Voters Reject "PitBull" Bans by a Landslide
The majority (70%) of Americans oppose breed-specific dog bans according to a recent study conducted in 2022. The results of this study are supported and reflected by the outcomes of recent votes to eliminate bans that target dogs labeled as "pitbulls". In 2020, voters in Denver, CO repealed the city's 31-year-old ban against dogs labeled as "pitbulls" by a landslide 66% majority and in 2018, voters in Springfield, MO rejected a proposed ban on "pitbulls" by an even wider 68% majority. While the results of these votes are a strong win against breed discrimination, ineffective policies, and junk science - they also validate a growing national trend against all forms of breed-specific legislation (BSL) that arbitrarily targets great dogs and responsible owners based solely on the dog's appearance or assumed breed, regardless of responsible ownership or a dog's behavior. Furthermore, the study also found that the majority of participants understood that breed is a poor predictor of aggression and they therefore preferred breed-neutral solutions that address animal behavior, animal welfare, and stricter leash laws for public safety.
The Decaying State Of Breed-specific legislation
- Less than 4% (~700÷19,500) of cities and towns in the U.S. have any form of BSL still enacted.
- A recent study conducted in 2022 found that 70% of Americans oppose breed-specific dog bans.
- A national survey found that 84% of Americans do not support any form of BSL.
- Since only 2018, over 100 cities and towns in the U.S. have repealed BSL in favor of equitable and more effective breed-neutral regulations while no cities or towns have enacted new bans in the same time period.
- This year in Florida, all forms of BSL were eliminated in the state - SB-942 was not only widely supported by Florida residents and public safety officials, but its passage in the FL House and Senate was nearly unanimous.
- In Canada, Quebec recently rejected a proposed province-wide ban against pitbull-type dogs and Rottweilers.
- Multiple studies have concluded that BSL is ineffective.
BSL Is Not Supported By The Majority or By Science
The trend is clear - BSL and dog bans have become exceedingly unpopular as the majority of voters favor equitable and more effective breed-neutral policies over discriminatory and ineffective appearance-based policies for public safety. Almost always, ineffective policies such as BSL and appearance-based dog bans are replaced with stronger and more equitable behavior-based, breed-neutral regulations which are more effective because they address all potentially dangerous dogs, all irresponsible owners, and all unsafe dog-related situations - regardless of a dog's appearance or breed. Furthermore, the scientific evidence is also clear as multiple studies have concluded that BSL is ineffective and also entirely obsolete given that over 65 different breeds have been involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S. since only 2016. Unsurprisingly, BSL is rightfully being challenged where it's still enacted and is frequently being repealed. Although there is still a lot of advocacy, education, and work to be done to fully eradicate BSL and to combat discrimination against dogs and their owners targeted by BSL, the tide (and the majority) is clearly and steadily turning against all forms of BSL.
Updated: August 17, 2023