EDUCATE, NOT DISCRIMINATE!
Breed Specific Legislation – or ‘BSL’ – is the practice of using laws to regulate and restrict dog ownership based solely on the physical appearance of someone’s dog. It stems from the belief that some dog breeds are simply “born bad,” and identifying those examples can be as easy as noting certain physical features. In areas where “pit bulls” are restricted, authorities seek out dogs with large heads, muscular bodies, short fur, etc. – regardless of their genetic make-up.
Throughout recent history, select breeds have been targeted this way and large groups of innocent animals have lost their lives, typically after a well-publicized bite incident stirs fear in a community. This reactionary approach to public safety is regarded by experts as a knee-jerk and highly ineffective treatment for tackling the multi-faceted nature of any community’s dog issues, but it continues to be the fall-back solution in select countries as well as towns and counties dotted around the U.S.
Unfairly known as violent killers, Pit Bulls have suffered from the stigma of negative media coverage that has led to city-wide bans across the country. This breed-specific legislation has torn pets away from families, and killed thousands of innocent dogs in cities like Denver, Miami, Cincinnati, and San Francisco.
Far from being considered a killing machine on legs, pit bulls seem to be an American favorite in the early half of the century — indeed, during World War I, the country itself is personified as a pit bull on army recruitment posters, and several pit bulls go on to become famous in the American military. Referring to an athlete as a pit bull is a very common sports metaphor through the 1930s, and it is meant as the highest compliment.
There is also a famous racehorse in the late 1930s named Pit Bull, as well as a number of pit bull stars of early motion pictures. Frequently, pit bulls are associated with children, as in the Our Gang comedies ‘ The Little Rascals’, as well as with Buster Brown, both in short films and as the corporate mascot for a shoe company. The famous RCA Victor image of a dog and a gramophone also featured a pit bull terrier.
Unfortunately, many pit bull owners are faced with a type of breed bias that comes in the form of insurance companies that will not cover their dogs under their homeowner’s insurance policies. However, contrary to popular belief, these insurance company restrictions, known as “blacklists,” do not only apply to pit bulls.
The following breeds are commonly blacklisted by insurance companies:
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Bull Terriers
- Wolf Hybrids
- Doberman Pinschers
- Old English Bulldogs
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Presa Canarios
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
In conclusion, I personally think any kind of discrimination is wrong. No matter what species, breed, gender ANYTHING! I have two pit bulls who have done no harm to anyone. They are extremely loyal and loving dogs. When someone sees a pit bull or any other “aggressive” breed they flinch. Why? Do you know this dog? Did it try to attack you? No. You just assume its mean because of what they look like. Just give them a chance and learn to love them. All you will get in return in unconditional love and kisses.
Author: Community Care College VA Student Christian Castillo-Simpson
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