The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) should be banned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,972 times Debate No: 27459
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is a legalized form of animal discrimination which is sanctioned by local governments. These bodies prohibit the ownership of certain dogs just because they may look like a certain type of animal. I believe these archaic laws need to be abolished. I am new to this forum so the rules are simple, keep it clean.


I accept your debate. You may present your opening argument in the next round. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Across the United States there is a trend that local governments, normally city or sometimes counties whereby they will prevent the ownership of certain types of dogs, most notably the "pit bull " breed. As a pretty conservative follow I am morally outraged at the governments interference in the peaceful ownership of a companion animal. The folks out there who support this type of interference will normally cite all types of tragic news reports, but they have never met one. There recently was a world wide case that took place in Belfast Ireland, Lennox was a dog that was euthanized because he 'looked' like a pit bull. The police came in literally took the dog without a provocative in incident, had a trial killed the dog and never let the family in to see him. For any government to do this is wrong, granted that happened in Ireland, however the same laws exist here in the U.S..

If a dog is to be euthanized it should be for health reasons or for an actual event, not a possible event which may or may not happen in the future. For that reason alone BSL should be abolished.


Numerous states and local governments have enacted breed-specific legislation to ban the ownership of certain types of dogs or provide restrictions on the conditions of ownership. The purpose of this legislation is to protect public safety by controlling ownership of potentially dangerous breeds of dog.

Certain types of dogs, such as the pitbull or rottweiler, have a natural temperament toward aggression. Without proper training and socialization, this temperament can become a problem and cause these animals to pose a threat to public safety. If all dog owners took appropriate care to train and socialize their dogs, breed-specific legislation would not be required, but because many owners do not undertake these efforts, the government must step in to ensure public safety.

Danger of pitbulls, rottweilers, and related breeds

Despite that pitbulls and rottweillers represent only a small percentage of dogs, in the U.S. and Canada they account for 77% of all dog attacks that induce bodily harm, 73% of dog attacks to children, 81% of dog attacks to adults, 68% of dog attacks that result in death, and 76% of dog attacks that result in maiming.[1] These attacks vastly outnumber the attacks by other breeds of dogs.[2] Certainly these dogs could be safe to own if properly trained, but many owners do not correctly train their dogs, and these dogs then become a public safety concern.

Government’s job is to protect its citizens

It is well within the purview of the government to protect its citizens through legislation. When the evidence supports that certain breeds of dogs present a public safety risk, it is within the government’s power to enact laws that will control the ownership of these breeds – whether through bans or restrictions.

Many governments also have bans on other types of animals that present public safety risks, either because of risk for attack or disease – such as certain reptiles, monkeys, large cats, and various species of “wild” animals. Some of these individual animals might be safe, but as a whole they are not. It is the government’s job to recognize that a specific type of animal poses a generalized risk and protect against that risk.


Perhaps, in the future, there will come a time when dog owners properly train and socialize their dogs, preventing them from becoming a public safety risk. But, that time has not yet arrived. At the present, many of these types of dogs are dangerous, and the government’s job is to protect its citizens from danger. These governments have chosen to enact legislation that will limit or control these dogs, a completely reasonable and acceptable method of reducing this public safety risk.




Debate Round No. 2


Wow, well done, been a while since i had to pull research.

R1- According to the National Canine Research Council "Dog bite statistics include a range of types of Dog bites. The vast majority.... they fail to accurately show which dogs bite, why dogs bite, or just how frequently leaner irresponsible allow their dogs to become a problem to people or other animals.

The point is that if a dog jumps and scratches a person, that can be reported as a dog bite. There is no standard nationally used in the reporting of what actually is a dog bite. The NCRC further states that bite totals become even more misleading when subdivided by breed descriptors. At least half of the dogs in the United States are mixed breed dogs.
With the exception of breeders, most dogs today are mixed breed and in fact most people can not accurately identify a pit bull. (1)

R2- According to multiple sites, the pit bull has an 84% passing rate on temperament testing as compared to 77% for all other breeds. The reason is simple, it is the Pit's bedding, the dog is bred to please its owner. It is loyal and passionate to its owners wishes, which is also it's biggest fault. Because it wants to please, it will fight and protect the owner.

The most decorated military dog in the United States history was a WWI Pit Bull named Stubby. Not only did stubby receive military honors he was made a lifetime member of the American Legion (2)

The role of government could be debated as to what protection is however the banning of a breed is not the answer. I would suggest that all owners would be required to take a course to become licensed to own dogs. If you consider you must have a license to drive, get married hunt why not to own a dog?

As the owner of a Pit Bull and a Rottweiler, both these dogs are CGC, and Therapy dogs. These dogs are well socialized and are well treated. Any dog will bite if pushed to it's bite threshold.

I would appreciate a vote for pro stand up against BSL, a dog should be judged by its life not the fear of society.




Dog Bite Statistics

While it is true that many dog bite statistics might provide only some information, the information that is not provided is not necessary for legislators to come to the reasonable conclusion that certain restrictions should be placed on particularly dangerous breeds of dogs.

PRO notes that dog bite statistics may “fail to accurately show which dogs bite, why dogs bite, or describe just how frequently owners irresponsibly allow their dogs to become a problem to people or other problems.”

It is true that owners may be irresponsible when handling their pitbulls, and perhaps pitbulls might have some unclear motivation when they choose to bite, but knowing these factors is not necessary for legislators to determine that the dogs can and are dangerous, in general, to public safety.

