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ADBA Position Statement on Breed-specific legislation (BSL)

By June 22, 2016October 22nd, 2016ADBA Position Statements

The American Dog Breeders Association Inc. is an all breed registry established in 1909 to promote
the study, breeding, exhibiting, and advancement of purebred dogs. The ADBA strongly opposes any
Legislation that determines a dog to be “dangerous” based on specific breeds or
phenotypic classes of dogs known as Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).

BSL comes in many forms, from extra insurance policies and special
licenses, to outright bans of particular breeds. It generally targets a small set of dog breeds or breed
types. It attempts to curb dog bites and dog attacks by implementing policies focused specifically on
those breeds. And it is always a complete failure – technically and morally.

The ADBA believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs and that law should impose
appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners. Communities must establish a well-defined procedure
for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous which includes, if necessary, the destruction of such
animals. In order to be effective, if the purpose of such legislation is to reduce dog bites and improve
public safety; such legislation should not be breed-specific.

Some people mistakenly believe that owners of these so-called “dangerous” breeds do not care
about public safety because they object so strongly to BSL. On the contrary, these owners are
acutely aware of the need for strong non-breed-specific dangerous/vicious dog laws, and they fully
support efforts to strengthen and enforce those laws. However, these owners also realize that the
problem of dog bites and dog attacks does not lie within a single breed or group of breeds. The
problem ultimately lies with the individual owner, and that is where the focus of dangerous dog laws
should be.

In cities where BSL legislation has been passed, enforcement of a breed-related law is difficult
because of inability to accurately identify breeds, unfair negative impact on model citizens and equally
model mannerly dogs, and lack of attention to the real issue of dog owner responsibility.
Regarding dog bites, EVERY breed and mixed breeds are associated with this issue. The ADBA
recognizes that dogs bite as a natural instinct in certain situations. Given that the majority of dog bite
victims are children, the ADBA feels it is vital that the public become more informed about dog
behavior, responsible pet ownership as well as learn to train/socialize their dogs. In addition, a public
education campaign is needed for children to learn proper behavior around their pets.
However, in recognition that dog bites are a public concern, the ADBA feels that in addition to a public
education campaign, enacting a city ordinance that addresses dangerous dogs that demonstrate
dangerous behavior, regardless of breed, is a more effective way to reduce the incidence of dog bites
and/or dog bite fatalities.
The ADBA believes the following recommendations would more effectively reduce the number of dog
bites and dog bite related incidences:

• Promote public education about responsible pet ownership.
• Promote public education about the importance of proper dog training, socialization and understanding of dog behavior.
• Strongly enforce existing animal control laws such as leash laws that prohibit the free roaming of a person’s pet.
• Enforce existing legislation to address animal cruelty and neglect.

Legislation needs to be focused on the negligence of irresponsible owners, and NOT the animal.
Enact legislation based upon behavior and not by breed or the appearance of the dog.
Hank Greenwood
President /CEO/ Chairman of the Board
American Dog Breeders Association
Salt Lake City, Utah
801-936-7513 email website


ADBA Position Statement