BSL is a bitch...until a judge says otherwise
Yesterday’s post on PetMD treated the controversial topic of BSL (AKA, “breed specific legislation”). OK so it may not be that controversial among the peteratti (i.e., smart pet peeps like you), but rest assured there are plenty of ill-informed politicians looking for a quick way to impress their constituents with laws like Miami’s sweeping, 25 year-old pit bull ban.
But not all states and municipalities are going the same way on this issue. While politicians may push to install these seemingly politically expedient laws, some courts are finding they’re not always so fair.
Consider Toledo, Ohio. Pit bulls there must be penned, insured and muzzled when in public. You can’t have more than one of them. And, as is the case in my hometown, a pit bull mix is considered a pit. Therefore, the same laws apply to any dog that looks like one...
...unless it has papers that say it’s not, as one Toledo man learned the hard way after taking his dogs’ case to court.
In the case of three mislabeled pit bulls (they were actually cane Corsos), a judge ruled that the municipality not only eff’ed up in erroneously deeming these dogs pits, it also overstepped the bounds of constitutionality by outstripping the state’s provisions and applying law arbitrarily. According to a piece on this in ToledoBlade.com:
Judge Goulding...wrote that a provision of the city law lumping "pit bull mixed breed" dogs with "pit bulls" is unconstitutional. That judgment could have wide implications in the county, as the dog warden's office refuses to adopt out adult "pit bull" mixes as well as "pit bulls."
In fact, until this ruling, the city had staunchly upheld a policy prohibiting unclaimed pit bull puppies from leaving the pound. Which meant insta-euthanasia for any pup born of a pitty looking thing. This was reversed just last Tuesday.
What’s more, here’s what this judge had to say on the subject of BSL in general:
A more uniform, practical, and humane method of regulating dogs, which both preserves the safety of the public and focuses on the dangers and misdeeds of irresponsible dog owners, would seem preferable to the status quo.
I couldn't have said it better.