Breed discrimination is real. These harmful measures are purely discriminatory in nature. 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. There are several breeds most commonly discriminated against, known as the "usual suspects." A dog is only aggressive if you make it aggressive. Why in quotes? 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. Both breed discrimination and BSL are a perceived response to highly publicized attacks by certain breeds, particularly Pit Bulls. I agree wholeheartedly, and my first decision as CEO of WHS was to change a long-held, breed-based policy that had resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of dogs. There are tests are available on the internet, flip through the photographs and find the pit bull. (See “Visual Identification of Dog Breeds” below.). You can also ask media representatives to contact Best Friends’ senior legislative attorney, Ledy VanKavage, at ledyv@bestfriends.org. Some feel that banning a breed is like human racial discrimination. 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. Arin Greenwood . 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. All breed-specific policies and laws can be traced to racism, classism, and ableism. When making image choices in your anti-BDL efforts, however, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. By Travis Zimpfer on March 22, 2016 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Virginia has banned municipalities from banning dogs based solely on their breed, but this discrimination remains in their homes. Note that both dates and agendas are prone to change at the last minute, so be vigilant in rechecking and confirming information. In fact, legislation that targets dogs by breed has been proven to be ineffective when it comes to reducing dog-bite incidents. Besides being ineffective, these laws are expensive and difficult to enforce and also interfere with citizens’ property rights. Eliminating breed labels, which people seem to be using as poor proxies for stereotyped traits, may be the key to banishing a significant amount of dog discrimination—and getting more dogs into homes, Feuerbacher and the other researchers argue. Dog breed bans and other forms of breed discriminatory legislation force many people to give up their beloved pets. Some people assume some breeds of dogs are more prone to attacking and biting, though this is a misconception. The city could ban any breed but most were pit bulls, Rottweilers, and others that have a “bad reputation”. When a breed-discriminatory law is passed, the burden of proof is on the municipality to prove that a dog is of a certain breed. This petition had 15,894 supporters. ©2019 Best Friends Animal Society. However, it is within your rights as a landlord to decide what breed of pet is allowed to live on your property. Consider starting a Facebook page or group, a listserv or a website specifically to discuss breed discrimination in your community. 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. As of 2017, 21 states have statewide provisions against these policies. 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. This strategy won’t be persuasive. Animal shelter workers were right in guessing the heritage of a mixed-breed dog only 12.5 percent of the time. Click here to access.). Politely relay your concerns to your community’s chamber of commerce or tourism council. Are certain breeds of dogs inherently aggressive and dangerous? The term “pit bull” is most often used today to describe a dog of a certain appearance. Some say, "do nothing at all." Dr. Good testified at a hearing that if Dearborn adopted a breed-discriminatory provision targeting pit bull terriers, she’d lose one-third of her clients and would have to move her practice out of Dearborn. (Note: These provisions are not necessarily outright bans against BDL.). VIDEO: Lawmakers discuss the benefits of repealing and preventing breed-specific legislation. If your local government also has a city manager or county supervisor who makes policy recommendations, contact him or her as well. Pets on Wheels is a Non-Profit 501c3 volunteer Therapy Dog organization. Keep in mind, though, that not everyone (and certainly not a majority of government officials) shares that perspective. Remember to keep a respectful, polite tone at all times. Get to the meeting early so that you can introduce yourself to the city council members before the meeting starts. Tweet. We’re grateful for the dedicated advocates fighting against breed discrimination all around the country. You can email Ledy Vankavage (ledyv@bestfriends.org), Best Friends senior legislative attorney. For these reasons, it is important to use the term “breed-discriminatory legislation” rather than “breed-specific legislation.”. The quantitative analysis examines personality types of the owners with the type of dog owned. I am a longtime Coloradan and I would like to address the banning of specific dog breeds — namely banning pit bulls. To download a Best Friends flyer stating this fact. And so America’s dog became the victim of a witch-hunt fueled by growing media hype based on negative stereotypes. Municipal officials should know that DNA testing is expensive and will necessitate redirecting tax dollars away from other areas. This approach is not very effective if the BDL has been in place for a long time. You will see breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) also referred to as breed-specific legislation (BSL). In addition to Best Friends, there are a number of organizations that have resources to help you fight breed discrimination. Arizona Has Become The 20th State To Ban Discrimination Against Pit Bulls. The Insurance Information Institute says about $479 million was paid by all insurance companies for dog bite claims in 2011. 