This week, President Obama and his administration came out against breed-specific legislation (BSL).
In response to a petition to ban such legislation, the Obama administration wrote, "we don't support breed specific legislation — 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 20 years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and it's virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The petition, which gathered more than 30,000 signatures, was posted on "We The People," the White House’s official site for citizen suggestions. According to its terms of participation, the administration is only required to respond once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures.
Laws that target specific breeds are typically local laws, and such legislation has been passed in hundreds of U.S. towns. In places like Denver, CO, breeds such as Pit Bulls are either put down or can only be adopted outside the county.
In addition to the CDC, the American Bar Association and the Humane Society of the United States have also stated they’re opposed to BSL. Seventeen states have banned legislation that targets specific breeds.
Obama has also come out against military policies that single out certain dog breeds. The Marine Corps bans "large dog breeds with a predisposition toward aggressive or dangerous behavior," including Pit Bulls, from on-base housing. Many Air Force, Army and Navy installations have done the same.
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