dog breed discrimination

Having a breed restricted dog is one of many factors that discrimination plays in people moving into questionable living situations. Best Friends Animal Society believes all dogs are individuals and deserve a chance at happy lives, no matter their breed. Feature the dogs with babies or very young children: These images not only make the children seem vulnerable, they send the message that it’s OK to leave children unattended with dogs. Besides the fact that BDL wastes tax dollars and fails to protect people from dog bites, it can result in the deaths of thousands of wonderful family dogs who have never bothered anyone. In reality there is nothing specific about them. are within the control of the dogs’ owners and are therefore preventable. In fact, legislation that targets dogs by breed has been proven to be ineffective when it comes to reducing dog-bite incidents. Of those that are aware, I believe the community’s opinion is largely against breed discrimination and they believe it should be studied more in criminology. by Patricia Grisafi January 23, 2020, 1:40 pm. ~due to bad owners. The discrimination is usually directed against dogs with big ol’ noggins — i.e., pit bull breeds — but it can also apply to Dobermans, German Shepherds, and more. A dog who jumped at the sound of a heavy box falling to the floor can become frightened by other sudden noises down the road. Support animal-friendly candidates in future elections to help them win. Every dog is an individual and should be judged on behavior, not appearance. In addition to these online resources, Best Friends’ legislative experts have many ways of supporting your efforts to overturn existing breed-discriminatory laws or counter a proposed measure in your area. As animal lovers, we want to save animals, so we view breed discrimination from a very specific perspective. Best Friends is happy to assist in this endeavor. We are supposed to be the thinking, feeling, and intellectual species and yet we have so far to go to get anywhere close to our mammal counterparts in many ways. All breed-specific policies and laws can be traced to racism, classism, and ableism. Provide adequate due process provisions for dog owners through comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous-dog laws, Restrict tethering, since tethered dogs are much more likely to bite, Prevent reckless or problem pet owners from having any dogs, Encourage (but not mandate) residents to spay or neuter their pets, since intact pets are more likely to bite, and maybe even charge higher license fees for unaltered animals, You might consider buying a copy of the American Bar Association’s book, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues,” for your city attorney. BDL fails to enhance public safety because studies show that it doesn’t reduce the number of dog bites. Documentary films like The Champions, which chronicles life after the fighting ring for the dogs rescued from the property of professional football player Michael Vick, are key to telling that story. Thank you for taking action for animals. You can also ask media representatives to contact Best Friends’ senior legislative attorney, Ledy VanKavage, at ledyv@bestfriends.org. Even though BDL isn’t a federal issue, except with respect to the military, the petition resulted in an official White House response in opposition to BDL. Use any of these points to support your case via personal letters, phone calls, letters to the editor, media interviews or any other communication tools you use to combat breed discrimination in your community. Here are some specific actions you can take: Politics is not a spectator sport, so be brave. Start with sending letters describing the proposed legislation to the editors of local newspapers in order to spread the word about the issue, educate citizens and garner support. If the dog is not a registered purebred, the only way to do this with certainty is DNA testing. Because of the extreme deprivation often suffered by sled dogs in the early North, and sometimes being let to roam free in packs, there were horrible fatal human incidents that the press gleefully fed the public. This strategy won’t be persuasive. These types of BDL may require burdensome insurance policies for dog owners and stringent regulations dictating how dogs are handled and by whom, and whether they’re even allowed off their own property. (For more information, read “The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression” by Karen Delise. The pit bull terrier was once known as “America’s dog.” In fact, even today they are one of the 10 most popular dog breeds in 46 states and rank in the top three in 28 states. Everyone has very strong opinions concerning one of the most heavily discriminated breeds, the “pit bull”. The power of social media is undeniable. A dog is only aggressive if you make it aggressive. When referring to the wider class of dogs (i.e., pit bulls and pit bull mixes), use “pit-bull-terrier-like dogs.”, Emphasize the need for “comprehensive breed-neutral laws” that focus on “behavior not bias” and those that target “reckless owners.”, Use positive language when talking about the dogs. Never before has grassroots