Tia Ellen Stone
Breed Specific Legislation
Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, is a piece of legislation that either bans or restricts certain
breeds and/or types of dogs based on their appearance and perceived danger(1). BSL is ineffective in
it's goal to prevent dog bites. Preventing dog bites needs to start with education. 56% of dog bite
fatalities in 2013 were children under the age of 7(2). This serves to show that lack of education may
have been a factor in the attack. Educating children on the proper treatment of an animal and respecting
the danger that any dog poses is key in the solution. Even Tony Solesk, father of pit bull attack victim
Dominic Solesky, does not believe this is a breed specific issue, when talking about the court case,
Tracey vs. Solesky, Solesky states that “I was hoping that they would come up with a strict liability for
all dogs,”. Solesky does not single out pit bulls, he even has family members that own pit bulls.
BSL also fails in it's identification of Pit Bull Terrier mixes, incorrectly classifying many
Labrador mixes and Mastiff mixes as Pit Bull Terrier mixes(2)(3). It is insensible to ban a dog when
you can not properly identify it's breed. In several states throughout the United States law section 8-55
“allows the determination that a dog is a pit bull based on nonscientific evidence”(3). This
shows that they are aware of their own inablility to correctly identify pit bull mixed breeds.
means dogs are being disciminated based soley on their looks.
BSL fails to focus on the wider issue of responsible pet ownership. Many dogs that are involved
in attacks are unlicensed, unvaccinated, unaltered animals. If laws more effectively enforced
responsible pet ownership, offered husbandry education and spay/neuter assistance, the situation in
which a dog bite occurs would be less likely to arise(4). With...