How do I know if BSL is going to be proposed in my city/county/state?
Usually, the earliest hint comes from a newspaper article about a serious dog attack or dog-related death, especially if a commonly-targeted breed or type of dog is involved. This is typically followed by Letters to the Editor or editorial columns proposing a breed ban.
If there’s enough public pressure to “do something,” BSL discussions may be put on the city council agenda. These discussions may or may not make the news. The smaller the town, the faster the discussions take place. BSL may be passed quickly, especially if there is no public objection (which may or may not be due to the lack of public awareness that the topic has even been proposed).
Occasionally, BSL is introduced at the start of a state legislative session. This may or may not make the news.
To watch for potential BSL, you can monitor:
- your local news media
- your city council agendas—these are usually posted several days before the council meeting, and most municipalities post their agendas online
- your state legislature’s introduced bills—go online to your legislature’s website and see if they have a bill tracking service; for instance, you can enter keyword “dog” and it will e-mail you whenever a bill with that keyword is introduced. Alternatively, you can do a bill keyword search by hand periodically throughout the legislative session.
Secondary sources of BSL alerts
BSL alerts may also circulate within various dog-related discussion groups. Look for Yahoo! Groups or Meetup Groups – Search for groups with keywords such as “dog law,” “dog legislation,” or “breed-specific legislation.” Check online breed forums and Facebook pages.
Currently there are a number of aggregator websites like StopBSL: websites that exist specifically to distribute information about breed-specific legislation. StopBSL sends out alerts via email, through Facebook, and through Twitter. Some other groups help share information by pulling and posting StopBSL’s feed on their websites.
Please remember that all of these aggregators and secondary sources rely on people like you to report BSL proposals. If we don’t hear about it, we can’t help you get the word out.
I confirmed BSL is being proposed—How Do I Spread the Word?
Important: Before raising the alarm, make sure you have confirmed the proposed BSL through a reliable source such as a newspaper, a post on a government website, or personal contact with legislators. Please do not rely on chain e-mails and other “friend of a friend” communications; these may be inaccurate or out of date.
Once you have confirmed that the alert is legitimate, it is critical to spread the word. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information.
Also contact other groups who will want to know about BSL: breed clubs (e.g. the AKC), animal welfare and rescue groups, and so on. Contact as many stakeholders as you can think of. Send them a link or a cut-and-paste copy of the newspaper article, the city council agenda, the proposed legislation, or whatever official material you can get your hands on.
After you are sure that the news has started to circulate, you can start fighting the proposed BSL: join a group, contact lawmakers, and make your opinion heard.
Next Page: Contact Your Lawmakers