When fighting BSL, we need to start with a firm and unwavering understanding of what it actually is and the above image sums it up pretty well. Any time we allow laws to be passed which regulate one breed but not others, we are reinforcing the idea that the regulated breed is so vastly different from others that said breed (or breeds, or dogs that share similar physical characteristics) requires or is deserving of special regulations.
The comment above by Cherry H.E.A.R.T Rescue is spot on and we appreciate the folks out there that truly comprehend and appreciate why any and all forms of BSL are wrong and need to be fought.
Advocating effectively is dependent upon the ability of the advocate to debate the issue with rational supportive arguments, logic, and reason. Emotion really has no place in the process and will weaken your case.
For example, APBT advocates often hold emotionally charged beliefs that can disguise themselves as a good argument. Many believe that the key to winning arguments lies in proving pit bulls are harmless, or that most of them are harmless and that the breed shouldn’t be punished because of a “few bad apples” owned by “bad people.”
The problem with trying to make everyone see the good in the Pit Bull is that it’s a losing battle.
There will always be people that don’t like Pit Bulls. There will always be people that don’t like dogs that look like Pit Bulls. There will always be people that don’t like Chihuahuas, rainy weather, Phil Collins…you get the point.
Fighting BSL isn’t about making the opposition want to adopt Pit Bulls and get pibble kisses, it’s about proving the premise that BSL is inherently flawed and does nothing to make communities safer.
We want breed-neutral policies that apply fairly and equally to all breeds and put responsibility on the shoulders of dog owners where it belongs, and we need to commit to focusing solutions to that end. To fight BSL most effectively then, we need to advocate with language that is both neutral in regard to breed and propose reasonable action that enhances community safety and addresses the problem of irresponsible and unsafe dog owning practices.
“Ooookay, so what does this have to do with “The Cosby Show”?”
Oh yeah, I should probably get to that.
Well, “The Cosby Show” was groundbreaking in its day with its predominantly African American cast living a lifestyle that is stereotypically associated with upper class white America.
But it wasn’t so much what they portrayed but how it was portrayed.
“The Cosby Show” didn’t attack stereotypes by shoving race down the viewers’ throat. No, it was more subtle and more intellectual than that.
The Huxtables didn’t have to put other groups down, convince you that all African Americans were just like them, or blatantly state over and over that most African Americans are perfectly normal people to deal a real blow to discrimination and stereotypes.
The formula is pretty simple: Whether the viewer already had experience (positive or negative) with the African American community, very little experience with the community, or were part of the community, they now had a standard by which to compare and accept that was both positive and completely believable. All this was accomplished by being the example that they wanted others to judge them by.
Advocates for the APBT and other targeted breeds can do the exact same thing.
Pit Bull owners don’t have to put down other breeds, convince anyone that all Pit Bulls are perfect, or blatantly state that most Pit Bulls don’t maul people to deal a real blow to discrimination and stereotypes.
Pit Bull supporters don’t have to attack stereotypes by shoving breed down anyone’s throat. We can be more subtle and more intellectual than that.
We can be breed neutral in the language we use and we can be the example that we want others to judge us by.
Consider it a waste of your time to try to directly address the anti-Pit Bull chatter you hear and work on being the truth you want people to see. Show the world that you are a responsible owner and that your dog is a good dog. Setting a positive example is the very best argument against BSL you can make.
Director, Pit Bulls Against Misinformation