Once a quarter we participate in the blogging event known as Blog the Change – it’s an opportunity to write about a cause that we are passionate about, to raise awareness and hopefully inspire others to join us in making the world a better place for animals. My topic was all planned, until Talking Dogs Blog’s post on dog breed discrimination popped up in my Facebook feed this morning.
Just reading Sue’s story re-ignited my fire for this fight! Breed discrimination is not only unfair and unjust … it’s ineffective. What’s worse – it equates to a death sentence for many wonderful dogs who could otherwise live happy, loving lives. And for those of us who travel with our dogs, breed discrimination laws can be downright dangerous.
The effects of Breed Discrimination Laws range from annoying to killer – literally. We’ve been subjected to the annoying end of the spectrum – campgrounds that won’t allow us to stay because of policies imposed by their insurance companies restricting German Shepherds. It’s irritating, but if they don’t like Buster, I don’t want to spend my time or money there, anyway.
In other places it’s a lot worse. Denver, Colorado will confiscate a pit bull from your possession and execute it – even if it has never hurt anyone. The province of Ontario, Canada operates much the same way – though a dedicated group of people is working to change that law.
So, what breeds of dogs are affected by these laws? We find the most discriminated against breeds are the Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and German Shepherds, but Akitas, American Bulldogs, Chows, Huskies, Mastiffs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Shar-Pei are also targeted. At one time I started a list of all the breeds subject to restrictions or bans … but I gave up when the list grew longer than 100 breeds. To make matters worse, some of these laws have very broad language that include mixes of the targeted breeds and even dogs that LOOK LIKE the targeted breeds!
If you have an affected breed – or a dog that looks like one – what kinds of restrictions should you expect? Some jurisdictions require owners to carry proof of liability insurance, others say restricted breeds must be muzzled when in public, and some cities, states and provinces have gone so far as to ban dogs of certain breeds from living within their borders. Penalties for violating these restrictions range from fines, to jail, to the confiscation and execution of the dog.
Lastly, keep your pet safe while you’re traveling. Here are some steps you can take to avoid any possible conflicts while you’re on the road:
Be the Change for Animals (BtC4animals.com) – where everyday advocates band together to make the world a better place for animals. The goal of BtC4Animals is to ignite and accelerate the change that we can make as individuals. They highlight one cause per week and provide information on how readers can help. Blog the Change takes place quarterly.