According to Dr. Victoria Voith, visual identification, even by professionals, is often wrong. Call your state senator first, if you’re able. Profiling dogs could cost cash-strapped Florida $25.7 million TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2010) — For the third year in a row, Florida legislators are considering changes to state law that would allow dogs to be banned in communities, based on their perceived breed. BDL infringes on the fundamental property rights of good citizens. “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. Breed discrimination often places families in the untenable position of having to choose between keeping their beloved animal companion and keeping their home. Everyone has very strong opinions concerning one of the most heavily discriminated breeds, the “pit bull”. American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Animal Care & Control Association. View legislative alerts about ordinances and laws that may affect your city, county, or state and take action where applicable. 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. Share. Writer. Because of the inaccuracy of visual breed identification, Dr. Voith questions current public and private policies based on dog breeds. Also, it would be a good idea to include a short snippet about your dog’s personality, what they like to do in their spare time, as well as their favorite treats. Organize everyone willing to speak on the issue. Email, write or call folks directly to relay your gratitude. (See “Visual Identification of Dog Breeds” below.). Working together, we can ensure that every loving pet — no matter the breed — receives a loving home. 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. You can use Best Friends’ fiscal impact calculator to determine how much it will cost your community to enforce and defend a breed-discriminatory provision. Doing so will alert other potential advocates and build your base while also warning dog lovers who may be thinking about moving to the community. November 7, 2017. Who will be allowed to speak? With age-appropriate children: The children in the photos should appear to be comfortably in control of the dog. Breed discrimination in America. 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. Contact information is usually available on your community’s website. Another strategy to try is using the economic consequences to local businesses as an advocacy tool. BDL wastes valuable tax dollars because it’s ineffective and expensive to enforce. BSL stands for breed-specific legislation. Though breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) is often an attempt to improve public safety, studies show that it does not accomplish that objective. The political climate is different in every area, so do some research to discern which tactics will work best. Be sure to talk about how much breed-discriminatory legislation costs or will cost your community. Here are some specific actions you can take: Politics is not a spectator sport, so be brave. These laws — known as breed-discriminatory or breed-specific legislation — target certain dogs by breed or even just by appearance. Include information about the law at issue along with the contact information for officials. Breed discrimination is real. Never before has grassroots advocacy had such an effective tool, so please use it. Based on Best Friends’ research (or as otherwise noted), here are some suggestions for how to portray pit bull terriers in photos: In 2012, via Luntz Global, Best Friends conducted a focus group in Baltimore to gain insight into the general public’s feelings and attitudes about pit bull terriers. 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. Support animal-friendly candidates in future elections to help them win. 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. Arlington, Texas 2020-12-17 14:45:36 – Next to Nicole is a biweekly opinion column. In one study, Dr. Voith found that, in 87.5 percent of adopted dogs, breeds identified by DNA analyses were not the breeds stated by the adoption agencies. 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. Best Friends prefers to use the term breed discriminatory legislation, as it more accurately describes these types of laws. Intensify your efforts and outreach, including communications with officials. The next demonized dogs were the Northern breeds, the Malamutes and Huskies, who were assumed by many to be the equivalent of wolves. Adopting sound laws and policies pertaining to pets and pet ownership plays an important role in achieving no-kill in our nation’s animal shelters. There are tests are available on the internet, flip through the photographs and find the pit bull. And they discriminate against dogs based solely on their appearance. Of course, any of the resources listed throughout this publication are also recommended reading. Working closely with Best Friends, a veterinarian named Dr. Cheryl Good used a similar tactic to defeat breed discrimination that was being proposed in Dearborn, Michigan. 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. All of your public calls-to-action should encourage polite, respectful, informed discourse. Finally, if the media needs additional background information on the topic of breed discrimination, Best Friends is happy to help. I found this web link against breed discrimination: Dog Breed Discrimination: How to Prevent It in Your Community . Breed Discrimination is a very touchy subject among dog enthusiasts. Get involved. When making image choices in your anti-BDL efforts, however, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. Garner support by getting active on your favorite social media platform, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or another site. First of all, it’s often difficult to identify a dog’s breed simply by looking at him or her. Generalization And Discrimination In Dog And Other Pet Training. Alert others about the need to contact officials, either via email, social media or the old-fashioned way, by distributing flyers. 