Your voice needed as legislatures consider bans on breed discrimination

The Best Friends legislative team comprises attorneys, skilled lobbyists and others committed to changing the world for animals, and through their work with lawmakers and local advocates, they do just that. On this blog, we endeavor to keep you current on the issues and the work that the team does. The recent posts about the national survey we conducted and the coverage of the attempt in Orange County, California (now tabled thanks in part to our local members!), to automatically declare the canine victims of dogfighting as vicious, are both examples of the kind of issues they take on.

Fighting breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) is a large part of their work. Baseless, broad discrimination against an entire breed of dog does very little to create safe and humane communities. It just catches thousands of family pets in the crossfire who end up being killed or confined for little more than simply being who they are.

The fight to stop this ridiculous inequity is happening in legislatures all across the country. Just this week, our senior legislative analyst, Ledy VanKavage, has been on the ground in South Dakota supporting our own legislation, Senate Bill 75. The bill will prevent local governments from enacting breed bans and has been received positively. SB 75 made it out of committee and was just passed 19-16 in the Senate; next up, the South Dakota House of Representatives will place their votes.

There are similar bills pending in Utah, Missouri, Vermont, Maryland and Washington. The passage of each will further show that breed discrimination is fundamentally un-American. Not only are pit bull terriers, the usual target of such discriminatory legislation, America’s dog, the idea that a government can tell citizens what dog breeds they aren’t allowed to have sounds like something from a George Orwell novel.

BDL is broad-brush legislation that does not advance public safety and punishes conscientious pet owners who are perfectly capable of waking up every day and managing their pets responsibly regardless of breed. Best Friends’ alternative to BDL is common sense, comprehensive dangerous-dog legislation that targets reckless owners and individual dogs who display dangerous behavior.

We all want to feel safe in our communities, but BDL has never once been proven to make a community any safer because it does not target reckless owners, who are ultimately the ones responsible for compromising public safety when it comes to dangerous dogs.

We have action alerts that easily allow you to make your voice heard. Just a few clicks and you’ll send a letter to your lawmakers. If you live in the following states, please take a few moments and take action. When you’re done, please make sure you share with your friends. Politics is not a spectator sport!

Utah: Take Action
Maryland: Take Action
Vermont: Take Action
South Dakota: Take Action
Missouri: Take Action
Washington: Take Action

If you’re not in one of these states, but want to make sure you’re informed of political happenings in your area, please sign up for our Action Alerts. It’s the best way to be quickly informed when your voice is needed. You can sign up by clicking here.

Francis Battista