Barking up the Wrong Tree: An Inquiry into the Effectiveness and Rationality of Breed Specific Legislation

Barking up the Wrong Tree: An Inquiry into the Effectiveness and Rationality of Breed Specific Legislation

Brian R. Gorham

Community College of Denver

Barking up the Wrong Tree: An Inquiry into the Effectiveness and Rationality of Breed Specific Legislation

Take any dog and scratch just beneath the surface and you will find a bloodthirsty wolf, a predator that evokes a primal fear in mankind (Delise, 2007). Moreover, this fear is not entirely unfounded. In the United States alone, around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually and about 25 of these attacks cause fatalities (Beaver et al., 2001). Most governments worldwide have laws that attempt to safeguard their ...

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target of these laws since the BSL movement began, has been the pit bull (Delise, 2007). The term pit bull comes from the breeding of certain types of now extinct bull dogs with smaller, faster terriers for the purpose of pit-fighting ("Animals in sports," 2011). Today a number of breeds are referred to as pit bulls, the most common of which are: the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and the Staffordshire terrier (Shaffner et al., 2009). However, a great variety of other short-haired, muscular dogs have been labeled as pit bulls mistakenly, causing much confusion over these BSL measures. (Delise, 2007)

Proponents of BSL include government officials such as Denver Assistant City Attorney Nelson (Roberts, 2010), along with dog bite victims such as the founder of Dogsbite.org, Lynn (Paxinos, 2011). These supporters of BSL state that since pit bull ancestry includes dogs bred for fighting they are far more dangerous than other breeds of dogs, and that pit ...

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in the 19th century; the German shepherd and Doberman pinscher were subsequently vilified in later decades. The most recent instance of this trend began in the late 1970s, as press coverage of illegal dog-fighting rings highlighted the favored type of dog for these fights: the pit bull. Although dog-fighting is a felony offense in all fifty states ("Animals in Sports," 2011), when interviewed, the people involved in this blood-sport would make boasts about the capabilities and ferociousness of their dogs. The press salaciously relayed these claims to their audience. This publicity made the pit bull the new dog of choice for people who wanted a vicious dog (Delise, 2007). And just as ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 3/1/2015 12:43:46 PM
Submitted By: brgorham
Category: Legal Issues
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4427
Pages: 17

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