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Despite vehement protestation from animal advocates worldwide, SB 861 was signed into law on October 7, 2005.  Thus, BSL has invaded California.

A swift response followed. A January 2006 referendum effort failed to acquire enough signatures. Immediately after that two lawsuits were filed to defeat the legislation.  Both are now pending. The first was brought in a federal court in San Francisco by The Chako Rescue Association of the Pit Bull Terrier.  The second was filed in Sacramento by the American Canine Foundation (who will also intervene in the San Francisco case.) Unfortunately, the two sides appear to be completely at irreconcilable odds and at loggerheads.  The former group favors a $1,000 breeder's permit fee. The later entity wants to protect rights of breeders.

Good news perhaps for all came down on March 3, 2006.  The Ohio Supreme court ruled in a Toledo case that local and state breed-specific "vicious" dog laws are unconstitutional. 1, 2  

There have been other successes combating BSL across the country:

Zuniga v. San Mateo Dept. of Health Services (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1521, 267 Cal. Rptr. 2d 755. The court found there was not sufficient evidence to prove Pit Bulls have an inherent nature of being dangerous.

Carter v. Metro North Assocs. (1998) 255 A.D. 2d 251; 680 N.Y.S.2d 299 A New York appellate court determined that the alleged propensities of Pit Bull Terriers to behave more viciously than other breeds had not been authoritatively established.

Huntsville v. Four Pit Bull Puppies (Ala. 08-30-02), No.1010459, unreported. ACF sued the city of Huntsville Alabama in 2002 in a case that was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court.  The court determined that American Pit Bull Terriers were not dangerous.

No matter where the BSL battleground lies, the issues and arguments are similar.  The article below was written pre-SB 861 passage. The rationale can be applied to fighting BSL almost anywhere.

NO ON CALIFORNIA'S SENATE BILL 861
NO ON BSL IN CALIFORNIA!
NO ON DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PIT BULLS!
NO ON THE GOVERNMENT TELLING US AN ENTIRE BREED IS DANGEROUS!

California law currently prohibits laws that single out a breed for legislation. This long-standing position is based on the premise that it is unfair to discriminate against an entire breed for the acts of a few.

THIS POLICY SHOULD STAND.

Thousands of animal lovers in California have already expressed their dismay at SB 861 and have conducted a fierce campaign against the bill through letters, email, phone calls and a number of circulated petitions.

ROTTEN FROM THE START
SB 861 as originally introduced, set out to give local governments the right to make ANY breed-specific legislation they want.  This could have meant pet-confiscations from private homes by enforcement officers solely based on breed ala Denver. The bill was introduced in San Francisco immediately after a Pit Bull attack.

THE RESPONSE WAS AN UPROAR BY ANIMAL LOVERS
There was so quick and so loud a state-wide protest against the proposed bill that the author backed down and simply limited this BSL to allow forced breeding and spay/neuter of specific breeds. 

A SOLUTION SAY SOME ACTIVISTS?
Sounds like what rescuers want, right?

Don't be misguided! It is just the start of frightening legislation telling the public which breeds can live and which will die.

The most devastating result of SB 861 is that it tears down the sacred wall of protection, California's hallmark ban on BSL. It opens the door for laws like the one in Denver that permitted door-to-door sweeps to seize family pets because they had the 'wrong' kind. Caretakers were literally hiding their dogs from neighbors.

Another overriding harm threatens a huge group of people-friendly dogs. BSL allows law and local policy makers to single out of Pit Bulls FOR ANY REASON. The result will be more horror and discrimination for this beleaguered 'breed' than already exists. Some say Pit Bulls are not a breed at all and are merely a group of terrier types.

Singling out the Pit Bull will encourage animal pounds to automatically kill them and their look-alikes without even attempting adoption. Some pounds have added to their 'unadoptable' lists Chows, Rotts and German Shepherds.

Codifying restrictions on the 'Pit Bulls group' sends the message to the public that the Legislature believes these dogs are dangerous, regardless of an individual dog's temperament. What other implication can be drawn? The law tacitly tells us, "These dogs shouldn't be in our society so let's get rid of them by outlawing breeding and mandating spaying/neutering only for them".

The consequences can only be negative and unpredictable. For example, who would have anticipated that insurance companies would render homeowners uninsured, simply because of the kind of pet they have? This has caused owners to dump their dogs and others to refuse to adopt breeds that insurance policies exclude. Expect a lot more of the same if BSL passes.

Even now rescues nationwide are refusing to help Pit Bulls because of the negative publicity. BSL will bolster their position further.

California sets the pace for the nation. Other states won't be as liberal. They will interpret this as a condemnation of Pit Bulls and follow suit with bans like Denver.  That ban allows animal control to go to homes and confiscate pets solely based on BREED and NOT conduct.

Once BSL is in motion, it may be decades before the snow-ball effect can be stopped. Look how rapidly the anti-Pit Bull campaign has grown world-wide in the past few years. It's all a reaction to an average of 5 deaths a year by Pit Bulls over a period of about 20 years.  Never mind that there are millions of them in the country.  Never mind that you stand a greater chance of being hit by a train and lightening than being killed by a Pit Bull.

THIS IS NOT A WAY TO 'SAVE' PIT BULLS!
Don't be lulled into a sense of security.  BSL is a wolf in sheep's clothing that will come to bite YOU if you donít stop it now.

Activists and anti-breeders should not be concerned that the AKC is against this bill. Rescues have sided with breeders before on many issues to save animal lives. The focus here should be who are the SUPPORTERS of this bill. They are the Pit Bull haters and fear mongers who created SB 861 out of a knee-jerk reaction to one local killing.  They want to exterminate the entire breed in response to this one unfortunate incident.

The recent amendment to make this bill more palatable is one way of opening the door to breed specific legislation (BSL) in California!

Want breeding stopped? Want mandatory spay and neuter? This is the time to send the message to our Senate that we want the bill re-written to include ALL BREEDS until the pound slaughter of millions to deter overpopulation stops.

--DON'T LET PIT BULL HYSTERIA SHOOT DOWN CALIFORNIA'S BAN ON BSL!
--YES ON LEGISLATION THAT BANS BREEDING.
--YES ON LEGISLATION THAT MANDATES SPAY/NEUTER.
--BUT FOR ALL BREEDS, FOR THE RIGHT REASON: to stop the killing of dogs and cats in pounds.

The facts and the petition can be found here:

http://www.nokillnow.com/BSLCA.htm

Before you make up your mind on this issue, take the test below to see if you can pick out the Pit Bull from a group of dogs. If you can't, remember it's likely others can't either, like the police, animal control, courts and trigger-happy citizens. It's not only one breed here that will suffer. Every look-alike will suffer, too.  See: Can You Pick Out The Pit Bull?

Email: admin@nokillnow.com
No-Kill NOW!  P.O. Box 217,  Etiwanda, CA 91739-0217
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