What matters is that there is sufficient evidence for legislators to determine that pitbulls, rottweilers, and related dogs – relative to other breeds – present an abnormal risk to human safety. The motivation of these dogs in choosing to bite, or the irresponsibility of the owners is not important. The dogs may very well believe they are being loyal and protecting their owner when they attack other animals or people, but as honorable as that may seem at some level, this is exactly the type of dog behavior that presents a danger to society.

In the statistic that I presented in the earlier round, even if the amount of pitbull attacks was somehow skewed in favor of misidentifying pitbulls more often, that number could be reduced by more than two-thirds and still outweigh any other type of dog attack. For example, there were 207 deaths from pitbull attacks between 1982-2011, but only 22 deaths from Husky attacks, 12 deaths from German shepherd attacks, and 7 deaths from Doberman attacks.[1] Pitbulls are, invariably, the leading cause of dog attack death. Only an absolutely tremendous degree of misidentification of pitbulls could make this fact untrue, and my opponent has not shown that such a huge error exists, nor is there any reason to believe that it exists.

Temperament Rating and military accolades

PRO states that pitbulls excel in temperament testing and have well-respected military history.

PRO notes that the reason pitbulls perform well in temperament testing is because they are bred to please their owners and have a fierce sense of loyalty. He also comments that “because it wants to please, it will fight and protect the owner.” This is the problem. Pitbulls are bred to viciously and zealously defend their owners against real and perceived threats. Because pitbulls are not always properly trained, and because pitbulls cannot perfectly determine what is a real threat versus a perceived threat, innocent bystanders and animals become the victims of pitbull attacks.

Further, pitbulls may have a decorated military history, but this does not mean these dogs are not dangerous when owned and handled by lay people in society. A military environment is incredibly different from general society.

Government legislation

PRO argues that “all owners should be required to take a course to become licensed to own dogs.” The problem with this solution is that most breeds of dog don’t require special courses to own safely. If I purchase a Yorkshire terrier, I don’t need specialized training to protect myself and the public from my dog, because my dog doesn’t pose an inherent threat and is not innately likely to attack other people.

It would be reasonable for the government to require specific courses be taken for the ownership of pitbulls, but this would – by definition – fall under the category of breed-specific legislation which my opponent is arguing should be banned. Further, requiring courses for owning pitbulls would be administratively more costly for the government than simply banning or restricting ownership, because the government must then set specific standards, course requirements, and so forth, to ensure that they are properly performed.


Breed-specific legislation is a reasonable and prudent method of protecting society from specific breeds that present an abnormal public safety risk.

Thanks to my opponent for an enjoyable and enlightening debate!


Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by BANBSL 4 years ago
Exuse me ? Carolinagirl. but this is serious !!
New born dogs are taken away and killed because they are apparently "dangerous" !!
Its not fair. They dont even know the differencee between right and wrong yet and someone was there ready to teach them. Dogs are our best friends. If you had a dog which was the tamest creature on our living planet and it got taken away what would you do ?
Its just horrible to think.
People are scared of rotties but I have one and if you dont teach it what wrong is then itll never know .
Im not telling you what to believe im just explaining that mans best friend is being denied all over and destroyed/pts. Just because of its looks.
How would you feel to have all of a sudden be thrown in jail because you have longer hair than other people ?
Thankyou for reading <3

P.S We need to get this page going again !! :)
Posted by Carolinagirl 5 years ago
I have a serious issue with T argument. He says that lawmakers don't need correct dog bite statistics to decide that pitbulls are dangerous. In fact correct and exact statistics is the only way they can make an unbiased non discriminatory piece of legislation. Also you that breed specific legislation is in place to protect the public safety. There are currently 75 breeds banned across the US. It is a list that includes dogs like the golden retrievers and Boston terriers. Those aren't dogs you would consider even remotely dangerous yet they ae in the same group as the "vicious " pitbull. Finally I work as a bather brusher at a grooming salon and I will tell you I trust the pitbulls we have come in more than I trust the German shepherds or chihuahuas.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate. Con is the clear winner. Con established that IF government properly decides that a breed is dangerous to the public, THEN it has the right to pass breed-specific legislation. Then Con established grounds to believe some breeds pose such a danger: 68% of fatal dog attacks are traced to two breeds. Pro says you can't be sure those two breeds kill with bites. They could be killing with scratches. Pro says the leading cause of death may not be pit bulls. They may be dogs that _look like_ pit bulls. (Since we don't suspect that Pro would be satisfied if the law banned dogs that look like pit bulls, this argument does not seem relevant.) Pro says there was a good pit bull. Stipulated, but irrelevant, as the bans do not presuppose that there are no good pit bulls.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's statistics counter was never fully substantiated since it didn't relate to any specifics i.e., Pro only argue that statistics were skewed but didn't show in what way or to what degree. Without specification, Con was able to easily refute this point by pointing out that the statistics would have to be heavily skewed in order to defeat the statistical evidence for abnormal aggression. Pro's training counter also failed since it was an example of breed-specific legislation. Pro could have gotten around this by arguing for an all-out training requirement but only argued for it as applied to pitbulls or "dangerous breeds". One avenue that was unfortunately never discussed in depth was the proper role of government in the matter. Both Pro and Con agreed that the government could have a role, they merely disagreed on what that role was. Pro would have done well not to give up on this point so easily. Sources also go to Con since Pro merely linked to websites, not specific links.