Breed Discrimination

Which dog breed is next?

Photo courtesy Moonlight Studios

Through the years different breeds have been the major focus of breed discrimination … german shepherds, doberman pinschers, etc.


The latest is the “pit bull”.  Why in quotes?  Pit bull breeds are lumped together under this shared breed category which can be a death threat in a shelter setting.

While rescues and advocacy groups focus on eliminating the shadow cast on pit bull type dogs such as My Pitbull is Family, the effects of frenzy from media headlines on public opinion and legislation is difficult to reverse in the court of public opinion.


We find ourselves at a peculiar state of extremes with “pit bull” type dogs in fact becoming today’s favorite in so many circles while the negatives from those victimized in the role of fighters remain their image in many minds.  Those minds include landlords who largely restrict them from housing opportunities adding to the overwhelming surrenders of bully breed dogs in shelters.

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Not the answer …

So if a jurisdiction restricts a certain breed you won’t find them there right?  Wrong!

Many will argue that the restriction just makes the situation worse with pet owners being driven underground, walking in the dark, and if confronted, dumping them in large numbers costing the dogs their lives and the communities costly shelter costs.

The answer lies in tackling the source of the problem.  Eliminating dog fighting and addressing those who exploit these dogs for game and gain is a huge part of the solution.

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Pit Bull Rescue Central’s position statement regarding Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) provides perspective on why BSL should not be utilized as a means to tackle dog related concerns.

States that are seeing success in prohibiting the banning of breeds.


The National Canine Research Council reported the following in 2014 …

South Dakota and Utah to be the 17th and 18th states to preempt breed-specific legislation

South Dakota has passed a bill to protect pets and people by preventing local governments from enacting legislation that regulates dog ownership based on a dog’s breed or breed mix. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed the bill on March 14, 2014[1]. The bill, SB 75[2], states that:

No local government, as defined in § 6-1-12, may enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance, policy, resolution, or other enactment that is specific as to the breed or perceived breed of a dog. This section does not impair the right of any local government unit to enact, maintain, or enforce any form of regulation that applies to all dogs.

South Dakota’s SB 75 makes clear that responsible pet ownership is a legitimate and important government concern and that its responsible pet ownership obligations apply to everyone equally.

The Utah legislature has also passed a similar bill[3], which is awaiting final signature into law from Governor Gary Herbert.

South Dakota and Utah join the growing roster of states that adopted similar measures. In 2013, Nevada, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all enacted similar state laws prohibiting regulation of dogs on the basis of breed. This trend shows a growing recognition among legislators of the wisdom of the recommendations of the American Bar Association and the White House, along with the consistent position of animal experts and animal welfare organizations that regulating dogs on the basis of breed or appearance is never an effective solution for community safety. Instead, community safety benefits from a responsible pet ownership model, which applies clear principles to all dog owners.

Helping to LEAD THE CHARGE for equality for pit bull type dogs …


Animal Farm Foundation‘s website describes their efforts as being dedicated to securing equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs. Whether the dog is called a “pit bull” because of a documented pedigree, or merely on the basis of physical appearance, recognizing that these dogs are individuals for whom we are responsible is an integral step toward a compassionate future for all dogs.

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Stubby Dog is focused on the positive while encouraging steps to diminish the huge overpopulation of pit bull type dogs with their “join the movement” campaign.

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Bad Rap

Resources and programs of Bad Rap are working to support pit bull owners.

Their Keep Em Home program focuses on help for Bay Area Pit Bull type dog owners.

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Pinups for Pitbulls

“Little Darling” leads the charge in this unique approach to advocate for pit bull type dogs!  Check out their site to view their creative approach to honoring and celebrating pit bull type dogs!  Their annual calendar is a real work of art.  They advocate around the country at a wide range of events so find out when they might be coming to an event near you.



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