Whether contacting council, talking to neighbors, or responding to comments about BSL we want to ensure we are all using the same talking points which are outlined below.
Speak factually and calmly. PLEASE avoid comparisons of pitties to human suffering/racism, guns/weapons, and the villanization of other breeds of dog.
BSL IS INEFFECTIVE.
1. BSL is not based on science:
There are zero scientific, peer-reviewed studies that conclude that any one breed or dog type is "inherently more dangerous" than any other breed.
2. BSL addresses irrelevant factors:
A dog's physical appearance is determined by less than 1% of its genes. So appearance-based bans like BSL completely ignore the other 99% of an individual dog's overall traits and characteristics that are more relevant to influence a dog's probability of being dangerous.
3. BSL does not address significant factors for public safety. Preventable factors related to irresponsible ownership are the primary cause for the majority of dog bite-related fatalities and breed is not a factor. BSL does nothing to address the relevant and most significant factors that are scientifically linked to serious dog bite-related incidents such as a dog's history of negative behavior, previous bite-related incidents, and factors related to irresponsible ownership.
BSL HAS BEEN UNIVERSALLY REJECTED
Virtually all reputable canine organizations, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Bar Association, and many other organizations have either made position statements rejecting BSL, have adopted policy positions against BSL, or support repealing BSL including:
No jurisdiction (state or local) with BSL has ever been able to demonstrate an increase in public safety or a significant reduction in population of banned dog breeds. (HSUS)
BSL MAKES TARGETED DOGS ATTRACTIVE TO DANGEROUS OWNERS—AND REPULSIVE TO RESPONSIBLE OWNERS WHO JUST WANT A "REGULAR" DOG.
A person who seeks out a dog for intimidation will turn to popular culture, societal stereotype, legal treatments, and other portrayals of dogs in order to determine what type of dog is the most intimidating to the most people.
Breed-specific legislation feeds this cycle by adding to the mythology of the “dangerous breed.” Breed-specific legislation’s goal is to protect the public from dangerous dogs; therefore, BSL leads to the inevitable conclusion that certain breeds of dogs are inherently dangerous. A dangerous dog is exactly what some people want. They go out, get a “vicious” pit bull, chain it in the backyard, fail to train or socialize it… and it delivers the desired intimidating behaviors—as would any neglected dog.
BSL AGGRAVATES THE DANGEROUS DOG PROBLEM BY ENCOURAGING THE USE AND ABUSE OF CERTAIN TYPES OF DOGS BY IRRESPONSIBLE AND NEGLECTFUL OWNERS. IT ALSO PREVENTS CERTAIN TYPES OF DOGS FROM FINDING LOVING, COMMITTED HOMES.
This same “vicious” stereotype that makes certain breeds attractive to irresponsible owners and those with ill intent also makes them distasteful for “normal” dog owners. People who want to be perceived as friendly neighbors, good citizens, responsible parents, and respectable people tend to lean toward breeds that are considered “family friendly.” For these people, ownership of a breed seen by society as “dangerous” might cause them to lose status and respect among their peers.
Breed-specific legislation adds further layers of confusing and difficult requirements to certain breeds’ ownership. Breed-specific legislation not only discourages responsible people from owning certain breeds—even though these are the owners that these types of dogs need the most—but it also legalizes discrimination against, and places extra burdens on, the few responsible people who dare to provide a loving home for a dog of one of these breeds.
Is it any wonder that many pit bull type dogs have such a tough time finding loving homes with devoted owners?
Imagine a world where, if Labrador Retrievers were portrayed at every turn as growling attack dogs, cities would have a “Lab problem” instead of a “pit bull problem.” But Labrador Retrievers are considered “family” dogs. They are not generally subjected to neglect, cruelty, and expectations of violent behavior.
BSL IS BASED ON LOOKS AND THAT'S IT... SO
In effect, breed-specific legislation says that a dog’s behavior is dictated by its appearance, and therefore an owner’s treatment of the dog has no effect on the dog’s behavior at all. BSL subtly suggests that dog owners do not need to train, socialize, or properly manage their dog; that as long as the dog looks “safe,” the owner may do as he or she pleases, and if the dog looks “dangerous,” there’s nothing the owner can do to make it “safe.” Of course, this goes against everything we know about canine behavior.
WE CARE ABOUT ALL DOG BITE VICTIMS AND WANT RESPONSIBLE OWNERSHIP OF ALL DOGS, NOT JUST A FEW
The majority of dog bites and attacks are committed by non-targeted breeds. Why is our council only trying to protect a small fraction of their constituents? BSL treats victims and potential victims of dog bites unequally.
Legislators need to know that it’s not acceptable for them to play favorites when it comes to public safety. All citizens deserve protection from dangerous dogs, regardless of what the dog looks like. All citizens need to speak out and express their desire for dog laws that will protect us all.
SUBJECTS TO AVOID
Please do NOT...
Compare BSL to racism. We love dogs tremendously, but the comparison diminishes the struggle our BIPOC community face.
Compare pitties to guns. They are dogs, not weapons.
Villainize other dogs to make pitties "less scary". We want NO breed banned.
Engage in "well one time my cousin said" type stories. We have loaded you with facts here from reputable, scientific, peer-reviewed sources. This is solid research and science, not hearsay.
Cajole, force or inappropriately encourage someone to engage with your pittie if they are uncomfortable doing so. Keep a respectful distance, keeo
PLEASE UNDERSTAND that some dogs, pitties and otherwise, don't like other dogs, don't like some people, don't like some situations and THAT IS OK. Dogs are individuals. What we are about is that their humans acknowledge their limitations and preferences and advocate for them to live safely (for the sake of the dog and humans)