President Obama, White House Oppose Breed-Specific Legislation

In a rather startling move, President Obama and the White House publicly acknowledged on Tuesday, August 20th, that they are staunchly opposed to breed-specific legislation (BSL).     In response to an online petition which called for the outlawing of BSL on the federal level, the White House issued the following statement, which read in part,

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 twenty 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 that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate . . .

As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.

It’s unclear what is meant by “community-based approach” to preventing dog bites, but hopefully this is a reference to dangerous dog (owner) laws which put the onus on irresponsible dog owners of any breed with escalating fines and penalties.  

And as the Huffington Post noted, the American Bar Association echoed the CDC’s findings and has said for years that breed-specific restrictions “do harm — to families, to dogs, to due process and to the economy — without actually improving public safety.”

Additionally, and as the Huffington Post likewise pointed out, if the President is legitimately opposed to breed-specific legislation, he needs to repeal the breed-specific bans on U.S. military bases.   I fought hard against BSL on military bases, and here is only one post of several posts written about it.   Of course you can understand why BSL for military bases got my hackles up: It is unconscionable that while our brave fighting men and women were abroad that they were forced to fight the loss of their dogs from a battle field many thousands of miles away!   Unconscionable!  

Indeed, when I argued against BSL for military bases, believe me, I repeatedly raised the issue of how low it was for the military to be negating the very rights that our soldiers were abroad fighting for.   That twisted irony was not lost on the angry servicemen who contacted me, and it was certainly not lost on me.

So, good for you Obama administration for coming out against breed-specific legislation.   That’s a good start.   Now it’s time to remove BSL from military bases.   And since the military BSL was slimy, shady, and again, unconscionable, the Obama administration shouldn’t have too much trouble getting it rescinded.


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