Archive for August 7th, 2011

The English Bulldog - Breed-Specific LegislationUnfortunately, the English Bulldog’s appearance, popularity (in numbers), and ancient occupation have often lead to trouble. The breed’s unique face is often seen as aggressive rather than comical, and people are afraid of her.
There have also been Bulldogs who have bitten people. Poorly bred, unso-cialized, abused or neglected, untrained English Bulldogs can be a threat to anyone within reach. These dogs may bite out of frustration with their lot in life, or they may bite because they are afraid. Unfortunately, any bite by a Bulldog reflects badly on the breed as a whole.

What Is BSL?

Breed-specific legislation (or, as it is commonly known, BSL) is any law that limits or forbids the ownership of certain kinds or dogs. Although Pit Bull-type dogs have been the primary target, Bulldogs have also been the focus of many breed-specific laws. These laws are usually introduced after a bad biting incident in a community. Perhaps a dog ran out the front door and chased down some kids running past, and when she caught the kids, she bit one of them. City or community lawmakers and parents hate incidents like these (so do dog owners!) and strive to prevent any more of them.
Unfortunately, BSL is not fair. An entire breed should never be punished because one or a few dogs have caused a problem.

There Are Better Ways

Another problem with BSL is that it doesn’t work. Many communities that have passed BSL laws have found that the incidence of dog bites has increased rather than decreased. This is usually because the legislation focused on a few breeds rather than on problem dogs and problem owners. Wiser communities have instituted other programs to counter dog bite problems.
– Dog clubs, dog trainers, veterinarians, humane societies, and shelters can emphasize responsible dog ownership. Flyers, brochures, classes, and news-paper articles can help dog owners learn more about their dogs and how to train and care for them correctly.
– Dog bite prevention programs in day care centers and schools have been very successful. Many dog clubs offer these programs, and the AKC has a free education program for elementary school children.
– Instead of blaming a breed of dog for a problem, the owner should be held responsible for the actions of his dog—or the owner’s lack of action in confining, controlling, training, and socializing his dog.
All dog owners need to be involved in their community. Legislation that threatens to erode dog owners’ rights to keep a dog are dangerous. Know what’s going on in your city, county, and state, and stay involved.

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