Florida, Ohio Make Anti-BSL Progress

30 Jun

As a nation, one of the biggest problems facing our companion animals is Breed Specific Legislation. BSL unjustly sentences thousands of animals to death, and most commonly, pit bull-type dogs. Nationally, however, people are coming together to reverse the stereotypes against these breeds, and repeal legislation designed to punish them. Instead of penalizing a class of dogs based on misinformation and media hysteria – punishments should be doled out based on individual cases.

In Ohio this week, HB 14 passed in the House (and now moves on to the Senate). This important bill eliminates statewide BSL. Previously in Ohio, state law deemed that all pit bulls (defined as any dog commonly known as a pit bull) were vicious, and the state placed special ownership restrictions/requirements on people who had them as pets.

But HB 14 eliminates these measures, and dictates that “pit bulls” (there is no such breed, of course), be treated as all other dogs, and the same goes for their owners. Equal footing for all canines – as it should be.

Additionally, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 772 into law last week. This bill allows for dogs to be treated as individuals, and evaluated as such following situations of abuse. Previously, all dogs involved in dog-fighting (even those used as bait dogs) were designated as “dangerous” and sentenced to death. We all know the possibilities for rehabilitation (just look at Michael Vick’s former dogs) in situations like this – and now these animals will have the opportunity for a second chance at life.

Unfortunately, due to a tragic recent dog attack on an elderly woman in San Diego, the city is hyped up on media sensationalism. Hopefully this progressive city won’t fall back into regressive attitudes concerning BSL.

So congratulations to Ohio and Florida for these major milestones. Bit by bit, animal lovers are chipping away at the misconceptions and stereotypes that haunt these types of dogs.

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