Breed-specific legislation

The wolfdog hybrid has been the center of much controversy for much of its history, and most breed-specific legislation is either the result of the animal's perceived danger or a categorization as protected native wildlife.[20] The Humane Society of the United States, the RSPCA, Ottawa Humane Society, the Dogs Trust and the Wolf Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission consider wolfdogs to be wild animals and therefore unsuitable as pets, and support an international ban on the private possession, breeding and sales of wolfdogs.[3][21][22] According to the National Wolfdog Alliance, 40 U.S. states effectively forbid the ownership, breeding and importation of wolfdogs, while others impose some form of regulation upon ownership.[23] In Canada, Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island prohibit wolfdogs as pets.[24] Most European nations either outlaw the animal entirely or put restrictions on ownership.[25][26] Wolfdogs were among the breeds banned from the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton and elsewhere after a fatal dog attack by a pit bull on a child.[27] Breed-specific legislation is a law passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds. Some jurisdictions have enacted breed-specific legislation in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds commonly used in dog fighting, and some government organizations such as the United States Army[1] and Marine Corps[2] have taken administrative action as well. This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs, to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally "dangerous" or "vicious." In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municipal governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation.[3] It is generally settled in case law that jurisdictions in the United States and Canada have the right to enact breed-specific legislation; however, the appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries is disputed.[4]

ne point of view is that certain dog breeds are a public safety issue that merits actions such as banning ownership, mandatory spay/neuter for all dogs of these breeds, mandatory microchip implants and liability insurance, or prohibiting people convicted of a felony from owning them.[5][6] Another point of view is that comprehensive "dog bite" legislation, coupled with better consumer education and legally mandating responsible pet keeping practices, is a better solution than breed-specific legislation to the problem of dangerous dogs.[7][8] A third point of view is that breed-specific legislation should not ban breeds entirely, but should strictly regulate the conditions under which specific breeds could be owned, e.g., forbidding certain classes of individuals from owning them, specifying public areas in which they would be prohibited, and establishing conditions, such as requiring a dog to wear a muzzle, for taking dogs from specific breeds into public places.[9] Finally, some governments, such as that of Australia, have forbidden the import of specific breeds and are requiring the spay/neuter of all existing dogs of these breeds in an attempt to eliminate the population slowly through natural attrition. In Cochrane v. Ontario (Attorney General), 2007 CanLII 9231 (ON S.C.), Ms. Catherine Cochrane sued the Province of Ontario to prevent it from enforcing the Dog Owner's Liability Act (DOLA) ban on pit bull-type dogs, arguing that the law was unconstitutionally broad because the ban was grossly disproportionate to the risk pit bulls pose to public safety, and that the law was unconstitutionally vague because failed to provide an intelligible definition of pit bulls. She also argued that a provision allowing the Crown to introduce as evidence a veterinarianís certificate certifying that the dog is a pit bull violates the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. The presiding judge ruled that the DOLA was not overbroad because, "The evidence with respect to the dangerousness of pit bulls, although conflicting and inconclusive, is sufficient, in my opinion, to constitute a 'reasoned apprehension of harm'. In the face of conflicting evidence as to the feasibility of less restrictive means to protect the public, it was open to the legislature to decide to restrict the ownership of all pit bulls."