An End to Breed Specific Legislation?

10/03/2013

The Obama administration took a giant leap just a few weeks back to make it known that they disagree with Breed Specific Legislation against the stereotyped ‘aggressive dogs’ in city legislation. Responding to a petition started on ‘We The People’, the government’s official site for public suggestions and commentary, Obama’s team made it clear to dog owners everywhere that they don’t believe it’s effective or necessary.

As the owner of an "Aggressive Breed", a predominantly German Shepherd sweetheart of a dog named Bella, I learned the hard way while maneuvering these ridiculous local laws. After moving to Asheville, NC and looking for apartments during my college years, I was given three to four definitive turndowns due to my shepherd mix because she was on this No-No Rental List of aggressive breeds.

While that list changes from city to city, the most popular breeds to be dubbed dangerous are: Dalmatians, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, Boxers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and on nearly every list - Pit Bulls.

“We don’t support breed specific legislation,” the White House Administration wrote on the petition’s site. “Research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States and found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.”

President Obama’s view is that “a community-based approach” to ensuring citizens’ safety from animals is a much better approach to pet violence from any specific breed. “Ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners,” his statement said.

Obviously, this isn’t an approach that everyone shares - from mothers and fathers with small children in neighborhoods with these long-time convicted bullies of the block to victims of attacks by these specific dog-breeds. But how do we begin to break down the stereotypes placed on these breeds if we don’t move past laws targeting them as aggressive? And while these breeds have been singled out as the rotten seeds of the litter, we all know that there are many other full-bred and mixed-breed canines with less than lovable behaviors.

Will the administration’s stance convince states and military authorities to drop Breed Specific Legislation for good? Well it is certainly a step in the right direction. This can convince us all to investigate various types of aggression in order to understand what motivates your dog and others to act out of anger. Then we can all help to lessen our pet’s irritable moments rather than just place a red tape around their neck because of their breed and ban them from living full, happy lives.

Here are some great tips from the ASPCA concerning how to handle and correct aggressive behavior.

Darn, where we would be as humans if we had to follow the same stereotypical rules and legislation? We would certainly all be in the doghouse every time we felt our frustrations rising after missing coffee hour or getting stuck in traffic after work. "Sir, I’m going to need you to write your name here on the aggressive breed list." Ha!

 

Tiffany Narron is the owner of what some call an aggressive breed but what she knows is that Bella is the most cuddly, loveable four-legged creature ever to grace this wild world. Together they have managed to escape breed-specific bullshnizzle laws and live aggression-free in a super-fun neighborhood full of other non-aggressive pets including a very gnarly little dog with a tongue that wags in the breeze when he runs.

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