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Combating 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.

    Read More

Most recent Tools and Resources > Combating breed-specific legislation

  • 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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  • Magazine Article

    Beyond breed

    Author offers a clear-eyed view of the history of pit bull-type dogs

    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.

    Read More

  • Blog Post

    Beyond breed

    Author offers a clear-eyed view of the history of pit bull-type dogs

    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.

    Read More

  • Magazine Article

    Can't judge a bull by the cover

    Maryland 'pit bull' ruling spotlights problems with breed-specific legislation

    When Maryland’s highest court declared pit bulls "inherently dangerous" in 2012, the ruling demonstrated the numerous problems with breed-specific legislation and policies.

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