Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) does not work!
posted at 9/25/2011 7:34 PM EDT
I am writing to express my disgust over an incident that happened on Cedar Street in Dedham on the morning of September 20th.
A man was walking his beloved Shih Tzu when out of nowhere a German Shepard ran over and began to attack the Shih Tzu. As the man tried to tear the German Shepard off of his hysterical dog, he fell. Good Samaritans stopped to help and the man and his dog were both taken to the hospital (Beth Israel and the vet, respectively).
The dog, lucky to be alive, is home recovering with a body full of stiches. The man broke his hip when he fell and is recovering from hip surgery.
While this must have been a horrifying experience, we are all thankful they are going to be okay.
So why am I disgusted? I called several news stations to report this dog attack and, you guessed it, they never ran the story. Yet, the same day, a dog that was “believed to be a pit bull mix” in Chelsea bit a young child, and of course, that story was on the news for days. The media finds any outlet as a way to glorify “pit bull” type dogs in a negative way. This leads to discriminatory laws and practices that are essentially death sentences for dogs labeled as “pit bulls”. Pit bull dogs don’t just suffer in areas such as Boston where there is Breed Specific Legislation (or BSL where pit bulls are required to be muzzled because they “pose a significant threat to health, welfare and safely of the residents and visitors of the city of Boston”.
They also suffer when myths, fear and generalizations are accepted as facts.
The German Shepard attack in Dedham is just one of many examples of how BSL does not work. Being a responsible dog owner is the only way to prevent dog bites/attacks.
Yesterday, I brought my pit bull, who recently passed her therapy dog test, to a dog park in Boston, and I will admit it, I did not muzzle her, because I am a responsible dog owner; I know my dog and I attend to my dog. When a boxer became very aggressive with a golden retriever. The ignorant owner did nothing to stop it and a dogfight broke out. I wanted to scream “and my dog is required to be muzzled???”
In the past month, my 10-year-old Schnoodle was attacked by a French Bull Dog, my neighbors puppy was attacked by a Golden Retriever (both aggressive dogs were off leash) and my pit bull, who is a therapy dog, was bit by a lab. These are just examples that happened in my life in the last month.
ANY dog can be aggressive and dog can bite. It is time the person on the end of the leash started taking responsibility. Myths, fears and generalization of “pit bull” type dogs are not only ridiculous, but they are not true. BSL doesn’t make our communities safer: it punishes responsible dog owners, it kills pets needlessly, it does nothing to make irresponsible dog owners accountable and it is costly. Please visit www.stopbsl.com for more information.
My thoughts and prayers are with the man, his beloved dog and their family in Dedham as they recover from a traumatic experience…. one that could have been prevented very easily had the dog’s owner been responsible.
And if anyone would like to meet an ambassador for the breed, Corina the Pit Bull Therapy Dog, loves meeting new people.