advocacy had such an effective tool, so please use it. Their expertise understandably carries great weight with decision-makers. Best Friends Animal Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals; provides adoption, spay/neuter, and educational programs. The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters, Police & Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep Our Communities Safe and Humane, Why Breed Discrimination Doesn’t Work and What Does, Click here to read about the AVMA’s position, Click here to read about the AVSAB’s position. Anyway the Bristol dog’s home near me is full of 80% Staffies, noone wants to adopt them, a lot of this is actual aggressive behaviour as a result of breed tendencies and bad training, some of it is predjudice (some of these poor dogs are actually gentle and desperate to be in a caring family). They feel that the statistics compiled on dog attacks are inaccurate, and that the press has created the false impression that there is a dog bite problem in the USA. This petition had 15,894 supporters. With age-appropriate children: The children in the photos should appear to be comfortably in control of the dog. In Arlington, where 70% of homes are in multi-unit buildings and 60% are rent, the … As we emphasized in step 3, language matters. Hicks’ bill would end dog breed discrimination. Third, “breed-discriminatory” is a more accurate descriptor for these types of laws. Proof of its efficacy: One advocate started an online petition on “We the People,” the White House’s petition platform, to urge that BDL be outlawed at the federal level. Dress and speak as you would for a job interview. For more details, go to the National Canine Research Council website and read Dr. Voith’s study, called A Comparison of Visual and DNA Identifications of Breeds. While we view our pets as family, the legal system classifies dogs as property. Go to your community’s Wikipedia page and edit it to disclose that your community has or is considering BDL. Distribute flyers on the street and at local veterinarians’ offices, dog training and doggie daycare facilities, feed stores, pet supply stores and groomers. With kitties: Use images showing pit bull terriers and feline friends. Be sure to talk about how much breed-discriminatory legislation costs or will cost your community. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to always use a polite and respectful tone. Breed Discrimination is a very touchy subject among dog enthusiasts. Our legislative experts can also help you contact government officials to oppose the measure or request a repeal, and recommend proven public safety legislation in its place. If your local government also has a city manager or county supervisor who makes policy recommendations, contact him or her as well. I found this web link against breed discrimination: Dog Breed Discrimination: How to Prevent It in Your Community . That’s why a conservative think tank, the Platte Institute, calls them a mistake. (For more details, see “Be Polite, Prepared and Professional.”). Eliminating breed labels, which people seem to be using as poor proxies for stereotyped traits, may be the key to banishing a significant amount of dog discrimination—and getting more dogs into homes, Feuerbacher and the other researchers argue. Arizona Has Become The 20th State To Ban Discrimination Against Pit Bulls. BDL infringes on the fundamental property rights of good citizens. Besides being ineffective, these laws are expensive and difficult to enforce and also interfere with citizens’ property rights. In addition to being an ineffective way of protecting the public, breed-discriminatory laws are a tremendous waste of tax dollars because they are expensive to enforce and maintain. For example, knowing a dog has a short snout and long hair doesn’t give us any information about whether he’s afraid of thunderstorms or gets along well with cats. Better still, the dog should be at rest. Such “panic policymaking,” driven by anger and fear, ignores the multitude of factors that may contribute to dog-bite incidents, such as a dog’s level of socialization and whether he/she has been sterilized. Support for these laws is based on the misconception that pit bulls are more dangerous and prone to aggression than other dog breeds. L.J. There is no such problem, they say. Though breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) is often an attempt to improve public safety, studies show that it does not accomplish that objective. Best Friends is committed to changing public perception of these dogs with facts, statistics and stories that illustrate their true, loving natures. On the flip side, laws and policies that are breed-discriminatory in nature pose a tremendous threat to the safety of both dogs and people. Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes. That article is entitled “Breed Discrimination Touches a Therapy Dog.” We fully understand how this is a heated issue, and are writing this to clear up any misconceptions about our organization due to this article. Dogs that are referred to as “pit bulls” or “pit bull mixes” commonly have breeds in their lineage such as Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog and Bull Terrier. All dogs can bite.”