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The Dirty Three-Letter Word for Pet Lovers

June 14, 2013

Guest Poster, Maida Genser & SpikeGuest Poster:  Maida Genser, Citizens FOR Pets in Condos

BSL is a three-letter acronym for Breed Specific Legislation.  BSL is discrimination against dogs by breed.  It is an ill-advised attempt to reduce dog attacks and dog bites, but not a single animal welfare organization agrees that it accomplishes this goal.  The ASPCA, for instance, instead backs the idea of breed-neutral laws that hold dog owners accountable for the actions of their animals. The National Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Veterinary Association, American Dog Owners Association, American Kennel Club, and Westminster Kennel Club all have come out against breed specific legislation.

Why is BSL wrong? (from Stop BSL)

Currently the most maligned breed is the pit bull or American Staffordshire Terrier, but in past years BSL has raised its ugly head against bloodhounds, German Shepherds.  Doberman  Pinschers, and Rottweilers.  What breed of dog could be next?

Breed discrimination is wrong!

Pit bulls were not always the targets of this kind of discrimination.  At one time they were known as nanny dogs because they did so well with young children*.  Tighe, a pit bull type dog, was the spokesdog who helped sell Buster Brown shoes. Pete the Pup, the “little rascals” pit bull pal of the Our Gang comedies, was the first AKC-registered Staffordshire Terrier.  Sgt Stubby was a stray pit bull / terrier mix who became a war hero.

Just as it is wrong to discriminate against whole ethnic groups in humans, it makes no sense to discriminate against all dogs of a certain breed.  Our organization** thinks that each dog, and its guardian, should be evaluated on their own merits. Individual temperament, training and responsibility taken by the owner /guardian are the most important factors.

BETTER SOLUTIONS

1) All dogs should be trained and socialized.  See Why Train Your Dog.  Citizens FOR Pets in Condos advocates for responsible animal guardianship, same as all animal welfare organizations.

2) Crack down on dog fighting.  Besides being inhumane to dogs, this practice accentuates any aggressive potential.  Even the notorious Michael Vick dog-fighting dogs, after proper care and re-training by Best Friends, were able to be placed with families.  The latest trend in dog fighting, of “trunking.”***  must especially be stopped.  Please sign this petition to Florida’s Governor Rick Scott – against trunking:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/502/197/406/stop-the-cruel-dog-fighting-trend-of-trunking/.

3) Fund low-cost spay/neutering of male dogs.  Unneutered dogs, particularly males, are far more likely to attack a human than either neutered males or spayed females.

4) Educate the public about dog behavior.  Read about Jada, the pit bull trained by the Humane Society of Broward County to go to classrooms to teach children the truth about pit bulls.

Jennifer Thomas at America Against BSL also recommends enforcing leash laws, strengthening and enforcing penalties against dangerous dogs, strengthening animal abuse laws, preventing criminals from having dogs, regulating breeders, and providing low-cost obedience training classes and behavior hotlines..

“…the best way to protect the public from bites or attacks by dangerous dogs is through proactive dangerous dog laws that target dangerous dog behavior and reckless dog owners before a bite incident occurs. The least effective way to protect the public from dangerous dogs is to ban breeds or types of dogs on the assumption that only certain breeds or their mixes pose a risk to public safety.”  Francis Battista, Best Friends Animal Society

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* This author’s young grand-children live in a household with pit bulls.

** Citizens FOR Pets in Condos http://www.petsincondos.org is a non-profit public advocacy and educational organization dedicated to increasing acceptance of companion animals in condos and other types of association-run housing.  We educate the public about the health benefits of having animal companions and also advocate for responsible pet ownership/guardianship.  Our motto:  “creating a win-win situation for both people & pets.”  We provide resources for a pet-friendly America/Florida

*** Apparently gaining momentum in Florida, there’s a new twist on dog fighting. Two dogs, often pit bulls, are thrown into the trunk of a car. The driver turns up the radio, either to aggravate the dogs and/or to muffle the ensuing barking and screaming. About fifteen minutes later, the driver stops, dumps the dead or wounded dog out of the trunk, and proceeds on his way. Police in the southern part of Florida see an increase in this activity.

When Maida Genser and her husband moved to a Florida condo, she had to fight to keep her two rescued cats.  She knows first-hand about the out-dated, no-pet deed restrictions in condos in South Florida.  Based on her experiences, she created an online petition to allow pets in condos (www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/738/171/316) followed by a web page.  These efforts resulted in the creation of a charitable organization, Citizens FOR Pets in Condos.  This organization (http://www.petsincondos.org) is a non-profit, public advocacy & educational organization dedicated to increasing acceptance of companion animals in condos & other types of association-run housing.  They educate the public about the health benefits of having animal companions & also advocate for responsible pet ownership.  Their motto is:  “Creating a win-win situation for both people and pets.”

This article, with full references, can be found at http://www.petsincondos.org/Dirty3LetterWord.pdf.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Iris Taub June 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

The best way to handle any bad publicity is through education, and example. By showing other’s that responsible handling of any pet no matter the breed and to post as much positive publicity of the so called, dangerous pet and having the media give those positive stories the equal time they take in reporting the horrors helps. Toning down a certain look, spike collars and cropped ears. We are creatures of habit and unfortunately do judge a book by its cover and if an animal doesn’t look threatening and is not displaying threatening behavior, people are not afraid. We react the same way with people and the way they dress so it makes sense in order to get get your point across you have to take whatever measures it takes to get people to listen to you!

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