Glenn B., Administrator of Keep the Bull Breed Free, and Ashleigh L., Administrator of www.facebook.com/abolishbsl and creator of the Western Australia petition to end BSL, both contributed to this article.
“Breed-specific” legislation (BSL) relates to laws that attempt to regulate or ban certain breeds completely in an attempt to reduce dog attacks.
Keep the Bull Breed Free, now with 140,000 fans strong, advocates for all domestic breeds of dogs.
Administrator Glenn B. created Keep the Bull Breed Free as a forum for all bull breed owners and people who are considering owning bull breeds to enjoy this magnificent breed and to share stories, pictures, and knowledge.
“I first became aware of BSL two years ago when I saw Facebook posts about peoples’ disapproval of the laws, particularly in Victoria, Australia and the USA,” stated Glenn.
“I have always defended the bull breed and in particular, the American Pit Bull Terrier, which are restricted in Western Australia. Due to current BSL laws, they live under very strict regulations,” Glenn stated.
“The problems we face in today’s society are not breed-specific. Bully breeds in particular have been given a bad rap. I want to correct that, but you cannot focus on one dog breed to end BSL; the problem is much bigger than that.”
While Glenn resides in Western Australia (WA), he soon realized that BSL is a worldwide issue.
“The problem of ‘dangerous’ dogs will not be remedied by breed-specific/breed-discriminatory laws and practices,” Glenn stated.
“The solution is to change the attitudes and behaviors of all dog owners. Too many people don't train or socialize their dogs.
A lot of people don’t sterilize their dogs, either, which is why we have so many issues with over-breeding and dog-on-dog attacks.”
Ashleigh L. concurs.
"Many people don’t have the interest to provide adequate welfare or nutrition for the animal," she stated.
"But BSL is a very old-fashioned, lazy set of laws that covers the real problems. It’s also very unsuccessful. BSL worldwide is a terrible injustice to all breeds of dog and their responsible owners.”
Glenn advises that responsible dog ownership requires time, interest, and control of one’s animals.
“You have to make sure that your animal is a trusted and good citizen in your community,” he stated.
“The solution to ending dog attacks is to control owners, not dogs; hence our disapproval of the BSL,” Glenn stated.
“All dogs can bite, so we need laws that control the owners and force them to ensure all dogs are trained, socialized, sterilized, cared for, and loved," added Ashleigh.
“The BSL says only certain breeds are dangerous, but the laws need to alert everyone that any breed could potentially cause harm,” Glenn stated.
“Hence, very strict regulations must replace the BSL to ensure that all dogs are raised to be good canine citizens.
BSL has claimed thousands of lives while failing to actually provide any protection.
“There is a famous case in Victoria, Australia where two dogs, Koda and Bear, were destroyed as they simply looked like ‘pit bull types,” Glenn stated.
“And then there was a poodle in the U.S. who killed an American Pit Bull Terrier. This especially highlights the need to get rid of the BSL and introduce laws that control all owners and not dogs."
Keep the Bull Breed Free and WAABSL suggest implementing dog owner education programs to ensure that dog owners are completely confident in all aspects of responsible dog ownership.
“Dog owners are the complete cause for all dog attacks and it is time the laws targeted them instead of dogs,” Glenn stated.
One group in Western Australia, WAABSL, has a petition for Western Australians to end BSL in WA and to replace it with laws that control all dog breed owners.
“The petition requests that dogs are to be deemed ‘dangerous’ not due to their breed or appearance, but based on his or her individual history and temperament that has been approved by a qualified animal/canine behavior expert,” Glenn stated.
They have already collected over 3000 signatures.
They’re aiming for 100,000+ signatures to present to the Legislative Assembly during the dog act debates. People can join and sign up to the website and keep informed with our progress on our campaign.”
What can animal advocates do to help educate others about problems associated with BSL?
Help support campaigns to end BSL worldwide, beginning with WAABSL.
“Advocates can continue to increase awareness by promoting the very best things about the bull breeds,” Glenn stated.
"BSL is a reactive set of laws which do nothing to fix the root cause of the issues, which is dog owners.
Socialize your dogs. Be good owners. Reconsider breeding your dog due to the amount of bull breeds currently in pounds and shelters all over the world,” Glenn advised.
“We are very grateful for those who have helped us spread the word, in particular, the Facebook groups, and most importantly, the large amount of fans. We would be nothing without them.
We want the end of the BSL to be a family dinner conversation at least once a week! The need for dog ownership education is huge worldwide."
To learn more about WAABSL, visit their website.
For a brief guide to BSL in Washington State, refer to this article.
Throughout 2013, the Seattle Pets Examiner will provide articles on BSL in the Seattle area and beyond.
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