Megabyte is one of the breeds that insurance companies won’t insure
It’s past time to end Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which are laws and ordinances to control specific breeds of domesticated animals, usually certain breeds of dogs. These legislations are in response to a number of well-publicized events that involves bully and wolf-hybrid breeds.There’s population of dog owners who loves these specific breeds, but a few bad owners have ruined it for these breeds because of the lack of proper supervision, socialization, bad training, training to fight, or even mistreatment.
These laws range from outright banning the possession of these dogs, resulting in euthanizing the dogs unless a grandfather clause is included, to various forms of restrictions and conditions for ownership, and establish the dogs as legally “dangerous” or “vicious” even if the dogs have no record of attacking. As a response, some state governments in theUnited States prohibit or restrict municipal governments from enacting breed-specific legislation.
It appears Belfast, Northern Ireland has a BSL that they have no clue how to properly implement. There BSL is “The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 place controls on 10 breeds of dogs, namely the American Pit Bull Terrier; English Bull Terrier; Staffordshire Bull Terrier; Bull Mastiff; Doberman Pinscher; German Shepherd (Alsatian); Rhodesian Ridgeback; Rottweiler; Japanese Akita; Japanese Tosa and to every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog). The controls, which must be observed when the dog is in a public place, require that these dogs, or strains and crosses thereof, must be securely muzzled and kept on a strong short lead [only up to 2 metres long] by a person over 16 years of age who is capable of controlling them. Dogs that are not kept under control will be euthanized.”
After following the case of Lennox in Belfast Ireland I looked more closely at BSL. A brief history of Lennox, who was supposedly killed July 11, 2012 by the Belfast City Council on the false allegations of Lennox being a pit bull type: from my understanding Lennox was forcibly removed from his home May of 2010 in Belfast, Northern Ireland under the assumption he was a pit bull. The Barnes family did everything they were instructed to do and even had an approved license from the city for Lennox.
During a hearing the council even refused DNA tests showing that Lennox was not a pit bull. They ignored two qualified dog behaviorists including Victoria Stilwell who said nothing was wrong with Lennox, and went with an unqualified opinion by Peter Tallack who is not a trained and certified behaviorist. Since then a really good article came out by Jim Crosby a trained and certified canine behaviorist and he has a video link showing that Lennox did pass the aggression test with David Ryans. In the video the warden who claimed she was afraid of Lennox was actually interacting and petting him, which is evidence enough to show she lied under oath. This article also indicate Lennox have a swollen leg as a result of some injuries. Interesting he’s got a leg injury and he’s in confinement and there are a few more pictures of Lennox in horrible condition while under the care of the council. Lennox drew world wide attention and the First Minister Peter Robinson got involved and yet nothing could save him. The council was standing by the unqualified opinion that Lennox was dangerous and unpredictable. Although I cannot prove it, I suspect Lennox was already dead before the deadline. The council also refused to allow Lennox to be placed in a sanctuary. Belfast City Council backed out of allowing the family one last good-bye before his scheduled execution and they even refused to return Lennox’s body saying they would only send the ashes. The council will not even return Lennox’s collar. This last minute change by the council leaves me doubting the actual condition ofLennox. It also appears that these people did not tell the Barnes family directly that Lennox was dead, they found out through another source. I know there is more to the story and this really isn’t the place, I am not the spokes person for Lennox and this article is more about BSL then it is about Lennox. Lennox is not the first (victome) incident dog who has suffered and was murdered under the BSL laws.
When I lived in Colorado Springs between 2000 – 2004, the state started to implement the BSL and we were notified that our German Shepherd was to be muzzled when she was out on walks. She never bit anyone. After some heated mail exchange, leaving the state of Colorado was more then acceptable. Even Denver, Colorado at that time had a reputation for taking bully dogs away from even those visiting Denver and euthanizing the dogs because of their BSL. I don’t know if Denver is still currently practicing this or not but they do still have the BSL.
As part of the BLS, these are the top eleven breeds for which insurance companies will either charge a higher rate or refuse to insure if residing on the property:
- Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Presa Canarios
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
It’s past time to end BSL. There is no scientific proof that these laws are effective in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries. It is not the breed of the dog that determines if they are aggressive or not. A few bad people have ruined it for the whole population of dog owners who loves these specific breeds. So instead of punishing those who are actually responsible, the breed of the dog gets the blame. Any dog can bite, especially little dogs, and yet some folks laugh when little dogs bite. Little dogs biting isn’t funny, and if they bite in the right place the bite can still cause significant damage.
I don’t have a problem with banning or restricting certain breeds from certain people, especially if the people have a record already, but I totally disagree with BSL. In fact my own mother was almost killed by a pit bull attack, we later found out that dog was TRAINED to do this. I completely disagree that certain dog breeds are a public safety issue meriting banning ownership or euthanasia, especially for dogs that do not have a history of biting.
If someone is looking into owning a specific breed of dog it is best check to see if the resident state or municipality has a BSL otherwise heartbreak is sure to come around.
The following have BSL and I know this list is not inclusive: The United Kingdom and specifically Northern Ireland (Belfast), Republic of Ireland, Venezuela, Ukraine, Turkey, Switzerland, Spain, Singapore, Romania, Portugal, Poland, Norway, New Zealand, Malta, Germany, France, Ecuador, Denmark, Bermuda, Brazil, Australia: (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia); Canada (Ontario, Manitoba, Winnipeg); The United States (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) along with the All four major branches in the military ban the following from living on base: pit bulls, bull terriers, rottweilers, dobermans, chows, wolf hybrids, akitas, American bulldog.
I honestly believe that Lennox was long dead before the deadline. To the Barnes family, I can only imagine what you have and continue to go through. I love my dogs as much and would fight up to the end for them as well. My heart goes out to you and I hope the fight for Lennox will save the lives of dogs who are improperly breed labeled and/or labeled as dangerous and vicious. I pray Lennox’s plight will bring awareness to those legislative bodies to understand BSL are not effective and the breed of the dog cannot be blamed. A few bad people have ruined it for the whole population and this is the result. Any dog will bite giving the right circumstance and even little dogs can inflict serious damage when they bite in the right spots.
It is not the breed of the dog that is the problem and BSL’s do nothing to address the root of the problem.
Joyce Rheal is Emergency Planning Committee chairwoman of the National Association Professional Pet Sitters and with Pets-life. Joyce is also a federally certified for FEMA’s “Animals in Disasters” program, and a certified pet care consultant based in Southern Illinois.