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Legislative Updates: BSL, Humane Euthanasia Methods and More

As always there are numerous places around the U.S. where breed-specific legislation is being considered and where it is being stringently opposed. The website www.stopbsl.org reported on March 1 that the Rhode Island senator who proposed a statewide restriction on “pit bull type” dogs has withdrawn his bill from the state senate, and that the house bill has also been withdrawn. Likewise, in Broward County, Fla., this week, at a meeting of the county commissioners, a bill proposed by Barbara Sharief was withdrawn when several dozen people spoke out against it. According to stopbsl.org, one commissioner said he “stopped keeping track of the emails he received about this issue (when) there were over 1,000 against and only 11 for.”

In New Orleans, changes to the city’s animal ordinance are being considered that could impact the holding of dog shows and trials there. According to AKC a change in the definition of “exhibition” would, if imposed, require dog clubs to “obtain a permit from the city for their events,” and prior to receiving that permit clubs would be required to provide veterinary health certificates for each dog entered. Of course, obtaining health permits for all dogs to be entered at a future show or trial would be nearly impossible, since the permit would need to be acquired prior to entries closing for the events. Fanciers in the area must contact the Governmental Affairs Committee and encourage members to remove this requirement.

Change in Euthanasia Methods Sought in Texas

Two state representatives in Texas have filed bills to end the euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters using carbon monoxide, a method still in use in approximately 30 shelters around the state, according to PRNewswire-USNewswire. In recent years there has been a nationwide trend toward using sodium pentobarbital injection (EBI) for euthanasia instead of the outdated “gas chamber” method. Veterinary medical, animal control and shelter associations all recommend the use of EBI as more humane than gas. Best In Show Daily will follow the progress of this proposal.

In other legislative news, the bill proposed in New York state that would outlaw debarking or “bark softening” passed the Assembly Codes Committee and is expected to be considered by the full New York Assembly at any time. The American Kennel Club position on debarking is that it is a “viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog owner to keep a dog that barks excessively in its loving home rather than to be forced to surrender it to a shelter.” The procedure should only be performed by a qualified veterinarian after other efforts to correct excessive barking have proven inadequate. AKC urges residents of the state of New York to contact their assembly members to express their opinions about this proposed law.

Best In Show Daily provides a bi-weekly look at dog-related legislation that is being considered, is pending and has passed around the country. The American Kennel Club also maintains Legislative Alerts of which it has determined fanciers should be aware. If you learn of proposed legislation that you feel we should report on, please feel free to contact me at Christi@bestinshowdaily.com.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.
  • Susan Chaney
    Susan Chaney March 3, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    I wonder how often BSL is brought before a legislative body, particularly city councils and county boards, because one or two residents propose it, and those sitting on the council or board aren’t aware of the big picture, as well as the difficulty of enforcing such a law and how it can affect responsible breeders and pet owners. I’m pretty certain that most aren’t even familiar with their own existing small animal ordinances that in all likelihood already address dangerous dogs, regardless of breed.

  • Collin March 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I’ve been told by one legislator, and by others who’ve worked with them, that it is difficult to know all of the ins and outs of every issue, and that they pay the most attention to topics that they receive the most correspondence about. I think it is really important that we continue to work to educate our representatives about BSL and responsible dog breeding and ownership.

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