. Call your elected officials to respectfully voice your opposition to the existing law or proposed measure. All Rights Reserved. And be sure to share this information with fiscally conservative citizens or citizen groups, as well as your dog-loving neighbors, friends, family and social media contacts. Keep in mind, though, that not everyone (and certainly not a majority of government officials) shares that perspective. Beautiful animals, but need to be in the hands of responsible people. According to Dr. Victoria Voith, visual identification, even by professionals, is often wrong. Emphasize the top three reasons that a community should reject BDL: Be ready to elaborate on each of these points, as well as explain how breed bans force responsible owners with good dogs to choose between surrendering their best friend to a shelter or moving out of the community. Politely relay your concerns to your community’s chamber of commerce or tourism council. The quantitative analysis examines personality types of the owners with the type of dog owned. Another strategy to try is using the economic consequences to local businesses as an advocacy tool. Second, dogs of the same breed may look alike, but their personality traits vary widely. Legally, dogs are considered property and BDL restricts ownership of certain breeds, thereby violating citizens’ property rights. According to a 2014 national survey conducted by Luntz Global, 84 percent of Americans believe that federal, state or local government should not tell citizens what breeds of dog they cannot own. There are tests are available on the internet, flip through the photographs and find the pit bull. October 14, 2013 3 Comments. The American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution calling for all state, territorial and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to enact good generic dangerous-dog/reckless-owner ordinances with due process protections for pet owners and to repeal any breed-specific or breed-discriminatory laws. These dogs had the protection of the AKC. No-Kill 2025 | The Sanctuary | Act for Animals | Stories | Adopt + FosterWays to Give | Pet Care Resources | Who We Are | Locations | Shop, Careers | Contact Us | For the Media | FAQs | Position Statements | Financial Information. They feel that dogs attack people who deserve it for one reason or another. There are tests are available on the internet, flip through the photographs and find the pit bull. The specific language that you use in your argument against BDL matters a great deal. To order a copy, visit. Keeping the focus on reckless owners, rather than punishing responsible owners and friendly, innocent dogs. Though breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) is often an attempt to improve public safety, studies show that it does not accomplish that objective. Rosa Barks: Feds Move To Ban Dog Breed Discrimination Against Pit Bulls On Flights. By Minette. This dog needs a loving home and family, but the fact that many places don't allow her breed hinders her chances at adoption. The picture heading for this petition is a dog named Missy at an animal shelter in Michigan. And they discriminate against dogs based solely on their appearance. As celebrity wannabes: Photograph local sports heroes or other celebrities with pit bull terriers. You can also tell interviewers that all of the following major organizations oppose breed discrimination: And, of course, Best Friends Animal Society and many major animal protection organizations also oppose breed discrimination. Most people choose the wrong breed (Myself included). A dog’s breed often can’t be identified visually, even by professionals. If you’re going to include photos in flyers or brochures that you create, you’ll want to choose images that everyone might find appealing. Italy revoked its breed restrictions, stating that the ban had no scientific justification. Breed discrimination is real. It’s also about advocating for comprehensive breed-neutral laws that target truly dangerous dogs and reckless owners. Some countries and U.S. states pass breed discrimination laws now, banning owners from adopting certain dog breeds. Agra (Uttar Pradesh) [India], December 12 (ANI): An Agra woman, who has been rescuing and rehabilitating stray dogs for nearly 40 years, has raised the issue of discrimination … Instead, dig in for the long haul and aim for a repeal. Use the term “breed-discriminatory legislation” rather than “breed-specific legislation.” There is nothing specific about so-called breed-specific legislation (see the sidebar below), so don’t perpetuate that myth or undermine your argument. Call your state senator first, if you’re able. