Breed Specific Legislation "BSL"


Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is legislation that restricts, bans and/or eliminates certain breeds of dogs from being owned in that jurisdiction.  The legislation can include anything from requiring special licensing of a breed (breed restriction), extra measures an owner must take when in public with that dog breed (i.e. muzzled, leashed etc.), or to the total ban of certain breeds or mixes of breeds.  


Unfortunately this legislation is frought with challenges and gray areas - from the difficulty of identifying a dog's actual breed to failing to reach the problematic owners - responsible owners are impacted while irresponsible owners ignore the law and carry on.  Its basically racial profiling of the dog world.  


Here's an example of just one of the problems with BSL. Click and find the pit bull. Remember, its literally a life or death situation based on breed, not deed, so pick wisely because that dog will be destroyed simply because its illegal to be born a pit bull where he lives:


How did you do?  As you can see, BSL frequently results in innocent dogs being targeted while doing little to deal with dog bite frequencies and irresponsible owners.


Several jurisdictions in Canada have enacted BSL (Ontario enacted it in August, 2005) or are proposing enacting legislation that specifically names certain breeds as restricted or prohibited.


Extensive research has consistently demonstrated that BSL does not work.  The legislation that does work is known as "Dangerous Dog Legislation".  Instead of banning specific breeds, Dangerous Dog Legislation puts the onus on responsible dog ownership of all breeds. Promoting responsible ownership and targeting behaviour – not breed – is the only proven way to reduce dog bites and make communities safer.  It has been successfully implement elsewhere, including the City of Calgary with demonstrably positive results.


Canada's Guide to Dogs website notes, "Because of the very recent proposed province-wide Pit Bull breed ban by Attorney General Michael Bryant in the province of Ontario, a section specific to Ontario has been added which includes information about what you can do to help fight this legislation.  And now the New Brunswick Bill 55 - Restricted Dogs Act." 


To learn more about why BSL does not work, and what you can do to help change legislation from BSL to Dangerous Dog Legislation, check out the following sites:


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