Pet News

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and Why this Little White Dog and You Should Care!

Written by Rachel Phelps

My pals, as you know, I have been attending the Amazing Pet Expo shows for the past couple of years. I am often at the same shows as Shorty Rossi from Animal Planet’s TV show Pit Boss. At each show Shorty talks from the main stage about how we can change the world and that includes changing laws negatively impacting his favorite dog breed, Pit Bulls. These laws are referred to as BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). He says that to get these laws changed we all have to work together. I hate to admit it, but before I met Shorty I didn’t know much about BSL because I felt it wasn’t my problem. I’m a cute terrier that looks like a stuffed animal. I am also not that big. I weigh in at 19 solid pounds of pure muscle … hehehe. Everyone who sees me smiles, they don’t see me as a threat. So in other words, I don’t look like a Pit Bull Terrier or any of those stereotypically “scary looking” breeds.

For those not familiar with BSL, in a nutshell, it is when a town or city enacts laws that prohibit certain breeds from living in their city limits. Some of the breeds typically included are: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bulldog. These governments feel that these breeds are dangerous or vicious and could pose a safety risk to their residents. The laws are also meant to stop dog fighting in their town. Honestly though, that doesn’t make sense if you think about it. It is not like dog fighters are going to suddenly start following the rules now that there is BSL!

11127726_10101041253566968_8242632720064246776_oSo what happens if you have one of these dog breeds in an area that has passed these discriminatory laws? Well, either you have to move away, hide the dog and hope you don’t get caught, or surrender your dog to a rescue out of the area. If the government catches you harboring one of these “dangerous” dogs, your dog can be  taken away and killed. (Oh my Dog!)

Did you know that pit bulls used to be called the “All-American” dog? Years ago, they were bred to be the nanny dog for kids. They protected the family children and looked after then. I’ll be honest, us Westies are often not good with small kids because some of us can be nippy and jumpy. So if you have little kids, a pit bull is probably a better pet for your family than a dog like me. Yet, terriers aren’t banned by the government?!?!

Media is a problem as well (Yes, I know I am a card carrying member of the media). When a dog bites a kid, if they are a pit bull, it is always reads “pit bull mauls child”. If it is a lab then it reads “dog bites child.” The media creates this fear, which in turn causes elected officials to feel they must do something to protect their citizens from these “vicious” animals. BSL is the lazy way to try to solve the problem of dogs that bite. Frankly, I think this is unacceptable!

FullSizeRender (20)There are many groups we meet all over the country, such as Pinups for Pit Bulls, that are rallying pet owners to get these laws changed. However, to me, it generally seems like it is mostly the dog owners who have these specific breeds that are the only ones who are involved in the cause. I admit it, myself, my brother and sister Westies, and my parents haven’t been involved or even given much space on my website to this issue. We usually give a lot more attention to issues that pertain to us Westies such as puppy mills. While sitting at the Expos listening to Shorty’s speech on BSL (I have good ears so I can hear his talk every week from my booth and I can even recite his jokes) it made me realize if you look the other way with BSL, in a way you are saying that BSL is ok. This pup is not comfortable saying it is ok by staying silent.

Today I am here to woof it loud! BSL is an ALL PET OWNER’S problem. We should publically say this isn’t acceptable. Why punish a whole breed? I am a good dog because my rents raised me that way. Most pit bulls are good dogs because loving owners raised and trained them to be that way too. Don’t make assumptions about a dog breed by the way we look!

Enough is enough. We must stand behind the groups that are trying to change the laws. There are over seventy million dog owners in the US. If all pet parents contacted their elected officials or even donated a dollar each to the cause, I think these crazy laws would go away quickly. At the end of the day, we as dogs deserve to not be put down or forced to lose our family based on our breed.

This little white dog thinks BSL is terrible … do you? Most importantly, what are you going to do about it?

Your Pal,


About the author

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps, “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer, and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her Internet celebrity dog Preston from Preston Speaks. Her three Westies — who think they are mini-humans — and three cats rule the house. To learn more about Rachel go to: Rachel Phelps Website


  • Thank you, thank you, thank you Preston for this article.

    In the end, for us humans it’s not just about being a pit bull owner, or a Westie owner, or a big dog lover, or a small dog lover, it’s about being a dog owner, a dog lover, and recognizing that other owners love their dogs as much, and other dogs love their owners as much as we love ours..

  • this is so ridiculous,. just look how m vick’s dogs became service dogs, etc. it is not the dog but the human.

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