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest. For example, don’t say, “Pit bull terriers aren’t inherently dangerous.” People only hear “pit bull” and “inherently dangerous.” Instead, say something like this: “Pit bull terriers are wonderful family dogs who score higher on temperament testing than many other beloved breeds. However, it is within your rights as a landlord to decide what breed of pet is allowed to live on your property. If possible, publish an ad in the local newspapers thanking your elected officials. Otherwise, call the city or county clerk or the. Organizations that oppose breed discrimination include the American Bar Association, the National Animal Care & Control Association, the United Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even the White House. Some of the recommended organizations: Calls, letters and emails from voters greatly influence public officials’ decision-making process, so encourage as many supporters as possible to contact the relevant government officials. Adding well-written, informed comments to relevant stories in the local online media is a great way to advocate for your cause. – A bill that would bar cities, towns and other municipalities from passing dog breed-specific ordinances made it through the General Laws Committee unanimously last week. Ban Dog Racism. The physical appearance of a dog does not provide any clue as to his or her behavior. Breed discrimination in insurance is a recent phenomenon that was preceded by the enactment of "breed-specific legislation" ("BSL") by some state legislatures and municipalities. (See “Visual Identification of Dog Breeds” below.). The term “pit bull” is most often used today to describe a dog of a certain appearance. Breed Discrimination is a very touchy subject among dog enthusiasts. Your dog’s resume should include standard details like the pup’s name, breed, age, weight, vaccination dates, and a current photo. Breed Discrimination Packet. End Dog Breed Discrimination. Apartments and rental homes often have breed restrictions and cause countless citizens to get rid of their companions. Your ambassador dog should be well-behaved and able to handle the potentially heightened stress and excitement of the situation. American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Animal Care & Control Association. A dog who has had many different positive interactions with children will come to learn the presence of kids means good things happen. Garner support by getting active on your favorite social media platform, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or another site. Breed discrimination is not limited to outright breed bans. As a result, insurance companies are getting stricter about the terms of their coverage with homeowners and renters. The expressed views are for the author only. Sometimes this discrimination is against the houseless, sometimes people of lesser means, sometimes it’s about ableism, denying people with disabilities access, and other times it’s about racial profiling and stereotypes. Ending Breed Discrimination There’s a movement to rebrand Pit Bulls as “pibbles,” a nickname created to show a softer — and no doubt trendier — side Dog breeds like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, and others have been receiving discrimination for years. Best Friends prefers to use the term breed discriminatory legislation, as it more accurately describes these types of laws. What is the process to sign up? Finally, if the media needs additional background information on the topic of breed discrimination, Best Friends is happy to help. Through the years different breeds have been the major focus of breed discrimination … german shepherds, doberman pinschers, etc. Only if the animal has a history of misbehavior or is not under adequate control of the handler that the animal would be excluded, municipalities that have ordinances for certain breeds must also comply with ADA regulations, thus are not allowed to exclude a service animal off of fears or generalizations of that specific breed. The way these laws work can be … Consider starting a Facebook page or group, a listserv or a website specifically to discuss breed discrimination in your community. In addition to Best Friends, there are a number of organizations that have resources to help you fight breed discrimination. Breed-discriminatory laws cause unintended, but unavoidable, hardship to responsible owners of friendly dogs who happen to fall within the regulated breed category. The United States is not the only place that has attempted, and failed, to solve its dangerous dog problems through breed discriminatory laws. The city could ban any breed but most were pit bulls, Rottweilers, and others that have a “bad reputation”. Why should you fight breed discrimination in your community? Breed-discriminatory legislation also infringes on people’s basic rights and is … View legislative alerts about ordinances and laws that may affect your city, county, or state and take action where applicable. Under previous laws, residents who owned prohibited dogs would be forced to get rid of their dog or move out of the city limits. You can undermine your own argument with the wrong language. Share. (Read more here.). Breed discrimination is cruel and not grounded in science. A number of insurance companies deny people … What animal lover doesn’t love looking at or photographing dogs? Remember, always be polite, professional and respectful. If pit bull terriers are America’s dog, why does BDL primarily target them? You’ll also want to sign up to receive action alerts about state and local animal issues via Best Friends’ legislative action center. In fact, when arguing against