Category Archives: Administrative

Announcement: Exciting Changes at StopBSL

I can’t believe that it’s been seven years since I created StopBSL—and five years since I started tracking and posting daily BSL alerts. What an amazing ride it has been!

Today, StopBSL has hundreds of subscribers to our alert e-mails. Thousands of people have clicked “like” on our Facebook page. I’ve tracked and posted alerts for well over 350 different municipalities in the U.S. alone. I’ve followed along with excitement as entire states repealed or prohibited BSL within their borders.

The StopBSL community is incredibly active, thoughtful, and devoted. I am both proud and thankful to have been a part of this community for the past seven years. I am also grateful for the smart advice and guidance that I have received from other prominent advocates in this arena.

Thank you ALL for sharing the StopBSL alerts; for getting involved and staying involved in your community; and for standing together to fight for equality, safety, and justice for all.

I must also thank my husband. For fourteen years, my husband has been working long hours—so that I could follow my passions, pursue three college degrees, foster dogs with medical needs, and spend a significant part of every day working diligently on StopBSL. He is a truly generous man, and I’m grateful every day for the opportunities I have had because he was covering the bills for the both of us.

It’s only fair that I return the favor, of course. So, today, I begin my own high-powered career with long hours, so that my husband can pursue his own dreams for a while. To focus on my new career, I have made the difficult decision to step down from StopBSL. However, StopBSL will continue! The StopBSL community has an important mission to prevent and repeal BSL, until BSL no longer exists.

Therefore, I am thrilled to announce that Pit Bulletin Legal News will be taking the helm at StopBSL. It is an ideal fit, since PBLN has knowledge and experience that will improve the quality of the information that StopBSL provides. I wish to thank PBLN for stepping up to take on such a large project as StopBSL, and for continuing the site’s tradition of timely, informative, and high-quality information flow!

I am excited to join all of you as another member of the ever-growing StopBSL community. Thank you all for so many years of support. Let’s keep working together to stop BSL!

—J. Thomas

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StopBSL needs volunteers!

StopBSL is looking for a few smart, reliable volunteers in the Austin (TX) area to

  • track issues
  • write alerts
  • answer questions
  • moderate our public forums

Why?

Until now, StopBSL has been run entirely by one person (me) and two occasional helpers. Historically the duties have been manageable, but times are changing! Many more areas are considering or repealing BSL, so I have been tracking and posting about issues more frequently and in greater quantity. Also, the StopBSL community is growing (woo hoo!), necessitating an increase in moderating and responding to public inquiries.

And finally, in two weeks, I move into an exciting new career that involves travel, long hours, and very limited free time. I really need some helpers who can fill in for me while I establish my career. I’d like to take this opportunity to assemble a feisty group of BSL fighters who can grow the StopBSL site and mission.

Who?

I’m looking for folks who can

  • commit to frequent and routine interactions with the website and social media.
  • fact-check and assess credibility of information.
  • write concise audience-focused text (including good grammar/spelling and careful, persuasive word choices).
  • stay focused on our mission and purpose.

It’s a plus if you already know the following, but these are things you will learn over time as you volunteer with StopBSL:

  • Basic lawmaking processes and mechanics
  • Blogging, Facebook, and other social media
  • Tracking a million issues at once

Where and When?

I’d like to stick with Austin-area volunteers so that I can provide in-person training and support, hold occasional meetings, and hopefully retain talent for long periods of time! I intend to hold the first meeting/training session within the next week or two, depending on responses.

Much of your actual work, however, is easily done with a computer, and you can do it anywhere—your house, the local coffee shop, or even your workplace, if they allow it—and any time.

How?

If you’d like to volunteer with StopBSL, or if you have questions about volunteering, please send an email to stopbsl.org@gmail.com!

Please help me find talent by telling all your Austin-area friends! Thank you—You’re an incredible community!

