5.29.2015

Why Breed Specific Legislation Failed in Ireland

I talk a bit about #BSL in the book (Breed Specific Legislation: why BSL really doesn't work, but there are things that DO work to prevent dog bites) - and it looks like there is actual data to back up what science based dog trainers have been saying for years.
The worst bite that happened to me was a 9 pound devil cat. 
For my students, the worst was an Irish Setter that bit his own owner. This was after the Setter's owner, after ignoring my instruction to hold his leash, let go of the leash and the dog rocketed towards a Bull mastiff in my class. The shrinking violet Bull Mastiff took the abuse. When the owner pulled his dog off, the setter turned and took a chunk out of his own owners arm.
The mastiff could have been in a muzzle, and the Irish setter still would have bit his owner because the problem isn't breed - it's (in this case) an owner who wouldn't listen to instruction; it's genetics; it's environment; it's failure to read body language; it's so much more than "this breed will attack you."
To say that I haven't ever met a Pit bull or a bully breed who was angry is incorrect - I recommended one last year for euthanasia due to dangerous activity - an assertion that was backed up by three other professional outfits. The only three other dogs I recommended for euthanasia for aggression in 10 years? A shih tsu (couldn't be managed/nothing was working) , and a pug (neurological issues relating to aggression and stress).
And eventually, Sadie.
A Border collie. Neuro, age, pain, which led to aggression.
Though I recommended Rocco be euthanized, he wasn't my client, so that doesn't count. 
One Pit bull type dog literally saved me (I was 8 months pregnant) when another dog (unknown) charged out of an open door and attacked two dogs I was walking. The third dog, a Pit who was being fostered by the owner of the other two dogs I was walking, put herself between me, the two smaller dogs, and bit the attacking dog. She held on to his ear/skull until Animal control, and the police, got there. This dog, no joke, saved the two snack-sized pups, likely saved me from getting bit, or falling over, and wouldn't let anything happen to me (and later, Aislyn). Minnie was a superstar, and I'll never forget that day. She didn't bite, release, bite, release. She literally held him in place until help arrived. That stranger dog was not going to hurt us, and she was going to make sure of it.
BSL doesn't work. It never worked. And now there is more about it. 

The Huffington Post just wrote a piece on why BSL failed in Ireland - bites INCREASED under BSL. Science based dog trainers have been saying this for years, and now there is actual data to start putting the final nail in the coffin for mandatory muzzle orders on dogs who have a certain phenotype.