bites is a plus. unfortunately BSL doesn’t do that. For instance a study done in the UK actually shows dog bites to have gone up by 50% despite having BSL in place since 1991. A 2007 study done in Spain analyzed a period of 5 years before and 5 years after BSL laws were introduced. It showed that the amount of reported dog bites stayed the same and that the banned dogs only accounted for 4% of bites both before and after BSL laws. A study done in 2006 from SFU collected data from SPCAs, RCMPs and veterinary sources, and found that it wasn’t breed but irresponsible ownership that created dangerous dogs. It states that BSL creates “a false sense of security” and doesn’t address the real issues behind dog aggression

Not reducing dog bites isn’t the only problem with this piece of legislations. Without being able to DNA test a dog there is no definitive way to tell breed. Going on body shape and coat alone isn’t good enough. A recent study showed that trained shelter workers are incorrectly labeling dogs 87.5% of the time. We have a dog in care who was a victim of this. He sat in a shelter unable to be adopted in Ontario because of someone thinking he “looked like a Pit Bull”. And that’s the thing about BSL it really isn’t specific. The law itself encompasses a group of dogs that look similar.

No science and logic aren’t your thing well here’s something everyone can agree on. We all hate to see money wasted. Guess what having a BSL is expensive. We need more animal control, police, not to mention people suing the government for taking their beloved pet away unjustly due to animal control being unable to properly identify breed from sight alone. A 2010 report from Calgary showed that the city turned a profit after repealing BSL and implementing registration laws and fines. Enough money in fact to buy a fleet of trucks, networked computer system and an expansion to their shelter. With all the over whelming research and benefits to implementing a system like Calgary’s you have to wonder what is keeping the government from waking up and facing facts that what they are doing DOES NOT WORK.

Since this law doesn’t do anything to solve the problem the question arises well what can we do? I’d look out west to places like Calgary. What they have done is placed the responsibility back where it should be ON THE OWNER. It all starts with us. Ultimately its up to us to lead our dogs and show them acceptable behavior and be responsible. Leashing your dog in public places and have them spayed or neutered are just two ways to be a responsible owner. (I could rant on on this subject but this is about BSL right lol).

Just like people dogs shouldnt be judged by their outward appearances but their actions. I have known balanced and un balanced dogs of many different breeds. Like I’ve said before strong breeds of dog are not for everyone but if you are up to the challenge it can be one of the most rewarding relationships you’ll ever have. With our hard work and dedication to making our dogs ambassadors for their breed we hope to abolish BSL in 2013. Place the responsiblity where it should be on the person holding the leash. Look West Ontario governemnt the answers there.


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