End Aurora BSL

FACTS & RESOURCES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do the Professional Animal and Social Organizations say about BSL?

Every relevant professional animal or social services organization has come out against breed legislation as effective policy. There is only one relevant organization in the US that supports breed legislation, and they are not a professional animal or social organization, they are a misinformation lobby group.

Some of the groups that are against Breed Legislation include:

ASPCA
American Bar Association
American Kennel Club
American Veterinary Medical Association
Animal Farm Foundation
Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Best Friends Animal Society
Humane Society
International Association of Canine Professionals
National Canine Research Council
The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors

What breeds are considered "Pit Bull"?

Around the country there are many different interpretations of what a ‘pit bull’ is. While majority of breed legislation around the country has been repealed, cities who still have breed restrictions identify 17+ breeds. In Aurora, the restricted breeds are Staffordshire Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Pit Bull Terrier.

Outside of Aurora, banned breeds include (but are not limited) to the following:

 

  1. American Pit Bull Terrier – Often considered the quintessential “pit bull” and widely targeted by BSL.
  2. American Staffordshire Terrier – Similar in appearance to the American Pit Bull Terrier, and frequently included in restrictions.
  3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Smaller than the American versions but also often included in breed bans.
  4. American Bully – A newer breed derived from the American Pit Bull Terrier and other bulldog-type breeds.
  5. Bull Terrier – Known for its distinctive egg-shaped head and robust build.
  6. Miniature Bull Terrier – A smaller version of the Bull Terrier but sometimes included in restrictions due to its similarity to larger bull breeds.
  7. American Bulldog – Larger and more muscular than its English counterpart, often targeted by BSL.
  8. Boxer – Though not a traditional “bully breed,” Boxers are sometimes included in breed-specific legislation due to their strong build and energetic nature.
  9. Dogo Argentino – A large, white, muscular dog originally bred for big-game hunting, including in breed bans due to its power and hunting instincts.
  10. Presa Canario – Known for its imposing size and guard dog capabilities, often included in breed restrictions.

What orgs support breed restrictions?

There is only one of recent note, however their tactics rely on cherry-picking aggregate information spanning all breeds in order to present a violent fear campaign. In the end, the anti-dog crowd want the same thing as dog advocates do – safer communities. We just lean a bit more into the science of it, knowing that emotional fear campaigns can make communities less safe and encourage more incidents by stigmatizing specific types of animals.

Does This mean Pit Bulls are good breeds for anyone looking for a dog?

Absolutely not! Every breed of dog is going to require a certain amount of personal responsibility based on their size. First and foremost, the number one predictor of dog aggression isn’t their breed, it is whether or not they are an intact male. Non-neutered males account for 2 out of every 3 dog aggression incidents in the United States, regardless of breed. Larger breeds require an expertise that is not always had by beginner or casual dog owners. 

Irresponsible owners can lead to further stigmatization of the breed. If you own a pit bull, you need to be ready to take extra care in training and socializing your dog – not because they are inherently more dangerous, but because this stigmatization will cause others to react to normal dog behavior when that behavior is exhibited by a pit breed. Pit owners need to be ready to be the subject of glances and general public fear of the breed as a result of the reputation they get from media and pop-culture. 

It’s because of this excpetion that pit breed owners need to take a more involved role in training and socialization classes at a young age, and take extra care when training for leash aggression, recall, and temperment. 

Does Breed Restrictive Legislation Work Anywhere?

There is no evidence that Breed Legsilation in any US city has been effective. In fact, all studies reviewing the issue have shown that not only is it ineffective, but it can makes communities less safe in a multitude of ways including:

1. According to the National Dog Rescue Network, enacting BSL in a city leads to an increase in pit breed abandonment. Any dog abandonment will lead to a spike in incidents, regardless of breed. This spike in incidents may be confused as supporting the need for breed restriction, when it is breed restriction causing the spike. 

2. It discourages responsible owners from getting training and socialization that are crucial for a dog’s development. Because of the maligned perception, Pit breeds are held to a higher standard than other breeds, often receiving an exaggerated response in response to reactions in situations that any dog would have. 

3. It discourages responsible owners from getting veterinary care. While almost no Vet in Aurora will notify authorities if you bring a dog in for medical help, they may be required by law to let Aurora Animal Services know when a lost pit breed with no owner is brought in for care. 

4, It prevents responsible owners from getting homeowners and other insurance policies from covering certain breeds in case of incident. 

