BSL Bites Responsible Dog Owners in the Butt
by Katelyn Yang, Clarion Staff
Many people believe that there are certain breeds of dogs that are inherently dangerous to society. When people talk about dangerous dogs, the dogs that come to mind are pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers. Surprisingly, breeds such as German Shepherds, Boxers, Siberian Huskies, and Dalmatians can be found on the list of dangerous dogs as well.
However, studies show that breed is not a contributing factor to how aggressive a dog can be. The fault lies with irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to roam free, keep their dogs chained up, abuse and neglect their dogs, fail to socialize their dogs properly, and specifically breed dogs for aggressive traits to use them for dog fighting, guarding, and projecting a “tough” image.
Some propose Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to solve the dangerous dog problem. The primary goal of BSL is to minimize dog aggression by eliminating “dangerous dogs.” This would be accomplished by banning breeds in certain cities or states.
Opponents of BSL believe that focus should be placed on persecuting irresponsible owners, properly educating people on responsible pet ownership and breeding ethics, and dealing with individually aggressive dogs. There is also little evidence that shows BSL is effective. According to dog expert Jenna Stregowski, BSL will not solve the dog attack problem because “outlawing a breed will not stop irresponsible people from secretly obtaining banned breeds and subsequently turning them into dangerous dogs through mistreatment and poor breeding practices.” Also, any dog can bite regardless of the breed.
Breed Specific Legislation is also unfair to responsible dog owners. Families or owners of banned dogs have trouble when searching for homes because renters and landlords don’t allow clients to own certain types of dogs. In the past few years, some dog owners even lived in their cars because they refused to give up their dogs.
“Just like lions and tigers shouldn’t be pets, [dangerous dogs] shouldn’t be pets either,” JFK social studies history teacher Mr. Whalen stated. Cynthia Dominguez, a junior at Kennedy, noted, “… states and government don’t take the issue of proper and dangerous breeding as seriously as they need to … [and are] willing to place stigma on the dogs but not solve the problem.” Junior Brandon Vue believes that social media plays a big role in how dogs are perceived and that “dogs are vicious when raised that way.” It seems that adults are more likely to support BSL while students and younger generations are likely to oppose it; however, both share the belief that irresponsible owners are a main contributing factor to what makes a dog dangerous.