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Breed-specific legislation

Across the country, entire communities ban or restrict dogs because of their breed or perceived breed. Breed-based policies aren't founded on science or credible data, but on myths and misinformation surrounding different breeds. Yet their impact on dogs, families and animal shelters is heartbreakingly real. Breed bans and restrictions force dogs out of homes and into shelters, taking up kennel space and resources that could be used for animals who are truly homeless. Learn what you can do to fight breed-specific legislation in your area.

  • Repealing breed-specific legislation

    Across the country, entire communities ban or restrict dogs because of their breed or perceived breed. Breed-based policies aren't founded on science or credible data, but on myths and misinformation surrounding different breeds. Their impact on dogs, families and animal shelters, however, is heartbreakingly real. Breed bans and restrictions force dogs out of homes and into shelters, taking up kennel space and resources that could be used for animals who are truly homeless.

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  • Beyond breed

    In September, author Bronwen Dickey kindly made a “pit” stop at our HSUS offices to discuss her new book, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Breed-specific legislation

  • Magazine Article

    A word from us

    Lindsay Hamrick gets a greeting from a puppy rescued from an unlicensed breeder in New Hampshire.

    I came to the Humane Society of the United States in 2014 after a decade (more if you count those years I spent as a kid sitting in cat rooms and walking dogs way too big for me) overseeing operations at animal shelters. I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited about or motivated to fit policy into my daily workload of caring for homeless pets—until I worked for an animal shelter that was located in a city with breed-specific legislation, flawed policies that ban certain types of dogs based on their physical appearance.

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  • Magazine Article

    Dangerous assumptions

    The negative affect breed stereotypes can have on public policy

    Growing up, my family had golden retrievers and other fluffy golden mixed breed dogs. I’m not sure that I met anyone with a pit bull-type dog until I moved to Pittsburgh for college. My first personal experience with breed stereotypes occurred only a couple years ago, when I was walking my sister’s dog, Bojey—a medium, short-haired dog with a muscular build and big head—and my dog, Charlie, a skinny, tall dog with a long muzzle and medium-length fur.

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  • Form

    Bad laws have high costs

    breed-specific-legislation pledge

    Fight breed-specific legislation to protect dogs and strengthen communities

    Across the country, entire communities ban or restrict dogs because of their breed or perceived breed. But the truth is that breed-specific legislation (BSL) is an ineffective animal management strategy that has failed everywhere it has been tried.

    Using physical breed standards as a proxy for determining whether a dog is dangerous is incredibly flawed. With advances in science and our increasing knowledge about a dog’s DNA and the relationship to appearance and behavior, we now know that breed is a complex issue that does not neatly translate into predictive behavior patterns.

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