Kentucky Dog Bite Series: Are Dog Breed Bans Working?

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is put in place for people’s safety. However, are they working? Under the breed specific legislation or breed discriminatory legislation, dogs of specific breeds, mixes or presumed to be specific breeds are restricted or prohibited. Owners may still get to keep their dogs, but they must follow any limitations or requirements set by the authorities. These may include: confinement, leash requirements and restrictions on access to public spaces.

Breed specific legislation
According to the National Canine Research Council, BSL has not helped decrease dog bite injuries. This is not just in U.S., but anywhere in the world where it has been imposed. One factor that was cited in an analysis published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association is the staggering number of dogs that would have to be completely removed to prevent serious dog bite related injury.

Related: Five Ways to Prevent a Dog Bite

Is BSL ineffective?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also thinks that BSL is ineffective and that there are other ways to improve public safety. For instance, the CDC recommends a community-based approach so dog bites can be prevented. According to the CDC, there are several factors that may affect a dog’s tendency to be aggressive. Socialization and training are two of them, and here's why it's so important:

  • More than 70% of all dog bite cases involve male dogs that were not neutered.
  • A male dog that is not neutered is 2.6 times more likely to bite than a neutered dog.
  • A chained or tethered dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than a dog that is not chained or tethered.
  • In 2006, 97% of dogs involved in fatal dog attacks were not spayed/neutered.
  • Of those, 78% were maintained not as pets but rather for guarding, image enhancement, fighting or breeding.
  • Around 84% were maintained by reckless owners. These dogs were abused, neglected, not humanely controlled or contained or allowed to interact with children unsupervised.

A ban on pit bulls in Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Some Kentucky counties think it is safer for specific dog breed bans to be put in place such as the officials in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, a Northern Kentucky city. They decided to ban pit bulls. This ban was imposed 30 years ago and city Mayor Mary Brown cast the deciding vote.

Related: Kentucky Dog Bite Series: Three Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

As a Kentucky Dog Bite Accident Attorney, I understand that BSL is imposed with the best of intentions. They are trying to help protect the public. However, if we train and socialize our dogs properly, then everyone can enjoy our dog without worrying about the dog attacking them. So, what do you think? Do you approve of BSL?

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