27 Washington cities have bans or restrictions on pit bulls, but this discrimination is about to come to an end. So, if breed discrimination doesn’t work, what does? 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. The way these laws work can be … Best Friends, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals; provides adoption, spay/neuter, and educational programs. Children need to be taller than the dog. In addition to these online resources, Best Friends’ legislative experts have many ways of supporting your efforts to overturn existing breed-discriminatory laws or counter a proposed measure in your area. Our research findings were groundbreaking, not only helping the collaborative efforts that ultimately led to success in Maryland, but galvanizing our legislative efforts across the nation, leading to breed discrimination being outlawed in Nevada, South Dakota and Utah. Breed discrimination is real. However, the problem of dangerous dogs will not be remedied by the “quick fix” of breed-specific laws—or, as they should truly be called, breed-discriminatory laws. Images that work well in a fundraising campaign for your local animal shelter might not be persuasive to a legislator who’s indifferent to dogs or even not crazy about them. Breed discrimination is not limited to outright breed bans. Animal rights activists are rejoicing over the US Department of Transportation’s most recent move to ban airline breed discrimination. Breed-Discriminatory Legislation (BDL/BSL) Fiscal Impact. It’s extremely helpful if veterinarians speak out against breed discrimination at public meetings or by contacting local government officials. 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. Which dog breed is next? Divide different points among advocates so that testimony isn’t repetitive. Some feel that banning a breed is like human racial discrimination. Take a deep breath and then: When you do win, be sure to thank your public officials as well as your fellow advocates. Nonprofits can lobby, too (but please visit the Bolder Advocacy website for more information). 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. 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. 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. Keeping the focus on reckless owners, rather than punishing responsible owners and friendly, innocent dogs. And be sure to share this information with fiscally conservative citizens or citizen groups, as well as your dog-loving neighbors, friends, family and social media contacts. This media bias started in 1987 when an issue of “Sports Illustrated” featured a photo of a snarling pit bull terrier on the cover and an article inside made a case against them. To learn from our favorite dog ambassador, Captain Cowpants, visit facebook.com/captaincowpants. A dog who has had many different positive interactions with children will come to learn the presence of kids means good things happen. For more information, email Best Friends at info@bestfriends.org. For how long? If you are interviewed by local media representatives, provide them with basic information first, but be ready to share specific talking points if asked. Here are a couple more resources to consult when creating your case against breed discrimination: For more on how to become politically active for animals, Best Friends recommends the following books: Animal advocates just like you have successfully defeated and repealed BDL measures throughout the country. In this interview, Dr. Kristopher Irizarry explains the genetic basis for why dogs don’t necessarily act alike even if they look alike. 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. 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. Support for these laws is based on the misconception that pit bulls are more dangerous and prone to aggression than other dog breeds. They discriminate against many types of dogs, but one of the primary victims is also one of America’s most beloved dogs — the pit bull terrier. Pin. Share. It’s also about advocating for comprehensive breed-neutral laws that target truly dangerous dogs and reckless owners. Although multiple factors are involved in dog-related fatalities, most factors (isolation from positive family interaction, mismanagement by owners, abuse or neglect, dogs left alone with a child, etc.) Re-examine all efforts to date to learn where adjustments may need to be made and how strategy may need to be altered. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating any tenant based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability or familial status. View legislative alerts about ordinances and laws that may affect your city, county, or state and take action where applicable. But because of breed discrimination, pit bull-type dogs and other dogs who are unfairly discriminated against for appearing a certain way are sometimes not allowed on airplanes—which puts their humans in a very problematic position. I believe the research shows that not many people are aware of what breed discrimination is. Prepare yourself by obtaining upcoming meeting dates and agendas. As we emphasized in step 3, language matters. 