Category Archives: Studies

Australia: Medical journal editorial calls for education, not breed bans

An editorial (note it is not a study, though it does cite studies to support its argument) in the Medical Journal of Australia says that breed bans in other countries have not improved public safety. Rather, the editorial authors are of the opinion that better dog safety education for children would help reduce dog bites.

We agree that child education is one excellent component for creating a safer community. Teaching dog owners about their responsibilities is another important component.

The editorial may be read here at the original source:

Listen to an audio news report (with transcript) from the Australian Broadcasting Company here:

The Herald Sun has a more critical article, with a rebuttal quote from State Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, and a disappointing comment from KidSafe Victoria president Robert Caulfield that he doesn’t think educating children will work:

View all StopBSL postings on Australia:

New study explains why BSL doesn’t work

The National Canine Research Council explains the results of the new study. You can view the full discussion here:

For example, in order to prevent a single hospitalization resulting from a dog bite, the authors calculate that a city or town would have to ban more than 100,000 dogs of a targeted breed. To prevent a second hospitalization, double that number. Dog-bite related fatalities are so extremely rare that not even a state could ban enough dogs to insure that they had prevented even one.

You can purchase the complete study from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
October 1, 2010, Vol. 237, No. 7, Pages 788-792
doi: 10.2460/javma.237.7.788

Use of a number-needed-to-ban calculation to illustrate limitations of breed-specific legislation in decreasing the risk of dog bite–related injury

Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD; Margaret Slater, DVM, PhD; Amy Marder, VMD
Center for Shelter Dogs, Animal Rescue League of Boston. 10 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116. (Patronek, Marder); American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1717 S Philo Rd, Ste 36, Urbana, IL 61802. (Slater)
Address correspondence to Dr. Patronek (

Breed Identification: New articles and an interactive quiz

By definition, breed-specific legislation requires dogs’ breeds or mixes to be identified. Breed-specific laws are usually written to affect a dog based on that dog’s appearance.

But DNA testing that identifies a dog’s breed or breeds (a science still in its infancy) has shown that visual assessment of a dog’s breed or mix is often incorrect.

The result, of course, is that many dogs that do not possess any of the regulated breeds’ DNA may nevertheless be swept up in BSL simply because they are unlucky enough to have inherited a basic appearance that is considered typical of a regulated breed.

Here are some recent articles about this dilemma, plus an interesting interactive quiz.

The greatest dog breeds you only think you know

Canine Quiz: Can you match the dog to its ancestry? (interactive quiz)

Beagle or Bichon: Can dog drool provide insight?

Think you know a dog’s DNA? Think again

Boulder, CO: Boulder takes a bite out of bad dog behavior

Boulder takes a bite out of bad dog behavior

By Jared Jacang Maher
Published on September 23, 2009 at 12:11pm
Westword News

[…] After getting a job at an advertising firm, James decided to ditch the Mile High City for Boulder, which has no pit bull ban. He moved into a pet-friendly apartment and discovered that six other people in the building owned pit bulls, too. “And three of them said they’d also moved out of Denver because of the ban,” he says.

Boulder officials say they have no reliable count of how many dogs there are in the city, let alone pit bulls. In 2008, Boulder’s animal-control division recorded 207 dog bites; 9 were reported to have come from pit bulls. The numbers were similar in the three years prior. And Boulder hasn’t had a fatal dog attack in at least thirty years. Because what it does have is a muscular dangerous-dog law and a unique bite-diversion program that teaches owners how to control aggressive behavior in their dogs in order to prevent future bites.

[…] An aggressive-dog ordinance is far more effective than a breed ban, Teague says.[…]

Full article retrieved 9/24/09 from

Denver, CO: Excellent article examining pit bull ban

There is an excellent article in Denver Westword News about the Denver breed ban. It is too lengthy to reprint here. Please follow the link; it is well worth the read.

For two decades, pit bulls have been public enemy #1 in Denver. But maybe it’s time for a recount.

A photo tour of Denver’s “pit bull death row” accompanies the article.

Inside Denver’s “Pit Bull Row”