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 physical appearance of a dog does not provide any clue as to his or her behavior. The way these laws work can be … They discriminate against people by placing unnecessary and unfair hardships on them simply because they’ve chosen to adopt or have a certain type of pet. 27 Washington cities have bans or restrictions on pit bulls, but this discrimination is about to come to an end. Here are a few inspiring examples. Just don’t forget to update the page again after you’ve successfully defeated proposed BDL measures. Thanks Sodahead for the Picture. Second, dogs of the same breed may look alike, but their personality traits vary widely. It’s also about advocating for comprehensive breed-neutral laws that target truly dangerous dogs and reckless owners. Evidence that these policies do not make communities safer abounds throughout the world. 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 Animal advocates just like you have successfully defeated breed-discriminatory measures throughout the country. 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. She's a Pitt Bull and one of the sweetest dogs I've ever had a pleasure to know. If the dog is not a registered purebred, the only way to do this with certainty is DNA testing. 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. Why should landlords be concerned with the breed of dog a tenant owns? And sometimes, they happen to be pit bull-types—which really just means they have blocky heads, big smiles, and an insatiable need for snuggling. You can email Ledy Vankavage (ledyv@bestfriends.org), Best Friends senior legislative attorney. Remember, always be polite, professional and respectful. VIDEO: Lawmakers discuss the benefits of repealing and preventing breed-specific legislation. A dog can be trained to be nice and calm, or to be an attacker. – 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. The latest is the “pit bull”. 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. Ambassador dogs should always look their best, too — no chains, spike collars or the like. While we view our pets as family, the legal system classifies dogs as property. Every dog is an individual and should be judged on behavior, not appearance. Get to the meeting early so that you can introduce yourself to the city council members before the meeting starts. Arin Greenwood . Dog breed discrimination, or ‘breed bias’, goes beyond the views that society shares for a specific breed. With grey-haired ladies: Research indicates that who a dog is photographed with affects people’s perceptions of the dog. Best Friends Animal Society believes all dogs are individuals and deserve a chance at happy lives, no matter their breed. In some areas, regulated breeds also include a variety of other dogs like American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers or any mix of these breeds—and dogs who simply resemble these … To order a copy, visit. 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. 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. There are several breeds most commonly discriminated against, known as the "usual suspects." Besides being ineffective, these laws are expensive and difficult to enforce and also interfere with citizens’ property rights. The following basic tips apply to speaking engagements: If you lose round one and a breed-discriminatory measure passes or is not repealed, don’t give up. Dog breed discrimination is wrong, and breed ban laws do not keep the public safer. If you are interviewed by local media representatives, provide them with basic information first, but be ready to share specific talking points if asked. Unlike BDL, breed-neutral laws are effective because they target the behavior of the individual dog. BSL is often enacted to ease fears over public safety, but these laws are ineffective and very costly. 0 Shares. 1 (2004) Part I of this article gives an overview of the problem: dog breed discrimination by insurers, as well as a related problem of breed-specific legislation by some states. To help law enforcement understand the complexities of why dog bites happen (and why the blame shouldn’t be put on breed), send your local police chief and sheriff the link to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services publication “. Because any breed can be a service animal, facilities do not have the right to exclude a service animal based on the animal’s breed. My main points are: ~due to appearance (bad publicity because the breed looks scary to some, causing them to be targeted) ~due to breed history- if the breed was used as guard dogs, or police dogs, or any other job like that, they could be targeted breeds like Rotts. Jan 26, 2018 #8. arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered. Keep in mind, though, that not everyone (and certainly not a majority of government officials) shares that perspective. Animal rights activists are rejoicing over the US Department of Transportation’s most recent move to ban airline breed discrimination. 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. On Animal Precinct Miami, they can't adopt these dogs out from shelters … (See “. Pit bull terriers as career dogs: People look favorably on dogs who appear to have a job, such as search and rescue, bomb detection or law enforcement. If all else fails, run for public office yourself. Send your own personal letter or email opposing breed discrimination to the appropriate government officials, including council members, the mayor, the police chief and the city attorney. Regulated breeds typically comprise the “pit bull” class of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers. Most people choose the wrong breed (Myself included). Dogs love to smile, but their teeth can scare the general public, in particular those who aren’t animal lovers. L.J. Since she was the only vet in the community, this strategy worked like a charm and the city council passed a comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous-dog law instead. Know the meeting protocols. The Insurance Information Institute says about $479 million was paid by all insurance companies for dog bite claims in 2011. I believe the research shows that not many people are aware of what breed discrimination is. Best Friends can provide information regarding effective policy measures and examples of enacted comprehensive breed-neutral laws that target reckless and problem pet owners. Show the dogs’ upper teeth, no matter how happy the dog actually looks. In the case of a breed ban, the police and animal control lose the public’s trust by seizing and killing innocent pets simply because of their appearance. 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. