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Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is a law that targets a particular breed or a few breeds rather than holding all dogs and dog owners to equal standards. Breed-specific laws may ban a breed (or breeds) outright or place restrictions on them. Such laws often apply to mixed breeds that even look like they may be part of the "restricted" breed.

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If you have a dog that might be restricted or banned somewhere in this country, your dog can be confiscated if you travel through that area. Often, people relocate to a city and find out after moving that the city bans their beloved pet. In one case, a disabled boy with an American Bulldog service dog had his dog confiscated when he moved to a city that prohibits "Pit Bulls." The city officials decided his Bulldog was actually a Pit Bull. His family, of course, had no idea that such a law existed until the child's service dog fell victim.

Chako believes that discriminating against a specific breed is wrong. We will not compromise in this philosophy, but we will happily work with municipalities when asked to craft dog-related laws that penalize irresponsible owners and promote responsible pet ownership.

California state law allows breed-specific legislation but only as it relates to spay/neuter and breeding restrictions. So, a county in California can create a law that mandates that Pit Bulls be spayed or neutered by a certain age. While Chako supports voluntary spaying and neutering, breed-specific laws, even when limited to sterilization, have detrimental side effects. Breed-specific legislation:

  • Generally only targets the responsible people who will comply with the law; irresponsible people do not comply and generally are not caught and cited because counties do not have the resources to effectively enforce the laws.
  • When they are enforced, they cause irresponsible people who own intact male dogs to keep them at home, isolated and undersocialized (to avoid being out in public and getting a fine)
  • Makes it harder for Pit Bull owners to find housing with their dogs since landlords and home insurance companies generally don't want to include dogs that are subject to special laws. After San Francisco passed its spay/neuter ordinance, a woman named Turanesha who lived with her gramdnother and nine year old service dog (a neutered Pit Bull) in an apartment was given an eviction notice. She fought the eviction (service dogs are protected by state and federal laws), but the stress led to her grandmother having a stroke, and the case dragged on in court.

Breed-specific legislation is wrong and does not target the source of the problems -- human beings. People either do not comply, or the irresponsible people simply get another breed that is not covered by the ordinance. Rather than shift irresponsible owners to other breeds and cause good owners problems finding housing and insurance, laws should hold all dog owners equally responsible for their dog, regardless of the breed they choose to own.