Breed Specific Legislation:
Breed specific legislation is enacted upon the premise that breed
is the defining factor in determining whether or not a dog will
prove to be dangerous. If this premise were correct it would follow
that banning breeds, identified in some reliable manner as more
dangerous than other breeds, would result increased public safety.
For most of my adult life I have worked with dogs. I have worked
as a bather at a grooming shop, for almost 14 years as a veterinary
receptionist and a number of years as support personnel for Canine
Costars of Canada Ltd. which trains animals for the movie industry.
In my personal life I was active competing with my dogs and have
trained my dogs in such diverse sports as conformation, sheep herding,
drafting, flyball, obedience and schutzhund. My own experience led
me to believe that breed is not the single, nor even primary, determining
factor in dog attacks. I believed the premise of breed specific
legislation was essentially flawed as it did not address the underlining
cause of dog attacks, which I felt to be lack of responsible ownership.
The challenge was to determine through research if my beliefs were
viable or just wishful thinking. Would actual statistics and expert
opinion support this theory?
In 2004 as part of my Computer Information Systems program at the
University College of the Fraser Valley (UCFV); I enrolled in a
Business Communcations class focused upon developing analytical
reports. The entire course would see a report developed from thesis,
through research and analysis, to final conclusion. Because of my
interest in dog-related issues I decided to research breed specific
legislation. The resulting 33-page report "Is
Breed Specific Legislation the Answer to Preventing Dog Attacks?
"is now available in pdf format.
Though the research, analysis and writing process I learned a great
deal about breed specific legislation and laws concerning dogs in
general. While I do not think it is possible for someone as dog
focused as I am to be completely objective; I did make a concious
effort to see both sides of this issue and to find supporting documentation
for both points of view (pro-bsl and anti-bsl).
Going in to the project I felt I would be overwhelmed with information
supporting breed specific legislation and would have to work hard
to find information supporting the generic dog laws approach. I
was suprised to find the the opposite was true. The sheer amount
of information supporting non-breed specific legislation was not
unexpected as dog owners are a passionate lot. However, the large
amount of credible information was suprising, at least to me.
Through the research and analysis process I was able to support
my theory that breed is not a significant determing factor in dog
attacks and that dog legislation that focuses on responsible dog
ownership is the most effective means of preventing dog attacks.
Since this report was written I found additional information and
will eventually rewrite this report to include more data from the
Winnipeg Pit Bull Ban. The original conclusion still stands.
Leslie Williams (Jan. 5, 2006)