StopBSL Recap 2011

Happy New Year! Here are some of the stories and alerts StopBSL covered in 2011. It was a busy year. Many thanks to all of you who have participated in public dialogue, communicated with elected officials, spread the word about breed-specific proposals, and worked diligently to stop BSL! With your help and support, we’re looking forward to a successful 2012.

Rough count / overview:

  • BSL Repealed = 6
  • BSL Rejected = 34
  • BSL Proposals that Died Quietly = 17
  • Repeal Proposals that Did Not Pass = 8
  • New BSL Passed = 12
  • BSL Revised Slightly = 15

BSL Repealed

  1. Bay County, MI
  2. Overland, MO
  3. Cleveland, OH (although breed-specific state law still applies)
  4. Moses Lake, WA
  5. Vienna, WV
  6. Canada, BC, Cumberland

BSL Proposals Rejected

  1. Montgomery, AL – this news media-driven push for BSL ended with breed-neutral revisions to the dog ordinance
  2. Jasper, AL – the mayor requested a breed ban and a committee recommended BSL, but city council rejected the proposal and asked for a breed-neutral ordinance instead
  3. Haskell, AR – council proposed a breed ban, but a public hearing generated too much opposition for council to ignore
  4. Santa Clara County, CA – considered breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter. The proposal was officially rejected in May 2011 after the Animal Advisory Committee recommended against it.
  5. Cypress, CA – considered breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter. The council rejected the idea in January 2011.
  6. Petaluma, CA – a committee considered and voted against breed-specific MSN
  7. Sonoma, CA – a councilmember wanted BSL, but the council decided against it
  8. Hayden, CO – a resident requested BSL, but council dropped the idea, probably due to state law prohibiting BSL
  9. Bristol, CT – confusing media coverage and unclear statements from a councilmember led to a massive public outcry against a possible breed ban. Council quickly backed off the idea.
  10. Lisbon, IA – council proposed a breed ban, then tabled it after public opposition
  11. Illinois HB 1080 – this statewide bill would have repealed the state law that prohibits municipalities from passing BSL. It died in committee.
  12. Morton, IL – a resident requested BSL for “dangerous breeds,” but the council introduced a breed-neutral ordinance in January 2011
  13. Gardner, KS – a councilmember asked for a breed ban, but the council voted against it
  14. Terrebonne Parish, LA – a councilmember suggested BSL, but the final revisions to their dog ordinance were breed-neutral
  15. Dartmouth, MA – the select board decided against BSL
  16. Charles County, MD – BSL was proposed, but after a work session and some heavy public outcry, the revised proposal was breed-neutral
  17. Michigan HB 4714 – the committee chair declined to hear a proposed statewide ban on “pit bulls,” so the proposal is basically dead
  18. Buchanan, MI – a resident requested BSL, but the council decided against passing any new laws
  19. Egelston Township, MI – the board proposed and ultimately rejected BSL
  20. Wyoming, MI – after a resident requested BSL, the police chief and city manager publicly stated that the city would not pursue BSL
  21. Fulton, MO – although a resident suggested BSL, the resulting proposed ordinance was breed-neutral
  22. Butte-Silver Bow, MT – a councilmember’s repeated submitted proposals for BSL were voted down by the rest of council
  23. Waxhaw, NC – the media reported a public call for a breed ban, but the ordinance introduced by council was breed-neutral
  24. Smithville, OH – the council dropped a breed ban after public outcry
  25. Oklahoma SB 362 – this statewide bill would have repealed the state law that prohibits municipalities from passing BSL. It died in committee.
  26. Aberdeen, SD – after starting out with a proposal to regulate “pit bulls,” council eventually passed a breed-neutral ordinance, and rejected two breed-specific amendments to that ordinance
  27. Madison, SD – although council initially considered BSL, the revised proposal was breed-neutral
  28. Taylorsville, UT – a very “pit bull”-focused council meeting and work session ended with the city stating publicly that they would not pursue a breed ban
  29. Friday Harbor, WA – after a resident requested BSL, council voted against the proposal in a narrow vote of 3-2
  30. Vancouver, WA – what started as a “pit bull” ban eventually become breed-neutral
  31. West Virginia HB 3080 – this statewide bill was poorly written and would have both prohibited BSL and declared all “pit bulls” to be dangerous dogs. It died in committee.
  32. Marinette, WI – the council proposed a breed ban, did more research, discussed, and ultimately decided against a ban
  33. Canada, BC, Port Moody – the council declined to propose BSL despite resident’s request
  34. Canada, MB, Springfield – ban discussed by residents, but rejected by council