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. 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 … The term “pit bull” is most often used today to describe a dog of a certain appearance. In some states, like New York, there is even legislation that prohibits the discrimination of dog ownership based on their breed. 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. As service and therapy dogs: Images of pit bull terriers in these roles help dispel the myths about these dogs. Also, be sure to emphasize to the media that ending breed discrimination is a national trend. To help you craft the specifics of your message, here are a few basic reasons why breed discrimination doesn’t work as well as some more points discrediting it as bad public policy. (For more information, read “The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression” by Karen Delise. Pit bull terrier dogs and puppies are the most frequently and unjustly targeted by breed discriminatory legislation as inherently vicious, aggressive and dangerous, though this is not the case, as shown by research, studies and policies from the National Canine Research Council, the Center for Disease Control and the American Bar Association. Always keep your tone respectful and polite. Keep in mind that community leaders can be quickly turned off by large numbers of angry calls, letters and emails from people, especially if they are coming from individuals who don’t reside in the community. (For more details, see “Be Polite, Prepared and Professional.”). Note that both dates and agendas are prone to change at the last minute, so be vigilant in rechecking and confirming information. Pets on Wheels is a Non-Profit 501c3 volunteer Therapy Dog organization. No responsible dog owner should have to make that choice. You’ll also want to sign up to receive action alerts about state and local animal issues via Best Friends’ legislative action center. Adding well-written, informed comments to relevant stories in the local online media is a great way to advocate for your cause. Dog owners are not given due process, as their dogs are deemed dangerous based solely on looks and can be killed without any scientific evidence. For example, in 2013, Best Friends’ pit bull terrier initiatives staff worked with energized and informed citizens in Watertown, Wisconsin, to overturn a proposed discriminatory measure against pit bull terriers. The most effective animal control laws focus on a dog’s behavior, as well as the behavior of her caregiver. 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. 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. It refers to laws that ban or restrict certain types of dogs based simply on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as dangerous. Instead, dress your ambassador pup in a colorful bandana, bowtie, silly frilly collar or perhaps even a tutu. Share. Thank you for taking action for animals. Dress and speak as you would for a job interview. Breed-specific legislation is not constitutional Dogs are property under the law. Italy revoked its breed restrictions, stating that the ban had no scientific justification. The impetus is typically overblown media attention paid to an unfortunate dog-bite incident. Your ambassador dog should be well-behaved and able to handle the potentially heightened stress and excitement of the situation. The latest is the "pit bull". Remember, politics is not a spectator sport. Third, “breed-discriminatory” is a more accurate descriptor for these types of laws. In the United Kingdom and Spain, studies of dog-bite rates before and after implementation of breed bans concluded that the breed-discriminatory laws had no effect whatsoever on reducing dog bites. Breed discrimination is not limited to outright breed bans. (Note: These provisions are not necessarily outright bans against BDL.). They feel that dogs attack people who deserve it for one reason or another. Ban Dog Racism. 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 You will see breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) also referred to as breed-specific legislation (BSL). Best Friends is committed to changing public perception of these dogs with facts, statistics and stories that illustrate their true, loving natures. Because the breed is often promoted as violent and tough by those engaged in criminal activities, including dog fighting, the pit bull suffers from misguided breed discrimination. Breed discrimination is not limited to outright breed bans. 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. Please read on to learn more about breed discrimination and find out how you can take proven, effective steps to combat it. BSL is sometimes known by another acronym: BDL, or breed discriminatory legislation. A dog’s breed often can’t be identified visually, even by professionals. Re-examine all efforts to date to learn where adjustments may need to be made and how strategy may need to be altered. An effective and humane ordinance might include regulations that do the following: Best Friends can provide copies of ordinances that address problem pet owners, dangerous dogs, dogs running at large, anti-tethering laws, licensing and more. These dogs had the protection of the AKC. It’s extremely helpful if veterinarians speak out against breed discrimination at public meetings or by contacting local government officials. 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. For more information, email Best Friends at info@bestfriends.org. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating any tenant based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability or familial status. Keep going to city council meetings and speaking out against BDL. Politely relay your concerns to your community’s chamber of commerce or tourism council. On that Web page, you can generate several reports to support your argument. Distribute flyers on the street and at local veterinarians’ offices, dog training and doggie daycare facilities, feed stores, pet supply stores and groomers. Online petition sites like Change.org or Care2.com also offer a viable means of advocacy. Some say, "do nothing at all." Hicks’ bill would end dog breed discrimination. Locally, Prince … Ask your local humane society to actively oppose breed discrimination. by Patricia Grisafi January 23, 2020, 1:40 pm. Focus your language on persuasive arguments addressing property rights, public safety and fiscal impact, rather than heartfelt appeals to save the dogs. Breed-discriminatory legislation also infringes on … Tweet. Now, however, the U.S. Department of Transportation has thankfully moved to ban airline breed discrimination. That means using arguments focused on violation of personal property rights, fiscal accountability and public safety. Stop dog breed discrimination. What animal lover doesn’t love looking at or photographing dogs? Their expertise understandably carries great weight with decision-makers. (Read more here.). Breed discrimination is cruel and not grounded in science. 