BSCA position on animal legislation
As a parent club for the Belgian Sheepdogs in the U.S., the BSCA is dedicated to promoting. Preserving, and protecting our breed.
From their origins as a herding dog and protector of herdsman and flock, the Belgian Sheepdog has demonstrated its capacity for herding, search and rescue, companion, agility, obedience and protector. In 1905 Belgians were touted as the police dog of choice for the NYPD. In 1959, the BSCA was established as the parent club for the Belgian Sheepdog – the dog known as a Groenendael in its country of origin. The BSCA opposes legislation that seeks to restrict or eliminate the right to own, breed or utilize our dogs.
As the oldest known domestic animal, dogs deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Those who own or care for dogs have an obligation to ensure they are neither a nuisance nor a danger to others. However, animal rights groups have taken reasonable humane care and pushed for Governmental micromanagement and restriction to the point of detriment to both dogs and people. Proper care for dogs has no relation to the number of dogs one owns, but in how one cares for them.
Laws regarding humane care and to address issues of animal nuisance have existed in both Federal and State laws for some decades. Additionally, ever more restrictive laws based on assertions that have no documented justification of real benefit, serve only to make criminals of good citizens and frequently result in increased, rather than decreased, animal suffering. Education on how to care for, train, and manage dogs has been far more effective in improving the lives of dogs than legislation.
Passage of ordinances and laws to limit numbers, to increase license fees for intact dogs, to ban specific breeds, or to levy fees for breeding dogs make animal ownership more difficult. Such laws are not only difficult to enforce, they often result in more, not less, animal suffering as those who otherwise would provide excellent homes find that animal ownership is too expensive or banned. Dogs do not produce puppies just because they are intact. Proper management and keeping females separated from males during “her season” prevents unplanned puppies. Education on such management is far more effective and inexpensive than mandatory spay /neuter, which has been shown in a number of studies to have significant health drawbacks.
Chris Zink, Early Spay Neuter Considerations: Early Spay Neuter
Demonizing commercial kennels that are USDA licensed and follow the rules can result in fewer dogs available locally, creating not a better situation for dogs but a greater difficulty for the citizen to obtain the dog of their choice. Dangerous dog laws should follow the scientific evidence that shows that breeds are NOT uniquely dangerous or unmanageable and that it is the individual dog that is or is not a problem. Not only do such laws result in the needless death of dogs, they have failed to reduce dog bites – in some cases, dog bites have increased rather than decreased following breed specific laws (see links below). The BSCA opposes the passage of such laws and holds that where such laws have been passed, they should be rescinded.
Mandatory spay/neuter or charging punitive license fees for keeping an intact dog are counterproductive for several reasons. There is no evidence that mandatory spay/neuter is effective in reducing “overpopulation” and many studies have shown that in fact, shelter numbers increase when spay/neuter laws are passed due to owner surrender. Prohibition of intact animals and breeding drives responsible breeders out of breeding. The demand for animals is then filled by those who work outside the system or by importing from outside the area, both of which reduce the ability of a buyer to carefully select a healthy well socialized dog. There are a number of health drawbacks to neutering. Finally, there is a serious question of such laws being in violation of the Constitutional right of individuals to own property and to be secure in their homes.
AKC Legislative Alerts:
Campaigners say the Dangerous Dogs Act is ‘irrational’ and want the legislation to be changed. But how can the animals be protected while ensuring pet owners are held to account? Rowenna Davis reports on a recent debate: Beware of the law when it comes to dangerous dogs
Generic anti breed specific legislation position by the American Bar Association: Breed Specific Legislation