BSL defenders have a powerful ally and motivator on their side: fear. It’s their only ally, but it works.
To fight the spread of BSL, vigilance and intelligent action are necessary. Laws are being proposed every day that are intended to take away our rights to own particular dogs for no reason other than their breed – the way they look, the hype that surrounds them.
BSL is the politician’s inadequate and uneducated band-aid solution to address the gushing “wound” of irresponsible ownership and lack of personal accountability. The fight against BSL will take unwavering commitment and unconditional dedication. Here are some steps on how to take action against Breed Specific Legislation:
Usually, the earliest hint of BSL comes from a newspaper article about a serious dog attack or dog-related death, especially if a commonly-targeted breed or type of dog is involved.
This is typically followed by Letters to the Editor or editorial columns proposing a breed ban. From there, BSL discussions are put on the city council agenda. Occasionally, BSL is introduced at the start of a state legislative session. This may or may not make the news. To watch for potential BSL, you can monitor:
- your local newspapers
- your city council agendas—these are usually posted several days before the council meeting, and all but the smallest towns now post their agendas online
- your state legislature’s introduced bills—go online to your legislature’s website and see if they have a bill tracking service; for instance, you can enter keyword “dog” and it will e-mail you whenever a bill with that keyword is introduced.
Contact Your Lawmakers:
This depends on who is proposing BSL. If your city council is proposing BSL, then you would contact your city council members. If a state legislator is proposing BSL, then you would contact your state representatives (in your state’s House and Senate). Most towns, cities, and counties have websites that list the local lawmakers’ contact information.
You may be asking yourself “Should I contact all of the officials in the legislature, or just my elected officials?” At the state level, most officials are so swamped with their own constituents’ correspondence that they are not likely to listen to anyone outside of their district. Definitely contact your elected officials.
If the bill is being considered by a committee (this usually occurs after a bill has just been proposed), you can contact the officials who are on the committee to encourage/discourage them from approving it. It is only after the bill is approved by a committee that it makes its way to the House or Senate floor for a vote.
It is important to contact the lawmakers who will serve a role in the decision of enacting BSL or not. Be sure to communicate your concerns and voice your opinion when communicating with these political officials.
In order to create change, you must first influence change. Writing letters to political officials is the first step to fighting BSL. The key is to be brief and to the point. The first sentence in your letter or speech should tell the elected officials what you would like for them to do (or not do). State your position.
The rest is up to you, but you probably should not exceed one page of text (for a speech, follow the time limit set by forum rules).
Please do not use form letters and do not copy model letters.
Officials absolutely hate it when they get a bunch of letters that sound the same. They may attribute form letters to radical groups and lobbyists, not to concerned individuals.
The key is quality, not quantity. Use your own words and your own arguments, even if you think you aren’t a very good writer. As long as you manage to hit on a couple of important points, you’ve done more good by writing a personal letter than by sending a form letter.
Always remain polite, calm, and informative. Do not threaten or insult. Remember that you are a direct representation of all the other individuals against BSL, including the dogs that are targeted by this law.
Additional Resources on BSL
Find out if BSL is affecting your city or state: BSL Listings
Try to identify the Pit Bull by playing the “Find the Pit Bull” game: Find the Pit Bull
Read about the cost of implementing BSL: Expense of BSL
Find out how BSL targets and kills innocent dogs: Punishment of the Innocent
Facts, statistics and resources from StopBSL.com
Help support the fight against Breed Specific Legislation: Stand United – For Dogs Worldwide
Bull Breed Coalition Registry: BBCR Fight Against BS
Courtesy of….. mcabsl