Beyond the Myth: Breed Discrimination

AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior Owner & Trainer Lindsay Rapp discusses Breed Specific Legislation and a new documentary which details the plight of so-called dangerous breeds.

Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, is something that has been happening in the United States since the 1980s. It involves laws that ban or restrict certain types of dogs based on appearance and usually because a breed is perceived as “dangerous”.

The ban usually requires that all dogs of a certain description be removed from a city or county. If the owners don’t comply with a local BSL law, Animal Care and Control employees will remove their dog and euthanize the animal. In some cases, the owners have 24 - 48 hours to relocate their dogs before euthanization.

BSL only takes into consideration the appearance of a dog, such as a “bully breed” or “shepherd mix” etc. It does not take into consideration the individual dog, its behavior or the owner’s wishes.

BSL is wrong for so many different reasons. The legislation does not improve public safety or prevent dog bites, and it’s also very expensive. I think that if cities can pay for BSL the money should be used for educating the youth on dogs and the dangers of dog fighting. Tax funded programs should teach people how to be good dog owners instead of forcing already responsible dog owners to give up members of their families.

There is a new documentary called Beyond the Myth: A Film about Breed Discrimination.

The film synopsis from their website states:

“Unfairly known as violent killers, Pit Bulls have suffered from the stigma of negative media coverage that has lead to city-wide bans across the country. This breed-specific legislation has torn pets away from families and killed thousands of innocent dogs in cities like Denver, Miami, Cincinnati and San Francisco. The film investigates the myths associated with these breeds, challenges the idea that they are inherently vicious, and presents eye-opening research regarding the media’s role in influencing people’s opinion on dog attacks. Stripping away the preconceptions to show the loving companions they can be, Beyond the Myth is an important, must see film for all dog lovers.”

I recently watched the documentary. I curled up on my couch with my pitty mix Kayla and bawled my eyes out. Even being in the dog world, I didn’t know how far legislators had taken this ban. It’s so, so sad. I think everyone should see this movie and form their own opinion. The more people who are educated, the better. Beyond the Myth is currently on Netflix and can also be found at Beyondthemythmovie.com.

Watch the movie and share your thoughts about it here.

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