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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
--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:
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
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