On Dec. 19 of last year, a petition was created on the White House’s “We the People” section of its website, titled “Ban and outlaw Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the United States of America on a Federal level!” It has more than 30,000 signatures. It also just got the backing of President Obama.
On Aug. 12, the White House posted the “official White House response” to the petition, and its contents have anti-BSL groups cheering. The White House is throughly against BSL — at whatever level of government.
Here’s the response in full:
Thanks for your petition.
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. …
As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.
So, it looks like BSL won’t become federal law, but what about breed bans in effect in individual municipalities? Many believe this will give people a boost to get rid of them or to prevent similar local laws from occurring.
“The White House is such a bully pulpit for important issues,” Lisa LaFontaine, Pit Bull owner and president of the Washington Humane Society, told the Huffington Post. “And certainly for them to come down against this type of discrimination I think will give pause to any communities that are thinking about putting something like this in place, and certainly will fuel the work that’s already being done by advocates to overturn legislation that already exists.”
“It’s a really happy day,” she said.
However, a new petition went up right after the White House posted its response. It turns out that the federal government does have breed bans in place — at military base housing. A new petition is asking “the President to direct his Secretary of Defense to develop military base housing policies that do not ban dogs based on appearance, and that protect people from dangerous dogs based solely on behavior.”
The petition, last we checked, had nearly 3,000 signatures. Yours could be next.