Comprehensive Study Concludes That BSL Is Ineffective
The majority of scientific studies on the effectiveness of bans that target dogs based on their appearance or assumed breed, also known as BSL or breed-specific legislation, have concluded that the bans are entirely ineffective and do not reduce dog bites or improve public safety. A recent comprehensive study on the effectiveness of BSL was conducted to determine the public safety impact of BSL in the city of Odense, Denmark (the third largest city in Denmark) which enacted BSL in 2010 that banned 13 different breeds including: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Tosa Inu, Fila Brasiliero, Dogo Argentino, American Bulldog, Boerboel, Kangal, and several other breeds. After analyzing an extensive dataset of serious dog bite-related injures from hospital emergency room records, the study concluded that BSL has "no effect" on dog bite-related injuries and that it agrees with "previous studies that have also shown a lack of evidence for breed-specific legislation." Furthermore, the study recommends that "future legislation should be prioritized on non-breed-specific legislation in order to reduce the number and risk of dog bites." A summary of this study is provided below and our scientific studies page lists additional studies that have concluded that BSL is an ineffective approach for public safety as it does not reduce serious dog bite-related incidents.
Summary Of The Study
Data & Methods
- The study analyzed the impact of BSL on the number and severity of dog bite-related injuries in the city of Odense, Denmark since BSL was enacted in 2010.
- The study used a comprehensive dataset from hospital emergency room records which included detailed records on over 2,600 serious dog bite-related injuries from 2002 through 2015 (covering incidents before and after BSL was enacted).
- The study is peer-reviewed and was conducted by a number of different subject matter experts in the fields of public safety, accident analysis, clinical medicine, and other related fields.
Results & Conclusions
- BSL had "no effect" on dog bite-related injuries - it did not reduce the number or severity of bite-related injuries and had no impact on public safety.
- The study's results were in alignment with numerous other studies that have concluded that BSL is ineffective.
- For public safety, the study specifically concluded that breed-neutral regulations are a more effective approach to reduce dog bite-related incidents.
BSL And Dog Bans Are Not Supported By Science
The scientific consensus on the topic of BSL and dog bans is clear - multiple studies have concluded that a dog's appearance or breed does not determine risk and that BSL is ineffective. The position of the scientific consensus is important because while individual and limited-scope studies can always be found to support opposing viewpoints, the scientific consensus is what the larger scientific community has concluded to be valid based on a comprehensive collection of scientific research. Furthermore, BSL is a burden to cities, taxpayers, public safety officials, and animal control agencies because it diverts valuable public safety resources away from factors that are relevant and scientifically-linked to serious dog bite-related incidents such as irresponsible ownership, actual aggressive dogs, and abuse or neglect. Even worse, BSL arbitrarily and adversely impacts many great dogs and their responsible owners while doing nothing to address aggressive dogs (regardless of breed) and irresponsible owners - which is the exact opposite outcome expected from reasonable and sound public safety policies. Fortunately, BSL is a trend in decline with diminishing public support and we are confident that the data and science will continue to support equitable and more effective breed-neutral regulations for public safety over discriminatory and ineffective policies such as BSL.
Updated: February 3, 2023