Is there any evidence that Racism in fueled the adoption of BSL policy in the US?

The University of Denver study titled “The Impacts of the City and County of Denver’s Breed Specific Legislation” Concluded that (among other things) “An assessment of the social impacts of BSL determined that the removal of a single breed of dog is inconsistent with the documented benefits of increasing opportunities for pet-keeping in community. Furthermore, the disproportionate enforcement of BSL in underserved communities and communities of color perpetuates historic trends of discrimination and marginalization in the U.S. and negatively impacts social cohesion of these communities. “

Another study on the matter, titled “The Black Man’s Dog”, studied the relationship between black and latino dog owners in BSL communities, citing in their study: “Strong cultural ties exist between pit bull dogs and the Black community. The same is true of the Latino community. Research undertaken here to investigate this claim suggests that people of color are perceived to be the most likely owner of this breed of dog. While at the present time, actual ownership data is not available, if true ownership resembles the perceived distribution measured here, such a finding may form the basis for a legal claim. Under new law, breed-specific legislation could be challenged under the Fair Housing Act if it can be shown that these laws are disproportionately excluding minority
groups.”

The issue of disproportionate enforcement is often fueled by the communities where pit breeds are most likely to be found are less affluent on account of some of the systemic race challenges had in the US. A 2014 study titled “The Dangerous Individual(‘s) Dog: Race, Criminality and the ‘Pit Bull’” cited “Though it is generally acknowledged that there is a relationship between racist discourse and the figure of the non-human animal, this relationship is almost always assumed to be analogical: oppressed groups are compared with or treated as non-human animals. But the recent dogfighting case against NFL Quarterback Michael Vick and the attendant suspicion of ‘pit bulls’ suggests that racism today has a more complex relationship with (certain types of) animals than the analogy would capture. An analysis of this discourse both calls for and revises Foucault’s notion of ‘the dangerous individual’ as an explanatory concept for contemporary racism. The concomitant revulsion toward both dogfighting and ‘pit bulls’ suggests an expression of fear of a perceived threat to normative whiteness, insofar as these ‘dangerous’ dogs are figured as carriers of the contagion of racial abnormality.”

While breed restrictions are being removed around the country on account of them being ineffective, the disproportionate enforcement in communities of color, and adoption of BSL on account of Pit Bull breeds being “figured prominently in music videos and albums released by several major hip-hop artists in the past 20 years, including Jay-Z, DMX, and Bow Wow. Another hip-hop artist (Armando Christian Pérez) goes by the stage name ‘Pitbull’.”

What other cities in Colorado maintain Breed Restrictions?

None, Aurora is the last one to have it. Recent cities that have removed breed bans include Castle Rock, Greenwood Village, Centennial, Aurora, Denver, Louisville, Commerce City and more. No city who removed BSL (including Aurora) reported any spike in incidents. In fact, bite stats in Aurora from the last 3 years show a decrease in incident. 

Are pit bull jaws stronger than other breeds?

No, according to their size, they are on average with most other breeds of this size. Average pit bite PSI is 240 or less. Dog bite PSI severity by breed lists breeds that are often considered “Pit Bull” or Bully.

The “pound per square inch” (PSI) measure indicates the force of a dog’s bite. However, it’s important to note that bite strength can vary significantly within a breed based on the individual dog’s size, health, and temperament. Here is a list of approximate bite force (in PSI) for various dog breeds:

  1. Kangal – Around 743 PSI
  2. Bandog – Approximately 730 PSI
  3. Cane Corso – About 700 PSI
  4. Dogue de Bordeaux – Roughly 556 PSI
  5. Tosa Inu – Around 556 PSI
  6. English Mastiff – About 552 PSI
  7. Dogo Argentino – Approximately 500 PSI
  8. Leonberger – Roughly 399 PSI
  9. Rottweiler – About 328 PSI
  10. American Bulldog – Approximately 305 PSI
  11. German Shepherd – About 238 PSI
  12. Pit Bull – Approximately 235 PSI
  13. Dutch Shepherd – Roughly 224 PSI
  14. Chow Chow – About 220 PSI
  15. Malinois – Approximately 195 PSI

 

DATA+RESOURCES

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Breed Specific Legislation Review
March 2024

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Breed Specific Legislation Review
March 2024

Denver University BSL Study

The Impacts of the City and County of Denver’s Breed Legislation
2020

*Note – we are looking to build out this section as a comprehensive resource for BSL science and data! Check back as we will be updating this on 4/21/24