Below is an example letter you can use if you want to correspond with your town or city’s mayor/council.
On behalf of the XX TOWN/CITY residents listed below, I am writing to request a review of the city’s breed-specific Animal Control Bylaw components.
While we understand that the intent of the City and its staff is to promote safety and well-being, the breed-specific bylaw does the city a disservice by punishing responsible owners and directing animal control resources away from more important animal welfare issues.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) has never shown itself to be effective in reducing dog bites. At its core, it is based on a visual identification of a loose term (“pit bull” is not a breed), it is difficult to enforce, and it is more expensive than other alternatives. As a result, cities around the world are moving away from breed-specific approaches and towards models of dangerous dog legislation instead.
Dangerous dog legislation emphasizes the owner’s role in properly caring for, managing and taking responsibility for his/her dog’s behaviour. In doing so, it targets known risk factors for dog aggression acknowledged by organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association, the SPCA and the Center for Disease Control. These factors include breeding, health, training/socialization, past behaviour, sexual status (spay/neuter), roaming at large and quality of ownership.
Breed is not a risk factor for aggression and BSL is opposed by every reputable animal science and animal welfare organization.
We believe that the TOWN/CITY would be safer and better served by embracing the movement towards dangerous dog legislation. There are many resources and established best practices in this area that can be easily researched and adapted. The BC SPCA, for example, has a set of sample bylaws available by request.
Please join the thousands of communities around Canada, the U.S. and the world that are implementing a more effective, evidence-based approach to animal welfare.
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