BSL and Dangerous Dogs

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Position Statement

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. We believe that, if necessary, dogs proven to be “dangerous” may need to be humanely destroyed. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be “dangerous” based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs

Newsworthy Articles and Information:

  • Yakima, WA:  Reversal of Pit Bull Ban:  Agenda Items 2013  This is a very complete analysis of the Pit Bull ban in Yakima, WA.  It shows both sides of the argument.
  • JAVMA:  In December, 2013, The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the most comprehensive multifactorial study of dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) to be completed since the subject was first studied in the 1970’s.1 It is based on investigative techniques not previously employed in dog bite or DBRF studies and identified a significant co-occurrence of multiple potentially preventable factors. ---The research suggests that breed specific legislation does not protect people from dog bites and, at worst, it distracts those in decision-making positions from the factors that do make a difference.
  • The Case Against Dog Breed Discrimination by Homeowners' Insurance Companies  (2004)

Model Legislation and Legal Decisions pertaining to Breed Specific Discrimination and Dangerous Dogs

The People of the State of NY vs Diana Shanks NY State Supreme Court, April 4, 2013  “The condemnation of an individual dog in the context of a dangerous dog proceeding solely by virtue of its breed is without any legal basis. We have repeatedly held that "'there is no persuasive authority for the proposition that a court should take judicial notice of the ferocity of any particular type or breed of domestic animal'”

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