The answer is no. Breed-bans are not the answer. But if this is the case and breed bans are not the solution to serious dog attacks, what can we do to protect the most vulnerable people in our society: our children and elderly?
Studies have shown that dog bite incidents are reduced by 90% when an owner takes their dog through a level I obedience program. Furthermore, with just 1 hour of training for young school aged children in grades 2-3, dog bites were reduced by 80%. Combine these two and you have a reduction in dog bites of 98%.
There are many things people do in everyday life with dogs can be misinterpreted by the animal as a threat, such as blocking their view, staring in their eyes or patting them on the head while standing directly in front of them. Although it should always be kept in mind that a dog bite or attack can occur without provocation, steps can be taken to minimize the risk of another dog related attack.
Children are the most common victims of severe dog bites. Small children are particularly at risk because they are not always recognized by dogs as being people simply because of their size. In addition, their face is often in line with that of most large breed dogs, and with small breeds children tend to bend down into an ?unsafe? zone to communicate with the animal. The importance of educating children to ?respect a dog?s space? is paramount.
What should you do when you learn of proposed breed-specific legislation, proposed, that you want to fight?
The best thing you can do is to realize that there are others out there who are already informed and want to help. Don’t waste valuable time re-inventing the wheel; get involved and work with a network of people who can help you to take action effectively. Keep one thing at the center of your thoughts: your goal is to do what it takes to ensure that breed specific legislation is not passed. Try offering a better alternative to legislators.
Quite often BSL goes hand-in-hand with a bite incident in a community. Should something like this occur, be prepared to thwart it. Do not talk until you have some information in front of you to work with; in other words, be prepared, and you better your chances of successfully meeting your goals.
Writing letters to your legislators, and encouraging others in your area to do the same, really does help. Remember that, like it or not, politicians are elected, and that they want to keep their public happy. In order to be effective one needs to speak to their political agendas and concerns. There are better options than breed-specific laws, and the California law listed at www.rott-n-chatter.com/rottweilers/laws/california.html is one of the best out there to date. If faced with BSL in your area, try to present it to your legislators as a better option to the BSL that they bylaw have proposed.
Better yet, try using preventative medicine; why not take proactive action before BSL comes to your area? There are many things you can do to help before there is a problem. The first step is finding out what laws currently exist in your area. Once you have this information, review those laws and suggest positive, effective changes to politicians.