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BSL stateside – the story to date

BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION is under concerted attack in the United States of America as a campaign groups strives to get an all-important legal ruling that BSL is unconstitutional.

Poul Poulson of the Washington Animal Foundation told OUR DOGS that three major legal challenges were currently under way to chaplenge BSL at its very root. If these rulings go WAF’s way, then the concept of BSL in the US will be dead in the water and all existing BSL statutes will be deemed illegal and void.

"Right now the most important court trial is taking place in Toledo City in Ohio State, regarding Breed Specific Legislation," said Poulson. "For those that are not familiar with what is going on in Toledo, the ACF (American Canine Foundation) is supporting/sponsoring a formal US Constitutional challenge against the City of Toledo and it includes the Breed Specific Legislation Statute in Ohio. The challenges are based on the 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and our constitutional rights and due process of our private property etc. Under state and federal law, dogs are considered private property."

If Judge Francis X. Gorman rules that the Toledo law is unconstitutional, it could mean that the state code, and similar laws in other Ohio municipalities and cities are invalid. This will effectively give the precedence to knock down EVERY BSL statue/ordinance in the USA as being unconstitutional. WAF is poised to take advantage of such a ruling and see to it that BSL is driven from every State, County, City and Town in the USA.

Poulson adds: "I view this as the foundational legal battle against BSL and perhaps the most important one to date. This is the very first time that recognized 'experts' have been in court to testify regarding the specifics of genetics and behavioral traits. ACF has presented seven expert witnesses, namely; Dr I. Lehr Brisbin PhD, Dr. Niscki PhD, Cindy Cooke (UKC ), Karl Hoerstorke, President from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Dr Goldman PhD, Tammy Price, Jed Mingano (Toledo Humane Society). All were accepted by the court as witnesses."

In other news this year regarding BSL, the American Canine Foundation together with other campaign groups filed a lawsuit against Ottumwa city in Iowa for passing BSL, without a ‘grandfather clause’, thus compelling people who already owned Pit Bulls to dispose of them..

The planned actions have legal precedent behind them. Earlier this year a judge in Westbury, New York, ruled that a breed ban that they passed against "pitbulls" was unconstitutional, and it was struck down. Two years ago the Alabama Supreme Court confirmed a trial court decision that Pit Bulls are not vicious, and present no danger to society.

The case in the City of Huntsville centred on four Pit Bulls held in an animal shelter and adopted by three local women. However, the City Council refused to release the dogs, stating that they were a potential danger to human beings, although none had apparently displayed any aggression.


WAF filed an Amicus (third party) submitting genetic proof that Pit Bulls are not dangerous. The city of Huntsville were backed by the extremist animal rights organisation PETA that Pit Bulls were genetically dangerous, with evidence provided by veterinarians, none of whom was an expert in any specific canine or genetical field.

WAF cited case laws under Due Process of the law, and stated that it was unconstitutional to rule a specific breed of dog as ‘dangerous’ in this way. They also claimed it was ‘genocide’ to try to eradicate the Pit Bull breed.

Huntsville's entire case rested on affidavits from veterinarians claiming they examined the four Pit Bull pups and that were would pose a danger to the community because Pit Bulls are genetically dangerous.

On Friday, August 30, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in WAF’s favour and ordered that the dogs should be released for adoption, accepting the evidence but forward by WAF that no breed of dog is genetically dangerous.

The Alabama ruling will provide strong background evidence to the various ongoing actions and WAF is quietly confident of victory, thus eradicating the scourge of BSL from the Land Of The Free forever.