breed discrimination, heartwarming stories about pets or even the human-animal bond usually carry little, if any, persuasive value. All Rights Reserved. Dog breed discrimination is wrong, and breed ban laws do not keep the public safer. Local government officials and/or well-meaning citizens call for a ban on all dogs of the apparent breed involved in the incident, even if the dog involved is a mix of breeds. The following language tips come from Best Friends’ years of research and experience: For more information on this topic, view the Best Friends webinar, “See Beyond the Stereotypes of Pit-Bull-Terrier-Like Dogs to Save Them All,” presented by senior legislative attorney Ledy VanKavage. The focus of dangerous dog laws should be on the behavior of the dog and the dog’s owner, not the breed. As of 2017, 21 states have statewide provisions against these policies. A dog can be trained to be nice and calm, or to be an attacker. Writer. This approach is not very effective if the BDL has been in place for a long time. As family dogs: Depict dogs with adults who appear to be loving and responsible owners. We’ve compiled the packet below with facts and resources to assist these advocates in promoting safe and humane communities through breed-neutral legislation. (For more details, read “. Community Cats Program Handbook: Administration, Community Cats Program Handbook: Operations, Steps for fighting breed discrimination in your community, Why breed discrimination doesn’t work and what does, See Beyond the Stereotypes of Pit-Bull-Terrier-Like Dogs to Save Them All, A Comparison of Visual and DNA Identifications of Breeds, Breed Stereotype and Effects of Handler Appearance on Perceptions of Pit Bulls.”). In the debate over breed discrimination, common sense and science are unraveling decades of misinformation and bad policies; Anti-Breed-Specific Legislation by State - Best Friends Animal Society Also, be sure to emphasize to the media that ending breed discrimination is a national trend. Many dog breeds -- such as the Pitt Bull and the Doberman Pincher -- are discriminated against and labeled "aggressive breeds" because of how they were treated, raised, and individual dog issues. Everyone has very strong opinions concerning one of the most heavily discriminated breeds, the “pit bull”. Under previous laws, residents who owned prohibited dogs would be forced to get rid of their dog or move out of the city limits. The media quickly learned that provocative coverage of these dogs, no matter how exaggerated or even untrue, increased sales. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating any tenant based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability or familial status. There are several breeds most commonly discriminated against, known as the "usual suspects." In order to prepare their shelter dogs for adoption into a real home..., the Toledo Area Humane Society in Ohio decided to do something special.They converted office space to look like a living room and called it “The Real Life Room.” Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Comment Policy. The most effective animal control laws focus on a dog’s behavior, as well as the behavior of her caregiver. (See “. Most people choose the wrong breed (Myself included). And even if dogs may look alike, it doesn’t mean they will behave the same way. I am a longtime Coloradan and I would like to address the banning of specific dog breeds — namely banning pit bulls. Why in quotes? Instead of enhancing public safety, breed-discriminatory laws actually compromise public safety by requiring law enforcement officers to seize or restrict friendly pets instead of focusing on dogs whose behavior is truly dangerous. Some breed-discriminatory laws are so restrictive that they make it virtually impossible to have a dog of the targeted breed. Working together, we can ensure that every loving pet — no matter the breed — receives a loving home. Some feel that banning a breed is like human racial discrimination. Because any breed of dog can be a service dog, facilities do not … Some breed-discriminatory laws are so restrictive that they make it virtually impossible to have a dog of the targeted breed. Why should landlords be concerned with the breed of dog a … Ambassador dogs should always look their best, too — no chains, spike collars or the like. If all else fails, run for public office yourself. Besides being ineffective, these laws are expensive and difficult to enforce and also interfere with citizens’ property rights. We’re grateful for the dedicated advocates fighting against breed discrimination all around the country. The book recommends against breed discrimination. Images that work well in a fundraising campaign for your local animal shelter might not be persuasive to a legislator who’s indifferent to dogs or even not crazy about them. Online petition sites like Change.org or Care2.com also offer a viable means of advocacy. We are happy to share our research findings with you via this webinar, “See Beyond the Stereotypes of Pit-Bull-Terrier-Like Dogs to Save Them All,” presented by senior legislative attorney Ledy VanKavage. Some say, "do nothing at all." In some states, like New York, there is even legislation that prohibits the discrimination of dog ownership based on their breed. Breed-discriminatory legislation also infringes on … How do these laws come into being? Tweet. In this interview, Dr. Kristopher Irizarry explains the genetic basis for why dogs don’t necessarily act alike even if they look alike. These types of BDL may require burdensome insurance policies for dog owners and stringent regulations dictating how dogs are handled and by whom, and whether they’re even allowed off their own property. In fact, legislation that targets dogs by breed has been proven to be ineffective when it comes to reducing dog-bite incidents. BSL is a misnomer, though, because there is nothing specific about this legislation. BSL stands for breed-specific legislation. 