Breed Specific Legislation

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Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, is a law or ordinance passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. BSL is known to those who oppose it as “Bull Shit Legislation.” In practice, BSL generally refers to laws or ordinances pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds. BSL is a set of public policy laws designed to reduce the amount of dog bite-related injury and death. Lawmakers attempt to face this problem by examining the statistics surrounding dog bites and legislating against certain breeds. By far, the most common breeds focused upon are the pit bull type breeds. BSL relies on the premise that all dogs of a certain breed are vicious by their very nature. BSL might require an additional registration fee for certain breeds of dogs, requires the dogs to be muzzled in public, or completely forbids the keeping of those dogs. Breed-specific legislation applies only to dogs of a certain appearance, not to any and all dogs. It does not take into account how the owner has raised, trained, or managed the dog. It does not take into account the dog’s actual behavior. It is a common misconception that BSL refers only to breed bans. BSL is seen in two forms: breed bans and restrictions. A breed ban usually requires that all dogs of a certain appearance or targeted breed be removed from the municipality wherein the ban has been implemented. After the effective date of the ban, dogs in the municipality that are identified as targeted breeds are usually subject to being killed by animal control, though in some cases, such dogs may be saved if relocation is an option. Breed bans may have grandfather clauses that allow dogs of targeted breeds to stay in the area that has the set ban, provided they are registered with the municipality by a certain date, and likely subject to various breed-specific restrictions. Breed-specific
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