BSL Proposals that Fizzled Out

These proposals for BSL lost steam after a while. In most cases, officials just stopped talking about it. We don’t believe any of these proposals passed.

  1. Ventura County, CA – the animal shelter director’s proposal for breed-specific MSN never gained traction with county commissioners
  2. Hamden, CT – after some residents asked for a breed ban, city officials said they would look into it, but the city never discussed it again
  3. Savannah, GA – a resident started a petition for BSL and the news media went crazy, but city council never took up the issue
  4. Elkader, IA – BSL was briefly considered, but the city eventually stopped talking about animal ordinance revisions altogether
  5. Glidden, IA – a resident asked the city to consider BSL
  6. Hopkinton, IA – after a fatal attack by a Rottweiler, the mayor suggested banning Rottweilers (“pit bulls” are already banned, for all the good it did), but in the end, the council decided against it
  7. Marshalltown, IA – a resident asked the city to reinstate a breed ban, but so far it appears the city isn’t interested
  8. Mission Hills, KS – already had BSL for “pit bulls” and intended to add Rottweilers, but later decided against the idea
  9. New Bedford, MA – although a councilmember continues to push for BSL, the proposal seems to be going nowhere
  10. Ecorse, MI – although the city reported having trouble enforcing their “pit bull” ban, and said it was thinking about loosening the ban, nothing seems to have come of the idea
  11. Ellenville, NY – although the council wanted to pass BSL, the city attorney advised that BSL was not allowed in New York
  12. Shelby, NC – a councilmember suggested BSL, but the city did not discuss the issue again
  13. Union County, NC – a county commissioner called for BSL, but no further action seems to have been taken
  14. Bristol Borough, PA – although a councilmember pushed for BSL and council was considering it, the proposal quietly died
  15. Springfield, TN – council intended to add to their current BSL, but later tabled the idea
  16. Cornell, WI – dog ordinance discussions included debate for and against BSL, but in the end, no ordinance was drawn up
  17. Waukesha, WI – an alderman suggested BSL, but the city never moved forward with the idea

BSL Repeals that Failed to Pass

Sadly, these proposals to repeal BSL did not survive.

  1. Idaho S1143 – bill would have made it illegal for municipalities to pass BSL. Made it through the state Senate but missed a deadline in the House and died.
  2. Preston, ID – city council voted against repeal of BSL
  3. Nevada AB324 – this bill would have prohibited muncipalities from passing BSL, but the bill died
  4. Kearney, MO – despite a resident’s request to repeal the city’s breed ban, the city council voted against repeal
  5. Springfield, MO – the city considered a repeal of BSL, but the idea did not gain traction
  6. Ohio HB 25 – an early draft repealed statewide BSL, but a later draft did not (but that’s okay, because HB 14 is still in action)
  7. Oacoma, SD – declined to repeal breed ban
  8. Canada, BC, Castlegar – city briefly considered repeal of BSL

New BSL Passed

  1. Air Force base housing – breed ban passed
  2. Barstow, CA – breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter passed
  3. Fontana, CA – breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter passed
  4. Franklin, KY – breed-specific restrictions passed
  5. Patterson, LA – breed-specific restrictions passed
  6. Lowell, MA – breed-specific restrictions passed
  7. Saginaw, MI – breed-specific restrictions passed
  8. Webb City, MO – breed ban passed
  9. Union, MS – breed ban passed
  10. Kenton, TN – breed-specific restrictions passed
  11. China, Shanghai – long list of breeds banned
  12. Malaysia, Subang Jaya – breed ban passed