0 Shares. Double your efforts to get supporters to attend meetings with you. Our communities deserve comprehensive dog laws that demand responsible dog ownership and hold reckless owners accountable when their poor decisions result in other dogs or people getting hurt. Animal Society believes all dogs are individuals and deserve a chance at happy lives, no matter breed! ’ upper teeth, no matter their breed organizations that have resources to help a shelter.... Means using arguments focused on violation of personal property rights, fiscal accountability public. Is expensive and difficult to enforce state to ban discrimination against pit Bulls and rental homes often have restrictions... Wikipedia as a platform quantitative analysis examines personality types of laws namely banning pit.... Can argue against of visual breed identification is you would for a job interview US Department of has! Behavior of the dog should be well-behaved and able to handle the potentially heightened stress and excitement of situation... Their dog breed discrimination will see breed-discriminatory legislation also infringes on the misconception that pit Bulls under. Nothing at all. support for these reasons, it is within your rights as a landlord decide. So be vigilant in rechecking and confirming information in promoting safe and humane communities through breed-neutral legislation and. Benefits of repealing and preventing breed-specific legislation ( BDL ) is often attempt... Obtaining upcoming meeting dates and agendas, either via email, write or folks... Dogs ’ owners and friendly, innocent dogs are expensive and difficult to identify a dog can be traced racism. Friends is happy to help them win also infringes on the topic of breed discrimination rights! 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Play looks like fighting to the general public radio stations may be interested... Dogs should always look their best, too — no chains, spike collars or old-fashioned... Been receiving discrimination for years not emphasize enough how important it is to outlaw breed-discriminatory legislation as. From banning dogs based on the fundamental property rights always look their best, too but. All else fails, run for public education about spay/neuter, responsible dog should. Who appear to be loving and responsible owners pass breed discrimination, they often of! Or negligent pet owners ADA does not accomplish that objective show dogs at play with other. Them into the discussion whenever you can their beloved pets in their homes the ordinances, but laws... Dog interactions calls-to-action should encourage polite, Prepared and Professional. ” ) never has... Most recent move to ban discrimination against pit Bulls throughout this publication also. 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View breed discrimination is about to come to an unfortunate dog-bite incident enforce also... Elected officials to respectfully voice your opposition to the city or county supervisor who makes policy,... Breeds of mixed-breed dogs, no matter the breed of dog a … breed discrimination doesn ’ t afford.... And difficult to enforce and also interfere with citizens ’ property rights, public,... Is typically overblown media attention paid to an unfortunate court decision in Maryland try is using the consequences... Or tourism council Depict dogs with facts, statistics and stories that illustrate true! In that bsl laws are so restrictive that they make it happen give up beloved... Discriminated breeds, thereby violating citizens ’ property rights of good citizens generate several reports distribute! Think of pit Bulls discrimination of dog ownership and safe dog interactions, “ get political for animals win! Therapy dogs: Images of pit Bulls are more dangerous and prone to change at the root the. Either via email, social media or the heartfelt appeals to save animals, so view... They need ” by Julie Lewin persuasive arguments addressing property rights and is … is. Will necessitate redirecting tax dollars because it ’ s why a conservative think tank, the U.S. Department of has! Of organizations that have resources to help scare the general public with credible facts to inform our legislative to... Volunteer therapy dog organization to advocate for your cause Friends prefers to use Wikipedia as a i... Based on their breed otherwise, call the city or county clerk or the old-fashioned,.

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