Lennox and the Lessons of BSL
Unless you just crawled out from under a rock, you know that Lennox’ appeal was denied yesterday.
In case you aren’t familiar with Lennox, he is a mixed breed dog that was seized by Belfast, Ireland, officials because he looks like a pit bull, and breed specific legislation (BSL) there makes it illegal to own a pit bull or pit bull mix.
The ruling was a bit hard to swallow, because it hits close to home.
You see, insurance companies have a list of dog breeds they consider “dangerous.” And yep, Yours Truly made the list. A dog that cries when cats fight. A dog who lets June Buggie smack him around. I am a dangerous dog.
I have mixed feelings about this topic, because I don’t think it’s fair that an entire breed is singled out because of what some have done.
But I also don’t think it’s fair that so many people are injured or killed by dogs, especially when children are victims. I don’t want victims of dog attacks to think I don’t get it, because I do.
Let’s look at the numbers. The Centers for Disease Control compiled statistics from dog bite fatalities over a 20 year period in order to determine which breeds cause most risk humans.
Most attacks were by pit bulls.
If we want to put an end to Breed-Specific Legislation, we first have to face the facts (from American Humane Association).
Male dogs are more likely to attack than females (92% of fatalaties caused by male dogs).
Intact males are more likely to attack than neutered males (94% of those male dogs were not neutered).
Chained dogs are more likely to attack than unchained dogs (25% of fatalities involved chained dogs).
Most attacks involved unrestrained dogs (24% off the owner’s property, 58% on the owner’s property).
If we don’t want to ban an entire breed, what steps can we take that can reduce the likelihood of dog attacks?
Spay/neuter should become mandatory.
Dogs should not be chained. Period.
Dogs should not be off-leash in unfenced areas.
Of course passing such legislation leads to another problem- how on earth do you enforce those laws, especially in a climate where most people (at least here in the US) want less government intrusion? After all, my town has a mandatory leash law now, and lots of people violate it with no fear of getting caught.
I don’t have all the answers. I’m just a dog. But I do know that while BSL may seem as though it would lessen the number of attacks, it’s not going to solve the problem.
And personally, I don’t want to be next on the hit list.