BSL Revised (Still BSL)

  1. Lake City, AR – breeds added to breed ban
  2. Trumann, AR – moved from BSL to breed ban
  3. Aurora, CO – repealed BSL for all restricted breeds except “pit bulls”
  4. College Park, GA – revised breed-specific restrictions
  5. Seward County, KS – repealed a breed ban, then passed breed restrictions
  6. Hazel Park, MI – added breed ban on new “pit bulls” to current BSL
  7. Camdenton, MO – city removed the grandfather clause from breed ban
  8. Greenville, MS – passed stricter BSL
  9. New Albany, MS – added breed ban on new “pit bulls” to current BSL
  10. Oakwood, OH – created a new vicious dog ordinance that uses state law to define “vicious dog”
  11. Xenia, OH – breeds added to BSL. Language also appears to create a breed ban.
  12. Australia – several states in Australia have instituted stricter BSL that amounts to a breed ban
  13. Canada, BC, Ladysmith – city added Canine Good Citizen exemption to BSL
  14. Denmark – 12 breeds added to “watchlist” to be potentially added to breed ban
  15. New Zealand – Presa Canario added to import ban list of breeds

Still on the Watchlist

These are some of the issues we will be monitoring into 2012.

  1. Trussville, AL – breed ban proposed
  2. Florida HB 997 / SB 1322 – would repeal BSL in Miami-Dade County (and anywhere else it has been grandfathered in)
  3. Fairburn, GA – council discussion about possible breed ban
  4. Hinesville, GA – council to “look into” BSL after resident request
  5. Donnellson, IA – council considering breed ban
  6. Mason City, IA – suggested breed ban
  7. Hobart, IN – councilwoman suggested fee to own “dangerous breeds”
  8. Waterville, ME – police chief says he will draft BSL (would violate state law)
  9. Lake Saint Louis, MO – ordinance rewording would allow ACO to consider breed when determining dangerous dog
  10. Slater, MO – council considering BSL
  11. Wentzville, MO – resident group requesting repeal of BSL
  12. Tupelo, MS – may add breeds to current “pit bull” BSL
  13. Ohio HB 14 – would repeal state-level BSL
  14. Parma, OH – citizens request repeal of breed ban (but it doesn’t seem to have gained traction in council)
  15. Chippewa Falls, WI – some talk about BSL (though it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere)
  16. Canada, Ontario – bill would repeal breed ban
  17. U.K. – bill would repeal nationwide BSL

Unknown Outcomes

These are open cities, states, or countries that we are unable to monitor or determine what came of the proposal. If you have any updates for these, please send us an email at stopbsl.com@gmail.com.

  1. Porterdale, GA – news reported that council would discuss BSL or a breed ban during a work session
  2. Merrillville, IN – the city was considering adding “Staffordshire Terrier” to definition of “pit bull”
  3. Junction City, KY – the police chief reported that residents were asking for a breed ban
  4. Ridgely, MD – the city was considering adding breeds and restrictions to its current BSL Outcome established (see city link)
  5. Burton, MI – the city was going to consider Saginaw’s BSL as a possible model for their own dog ordinance
  6. Manton, MI – news reported breed ban in the works
  7. Canada, AB, Grande Prairie – news reported possible repeal of BSL
  8. Canada, AB, Wetaskiwin – news reported resident requesting BSL
  9. Canada, MB, Winnipeg – citizen group was working to repeal BSL
  10. Canada, NS, Halifax – councillor called for BSL or breed ban
  11. Canada, NS, Yarmouth – BSL proposed
  12. Canada, QC, Montreal, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough – Mayor suggests BSL or breed ban
  13. Canada, QC, Montreal, Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough – Borough plans to muzzle “pit bulls”
  14. Lithuania – government drafting breed ban
  15. Norway – Govt officials discuss possible repeal of BSL
  16. Trinidad and Tobago – BSL already in place; govt intends to revise

New at StopBSL: Find a Local Group

“Is there a local group I can join to stop proposed BSL in my town?”
“Is anyone else trying to get this law repealed?”
“How do I find other people near me who want to stop BSL here?”

