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Victory for Dogs! Breed Specific Legislation is Now Banned in Delaware

In a major victory for dogs and dog lovers in Delaware, breed specific legislation, or BSL, has now been banned statewide.

breed specific legislation

On Friday, Delaware became the 21st state to enact a statewide ban on breed specific legislation when Governor John Carney signed House Bill 13 into law.

The new law blocks local county and city governments from banning or restricting someone’s right to owner certain breeds or mixed breeds. Essentially, the bill allows Delawareans to own any breed of dog they choose.

Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, are laws put in place by counties, cities, states, or communities that discriminate against certain dogs based on their breed or appearance alone, without regard to temperament or history of aggression. Most breed specific legislation target Pit Bulls, a broad term used to describe breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, or mixed-breed and other dogs having physical characteristics common to these breeds. In addition to pit bulls, many BSL laws target Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and other dog breeds

breed specific legislation

At least 25 different breeds share physical characteristics with Pit Bulls, making them commonly misidentified and fallen victim to ineffective BSL laws.

“HB 13 is in the best interest of public safety,” Patricia Blevins, executive director of Delaware’s Office of Animal Welfare, said in a statement. “It will ensure that laws are enforced consistently across the state, based on the actions of a dog or dog owner, and not a dog’s physical appearance.”

Although the ban on breed specific legislation allows Delaware’s dog owners to open their family to any dog they choose, it does not prohibit landlords or property managers from barring certain breeds from housing, an issue that a large number of dog owners face.

But, Patrick Carroll, executive director of the Delaware Humane Association, told The Dodo  that the passing of HB 13 might help. The new law may encourage Delaware’s landlords to rethink their own breed restrictions and encourage families to adopt dogs based on their unique personalities and whether they’re the right fit, rather than basing that choice on their breed alone.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. T3D

    Jul 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I have seen loving pit mixes just turn at a snap of a finger on their owners. Often times, the owners do not see it, call it a blinder effect for their own dogs. This one dog I was giving a treat to when it jumped up on me and got right in my face growling and bearing its teeth, not in a friendly way. The owner said "ohh she's just playing", well if that is playing then playing with a dog like that is not for me.

    I have been around Pitts where they are friendly, but these have owners that give them lots of exercise, something this breed needs (in general, am sure there are some exceptions to the rule).

  2. Lisa Simpson

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I understand why a dog website wants to avoid pressure from the pitbull-saturated rescue community, but in reality they only make up about 6% of the entire dog population and commit over half of brutal mauling and murders including an already staggering amount of children, elderly and even able bodied adults this year, multiple maulings and deaths just in the last week.

    Go ahead and heartlessly compare all these human lives to the rarity of shark & coconut deaths, but what about the other 94% of beloved dogs in your audience? This fanatically defended 6% is also responsible for over *95%* of attacks & mauling deaths on other animals, not a rarity but a constant occurrence traumatizing communities across America every day. In what world can that be connected with 'victory'? Are the rest of us just less important than a single minority breed and their selfish promoters?

    Im sure the D.Post just wants to sound positive, but imagine the family of the grandmother that died this week <literally disemboweled by their newly adopted pitbull> reading this 'victory' article? I wish this paper and anyone jumping to type a vehement reply about their own perfect dog would just take a minute to question their own motives. Im sure you love your rescued baby as much as anyone else and have reason to defend them as an individual, but why push for more acceptance of fighting breeds in the general public?

    Weapons are regulated to manage the potential for irresponsible harm to others. There are tons of responsible, trained, licensed gun owners, and you may be a responsible dog owner but without regulation nobody else has to be. Its like if anyone could go buy a machine gun at the corner store, but this gun can pull its own trigger and has no off switch. Anyone who actually cared about the reputation or future of this breed wouldnt be fighting tougher rehoming and ownership standards, BSL and related related restrictions & liability to discourage them landing in the wrong hands.

    Theres a slew of other adoptable dogs with the wonderful characteristics you champion, that dont have 100yrs of intentionally bred hardwired instincts to kill your neighbors beloved pets. Beyond just animal-aggression we're also talking about the triggered instinct to <literally, documented> decapitate and disembowel family members, why fight so hard to keep that one particular trait alive and common? Why would you openly promote & selfishly push that on your community if there were alternatives? #motives

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