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BSL and the alternatives

Photo taken from "For the Love of Pit Bulls" website
Photo taken from "For the Love of Pit Bulls" website

BSL - Breed Specific Laws (Legislation)

“Racism against dogs”

BSL is the lawmakers way to deal with aggressive dogs and the irresponsible people who make them that way. Like people there are individual dogs who really can’t be helped with training or other methods, but BSL isn’t targeting those animals, it is targeting entire breeds because those particular breeds are the most likely to be bred and trained to be aggressive for whatever reason. The most common breeds to be banned are Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and any mix of those breeds.

Dogs that are permitted to run unattended in neighborhoods are often a nuisance or even a danger to others, but that cannot be blamed on a particular breed. Situations like that are solely the fault of the dogs owner who has trained (or not trained in many cases) and allowed the animal to run wild.

There is no evidence that these breed-specific laws are successful in what they set out to do. They are costly and very difficult to enforce, it seems communities would gain more by trying to enforce limitations on the amount of pets a family can have and enforcing license laws that are already in place in many states.

While I believe that BSL is immoral for many reasons, there are also problems in some communities with the license laws that are in place. Some lawmakers are taking things to extremes and families are going to suffer the loss of a beloved pet because of it. For example, one community changed their dog licensing laws and families with “aggressive” breeds are now susceptible to having their beloved pets taken from their homes if they do not meet the deadlines of updating their pets license. Updating your dogs license is inevitable, but usually there is reasonable period of time after the deadline where one is still able to renew the license, although a fee may incur. The new law pertaining to licenses in this particular community states that if a dogs license is not renewed by the specified date the animal will be taken from the home. Owners are not permitted to re-home the dog or attempt to renew the license, it will simply be taken and euthanized. Now that is an extreme case, while other communities have seem to have the right idea.

Elgin Illinois has put stricter requirements on owners of Pit Bulls. When a ban was called for in the community, the local law makers instead decided to amend their ordinance. I believe the new ordinance should apply to all dogs rather than just Pit Bulls, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Residents who own Pit Bulls will have to meet the following requirements to keep their dogs.

Purchase a 3 year license, costing $100 each

Mandatory Micro-chipping

Must have homeowners/Liability Insurance Coverage on the dog(s)
Every Pit Bull must be spayed/neutered and undergo obedience training

Another community that is holding dog owners responsible rather than punishing the breeds is Boaz Alabama. The owners of “potentially dangerous” pets are now required to purchase a permit for $25 and must have $500,000 worth of liability insurance. The cost of increasing a liability premium from $100 to half a million is less than $20 a year, which seems pretty reasonable to me considering what the alternative could be. Potentially dangerous pets in this community include but are not limited to snakes and vicious dogs (as deemed so by the ordinance).

Communities that take these steps are improving the health of the local dogs, the happiness of residents, and in some cases bringing in a little more money because people are willing to spend more to keep their beloved pets. In all ways it is a better situation than enforcing bans on specific breeds. Keep people responsible for their pets and educate the masses, that in itself will cut down on any issues with so called aggressive breeds.


For more information on BSL please visit the following website:


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