The Seattle Pet Expo at the Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall on Saturday will feature some well-known animal advocates who will be speaking out against breed-specific legislation.
"Breed specific legislation" (BSL) refers to laws that target dogs based on their looks rather than their actions. Currently, BSL most often focuses on Pitbull terrier-types, but many cities also include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinchers, Chows and other large breeds, including dogs that are often described as Pit bull-mixes.
Washington HB 2117 would pre-empt local authorities from adopting breed-specific ordinances and would prohibit municipalities from considering the breed of a dog when declaring a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous.
Shorty Rossi, star of the runaway Animal Planet hit TV show, “Pit Boss” and “America’s Cutest Pets,” celebrity dog trainer Harrison Forbes and national Pit bull advocate and Pinup for Pit bulls founder, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin are scheduled to be at the Seattle Center event.
“Hundreds of thousands of pets die every year just because they look like Pit bulls," said Rossi. "No animal control officers or police should be able to enter someone’s home and take their family pet just because it ‘looks’ like a certain breed. Most people have no idea how cruelty towards Pit bulls is promoted in their communities due to unfair laws or breed discrimination. It has to end and pet lovers are the only ones who can end it - people need to know about HB 2117."
The group DogsBite.org, which advocates for dog bite victims, says nearly all breed-specific laws target pit bulls, particularly in the instance of a breed ban, "because this class of dogs is the most common and negatively impacts communities the most."
DogsBite.org says contrary to popular belief, nearly all bans allow existing dogs to remain with their owners - but they must be altered once the ban becomes law. The goal of a ban is to eliminate "future" breeding and dramatically reduce the number of dangerous dogs within a community.
But the National Animal Control Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States are all against breed discrimination.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), based on its September, 2000 study of human fatalities from dog bites, published in JAVMA, also promotes a breed-neutral approach to legislation. The CDC found that many other factors, besides a dog’s breed such as reproductive status, heredity, sex, early experiences, socialization and training, can affect the likelihood that a dog could attack someone.
The Seattle Pet Expo will feature more than 150 exhibitors, live entertainment and demonstrations, a Petfinder.com mega-adoption area with more than 250 rescue pets available for adoption and an exclusive dog “Cover Model” contest sponsored by “Seattle City Dog Magazine.”
Low-cost immunizations, discounted microchipping and free nail trims will also be available.
The event will take place on Saturday, April 26 from 10am to 6pm, at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall.
This free event is expected to attract nearly 10,000 attendees. All well-behaved pets are welcome, as long as they’re on a fixed lead (or in a carrier) and have proof of age-appropriate rabies vaccines.