Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Face of a Killer?

I had my first run-in with breed-specific legislation (BSL) the other day. I was calling around to compare car-insurance quotes, as Aaron will be getting his license soon. One of the companies I called was Progressive. You know, the one with that lady in the commercials who's super excited to save people money on their insurance.
The representative on the phone told me that I might be able to save on car insurance if I bundle it with home owner's insurance. I told him I'd give it a shot, and he put me through to another rep. This one asked me various questions about the house, it's location, it's size, etc. Then he asked me if I had any dogs. I told him that we have three. In a conversational tone, he said, "Oh, what kinds do you have?" I told him a pit bull, a shepherd mix, and a chihuahua. He immediately told me, "Oh, we can't give you insurance." I asked why not, and then said, "Is it because we have a pit bull?" He answered in the affirmative.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) bans or restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance or because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs. It does not take into any account how the dog was raised or trained.

I think the people responsible for BSL take too much liberty with statutes that are already in place. For example, California state law, as part of the Food and Agricultural Code, states that there needs to be regulation on "potentially dangerous" and "vicious" dogs. They go on to describe a "potentially dangerous" dog as
Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal {or person} off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.
They then describe a "vicious" dog:
Any dog which, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being.
This could be ANY breed of dog. Aggressive behavior is more a result of the owner than the dog. That's not to say that pit bulls can't be aggressive, as in the past some had been bred to be animal aggressive. However, they have NEVER been bred to be aggressive towards humans unless that was done by an individual owner. Read more about their history here.

Progressive seems to think all pit bull owners allow their dogs to be vicious beasts.

Hmmmm.... Maybe they're right? As you'll see in the next few pictures, we not only allow, but encourage Blue to be dangerous and aggressive:

We've trained him to maim any animal in sight:

And he's just naturally vicious towards people:

He's obviously trying to rip my head off here:

And here:

He's always snarling, ready to attack at a moment's notice:

He even attacks inanimate objects that just look like animals:


Luckily, not everyone agrees with BSL. Some pretty heavy hitters in the animal world are active in trying to stop the legislation.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states:

To provide communities with the most effective dangerous dog control possible, laws must not be breed specific (emphasis mine).

The AKC also puts out a flyer:

More info about BSL on the AKC website here.

Along with the AKC, here are more organizations against Breed Specific Legislation:

~ American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
~ American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
~ Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
~ National Animal Control Association (NACA)
~ American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS)
~ American Canine Foundation (ACF)
~ The United Kennel Club (UKC)
~ Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC)
~ Maryland Veterinary Medicine Association

For more info, Pit Bull Rescue has good posts about BSL and lots of links.

Please don't automatically judge the bully breed simply for a few bad examples.

(bumper sticker by Cafe Press)


Pres DLCC said...

What a clear and concise blog, showing why BSL is so wrong.Hug that beautiful boy for me!


Hillary said...

I feel your pain! I have an Akita (and pit bull?) mix who is neutered, has completed a "good manners" class at the shelter where we adopted him, and who has absolutely no history of biting, animal control violations, etc.

A number of insurance companies have declined to provide us with homeowner's insurance because of his breed. If you're still looking for an insurance company, I'd suggest trying Amica.

I work for the HSUS, and as you noted, we are strongly against breed specific legislation and are in good company on that position.

Love your photos! Keep fighting the good fight.

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

My friends have two pit bulls and they are kind and beautiful!