Target: Legislators of the General Assembly in Maryland
Goal: Ban discrimination of pit bulls in the state of Maryland
Six states, including Maryland, are considering a reversal of harmful breed-specific legislation. In Maryland, a 2012 ruling made it difficult for pit bull owners to obtain housing while in possession of an allegedly dangerous animal. Maryland’s General Assembly recently held a hearing to undo this discriminatory ruling, and many hope the passing of an anti-BSL bill will lead to a permanent ban on dog prejudice in the state. Urge the legislators of the General Assembly to reverse breed-specific legislation.
Breed-specific legislation was originally enacted to prevent dog bite fatalities and injuries by inherently dangerous dogs. Since then, science has shown that pit bulls, the victims of the legislation, are not inherently dangerous at all. Some forms of BSL restrict these dogs, such as requiring them to wear muzzles in public, while others ban ownership altogether.
In addition to being utterly futile, BSL has harmed innocent animals as well as their families. Upon BSL implementation, hundreds of dogs were seized from their homes and euthanized immediately, despite having no history of aggression. Among the dogs involved in fatal attacks, 84% were previously neglected or abused, and 86% of them were unneutered males. Science thus shows that pit bulls are the victims of discrimination and mistreatment, not predisposed aggression as BSL claims.
Kristin Auerbach, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Northern Virginia, said that “BSL not only impacts people in Maryland, but contributes to the overall perception of pit bulls as different, which inevitably works its way into the public conscience and effects adoptions, shelter policies, and even other public policy.”
And that was exactly the result of a 2012 Maryland ruling that made pit bull owners, and their landlords, directly responsible for dog attacks. The scare-tactic law caused landlords to perceive pit bull owners as a liability, and owners now struggle to find housing. Thankfully, Maryland is considering a reversal of this ruling. Residents hope the session will be more successful than last year’s attempt, where the legislation was shot down in the General Assembly.
Urge Maryland’s General Assembly to reverse breed-specific legislation.
Dear Legislators of the General Assembly in Maryland,
Now that the state of Maryland is finally considering a reversal on breed-specific legislation, it is important that the new anti-BSL bill be passed in the General Assembly to pave way for future progress. Last year, a similar bill was shot down, and now animal lovers statewide and struggling again this year to obtain equality for their pets.
The new bill provides relief from a 2012 ruling that made pit bull owners and their landlords “strictly liable” for dog attacks. This scare-tactic law has resulted in the misguided belief that pit owners are a liability, and it is a discriminatory form of BSL that has no place in the government today. Pit bulls are not predisposed to aggression and there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that banning or restricting them makes a society safer. Please pass legislation that would reverse this prejudiced ruling.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Amber via Flickr