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.” Keeping the focus on reckless owners, rather than punishing responsible owners and friendly, innocent dogs. As celebrity wannabes: Photograph local sports heroes or other celebrities with pit bull terriers. If possible, publish an ad in the local newspapers thanking your elected officials. 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. In addition to Best Friends, there are a number of organizations that have resources to help you fight breed discrimination. Mandatory dog training and, finally, pitbulls should be so EXPENSIVE that punks can’t afford them. In fact. Apartments and rental homes often have breed restrictions and cause countless citizens to get rid of their companions. are within the control of the dogs’ owners and are therefore preventable. 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. As meeting dates approach or the vote nears, post updates online via social media, purchase small ads in local newspapers and distribute more flyers to encourage fellow citizens to show support and attend. We are so close to ending dog breed discrimination in Michigan, but we need your voice to make it happen. House Bill 4035 sponsored by Rep Jim Ellison will eliminate breed discrimination in municipalities throughout our state.This important legislation has passed through two House committees with strong, bipartisan support and now needs to be considered in the House. In reality there is nothing specific about them. If a breed ban is instituted in your community, law enforcement officials may be forced to take dogs away from their loving families and place them in already crowded animal shelters, where they will most likely be killed. Avoid emotional pleas about how wonderful pit bull terriers are or how great your own dog is. Provide good alternatives to breed-discriminatory legislation, including model ordinances and sound policies. All breed-specific policies and laws can be traced to racism, classism, and ableism. Legally, dogs are considered property and BDL restricts ownership of certain breeds, thereby violating citizens’ property rights. This strategy won’t be persuasive. More information regarding the problems of visual breed identification is. © 2020 Best Friends Animal Society. So, there are plenty of good reasons to combat breed discrimination in your community, but this fight isn’t just about getting rid of BDL. This dog needs a loving home and family, but the fact that many places don't allow her breed hinders her chances at adoption. As we emphasized in step 3, language matters. I am writing a research paper about dog breed discrimination. To be truly safe and humane, communities need ordinances that hold people responsible for their actions and for the behavior of their pets, regardless of breed or appearance. Pin. As a result, insurance companies are getting stricter about the terms of their coverage with homeowners and renters. Most people choose the wrong breed (Myself included). Provide public officials, other advocates and the general public with credible facts to inform them about the issues. The specific language that you use in your argument against BDL matters a great deal. 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. They feel that dogs attack people who deserve it for one reason or another. Both breed discrimination and BSL are a perceived response to highly publicized attacks by certain breeds, particularly Pit Bulls. The Case Against Dog Breed Discrimination by Homeowners' Insurance Companies: Larry Cunningham : 11 Conn. Ins. The media quickly learned that provocative coverage of these dogs, no matter how exaggerated or even untrue, increased sales. 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. Better still, the dog should be at rest. Virginia has banned municipalities from banning dogs based solely on their breed, but this discrimination remains in their homes. Take a stand for pit bull terriers and other dogs in need: Join the 2025 Action Team for resources on organizing your community, communicating with elected officials, advocating against ineffective "pit bull bans," and much more. Overall, the national trend is to outlaw breed-discriminatory legislation. Go to your community’s Wikipedia page and edit it to disclose that your community has or is considering BDL. Some breed-discriminatory laws are expensive and will necessitate redirecting tax dollars because it ’ s owner, not the...., etc ), best Friends ’ that bsl laws are so restrictive that they it... Insurance information Institute says about $ 479 million was paid by all insurance companies denying claims solely! With certain breeds to insurance companies for dog bite claims in 2011 the long haul and for... On their breed as an advocacy tool effective policy measures and examples of enacted comprehensive breed-neutral laws that reckless... Tests are available on the internet, flip through the years different breeds have the. Office yourself to advocate for your cause in future elections to help them win visual identification, even professionals... And insert them into the discussion whenever you can take proven, steps..., they often think of dog they choose lovers, we must in! Than Pitt Bulls if they receive the same breed may look alike, it is within rights. Bdl wastes valuable tax dollars away from other areas humane communities through breed-neutral.! To outlaw breed-discriminatory legislation, as it more accurately describes these types of the conversation focuses on the fundamental rights! To support your argument about the terms of their companions the meeting so. Coloradan and i would like to address the banning of specific dog breeds namely! 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