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. And they discriminate against dogs based solely on their appearance. 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. No responsible dog owner should have to make that choice. Dog breeds like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, and others have been receiving discrimination for years. October 14, 2013 3 Comments. 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 group of laws targeting specific breeds of dogs deemed “dangerous” or “vicious” based on their appearance First of all, it’s often difficult to identify a dog’s breed simply by looking at him or her. What animal lover doesn’t love looking at or photographing dogs? Organize everyone willing to speak on the issue. Under previous laws, residents who owned prohibited dogs would be forced to get rid of their dog or move out of the city limits. Breed discrimination is cruel and not grounded in science. 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 … Breed discrimination often places families in the untenable position of having to choose between keeping their beloved animal companion and keeping their home. Their expertise understandably carries great weight with decision-makers. The Web pages for Best Friends’ pit bull terrier initiatives contain lots of valuable information and resources to help you learn more about the issues involved in breed discrimination. Distribute flyers on the street and at local veterinarians’ offices, dog training and doggie daycare facilities, feed stores, pet supply stores and groomers. One thought on “ 5 Ways to End Discrimination Against Pit Bulls ” Marie Shanahan December 23, 2019 at 10:42 am. (For more details, read “. It can take many forms, from individuals avoiding contact with certain breeds to insurance companies denying claims based solely on bully breed ownership. Your dog’s resume should include standard details like the pup’s name, breed, age, weight, vaccination dates, and a current photo. In reality there is nothing specific about them. Under previous laws, residents who owned prohibited dogs would be forced to get rid of their dog or move out of the city limits. Dress and speak as you would for a job interview. Email, write or call folks directly to relay your gratitude. The latest is the “pit bull”. 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. 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 city could ban any breed but most were pit bulls, Rottweilers, and others that have a “bad reputation”. 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. Shares Share Tweet Pin Arizona has just become the 20th state to completely do away with breed-specific legislation — laws that ban or otherwise regulate dogs by breed. 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. Who will be allowed to speak? Remember, always be polite, professional and respectful. Through the years different breeds have been the major focus of breed discrimination ... german shepherds, doberman pinschers, etc. Our communities deserve comprehensive dog laws that demand responsible dog ownership and hold reckless owners accountable when their poor decisions result in other dogs or people getting hurt. With grey-haired ladies: Research indicates that who a dog is photographed with affects people’s perceptions of the dog. 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. The most effective animal control laws focus on a dog’s behavior, as well as the behavior of her caregiver. 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. Support animal-friendly candidates in future elections to help them win. Dog breed discrimination One of Best Friends' main goals involves working to eliminate dog breed discrimination. Apartments and rental homes often have breed restrictions and cause countless citizens to get rid of their companions. BSL is a misnomer, though, because there is nothing specific about this legislation. Hicks’ bill would end dog breed discrimination. The impetus is typically overblown media attention paid to an unfortunate dog-bite incident. The next demonized dogs were the Northern breeds, the Malamutes and Huskies, who were assumed by many to be the equivalent of wolves. She's a Pitt Bull and one of the sweetest dogs I've ever had a pleasure to know. 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. Unfortunately, their popularity hasn’t always protected them, most notably when the media sensationalizes a negative story involving pit bull terriers. 4,014 likes. Community Cats Program Handbook: Administration, Community Cats Program Handbook: Operations, Steps for fighting breed discrimination in your community, Why breed discrimination doesn’t work and what does, See Beyond the Stereotypes of Pit-Bull-Terrier-Like Dogs to Save Them All, A Comparison of Visual and DNA Identifications of Breeds, Breed Stereotype and Effects of Handler Appearance on Perceptions of Pit Bulls.”). As a result, insurance companies are getting stricter about the terms of their coverage with homeowners and renters. Fact that discrimination plays in people moving into questionable living situations dogs affected BDL... Get political for animals and win the laws they need ” by Lewin! Other advocates and the general public, in particular those who aren ’ t always protected,. Shanahan December 23, 2020, 1:40 pm help dispel the myths about these dogs with adults who to! 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