StopBSL gets this kind of question frequently—and until now, we’ve relied on memory, post comments, and Google Search to provide an answer.

We would like to invite you to help us create a list of local groups (and individuals) that are focusing their efforts on a particular breed-specific law in a particular municipality, state, or region.

If you

  • want to start a local group to oppose a breed-specific proposal or law in your area
  • or know about or are part of a local group that is opposing a breed-specific proposal or law in your area
  • and want your neighbors to join you in opposition to a local breed-specific proposal or law

please fill out this short form so that we can add your group to our public list.

As the list grows, you and I can quickly refer interested individuals to this list so they can find and join local opposition to BSL. A well-organized and vocal community group is an invaluable tool for fighting local BSL—they can attend council and board meetings, contact local news media, educate the community, and more.

The list of local groups can be found here. (Since we’ve only just started gathering data, please be aware that this list is basically empty right now. We hope it will fill up quickly!)

Please share this new resource with your fellow BSL opponents! The more groups we can add to the list, the easier it will be for people to find and get involved directly in their community.

StopBSL interview on blog radio

Thanks very much to Glo from Stories of Multiple Pets for giving StopBSL the opportunity to talk about BSL on her show!

If you would like to listen to the show, go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/a-variety-of-pets/2010/10/21/bsl-a-hot-topic

Seeking Assistants (Writers and Non-Writers)

Stop BSL is now seeking some volunteers (both writers and non-writers) to help with both static pages and daily posts. Currently I’m running multiple websites singlehandedly (and all on a volunteer basis, not as a job) and I need more hands! If you’re interested in getting involved but not sure how, I hope you will consider becoming an assistant at Stop BSL.

Writers

If you are a good researcher, writer, and editor, Stop BSL can use your talents to produce and maintain static pages. This would involve generating new content and occasionally reviewing and updating old content within the static pages only (not daily posts).

There are a number of planned static pages that need well-researched, well-written content, such as a page that describes the highlights and flaws of various BSL-related scientific studies. As with all content generation, this will require a lot of work all at once, and after that point it can be left alone, for the most part.

Additionally, the pages that already exist will need to be reviewed and updated from time to time to ensure accuracy. This does not need to be done frequently and in most cases will not require extra research or large amounts of new content.

Writers need to be able to do the following:

  • Thoroughly research a topic with an open mind.
  • Support one’s argument with facts and citations.
  • Evaluate the credibility of a source and be willing to discard any source that does not seem reliable.
  • Write clearly and concisely. The writing style and tone for Stop BSL is not strictly formal, but it is authoritative.
  • Copyedit.

Non-Writers

If you can copy and paste text, you can help with daily posts. Stop BSL would like to start posting BSL alerts and BSL-related news on a regular basis.

Non-writers monitor BSL Alert mailing lists, news alerts, and websites for proposed BSL and BSL-related news articles. They then post a summary or an excerpt from the article and appropriate links on the Stop BSL site. It doesn’t require any creative writing; just copy a little of the source article and paste it into the post box.

This volunteer position requires dedication, awareness of current events, and a willingness to participate frequently.

Note for Both Writers and Non-Writers

In keeping with the goals and values of Stop BSL, and for the sake of consistency and quality of the site, I would like to work very closely with volunteers to make sure material is appropriate and well-written. I will produce guidelines for volunteers to use when writing pages or gathering info for posts.

Familiarity with WordPress or other blog is a big plus but is not necessary. In fact, if you’re a bit intimidated by the idea of working on a website, let me assure you that this requires absolutely NO knowledge of HTML or any sort of computer coding. It is a very easy system to learn, and I am happy to help you get started; before long, you’ll be posting like a pro.

Your assistance will be invaluable for site visitors to get the information they need. There is great power in numbers.

If this sounds like a project you would like to be involved with, please send me an email at stopbsl.com@gmail.com.