Breed Discrimination and What It Means for Dogs and Owners
Dog lovers should be aware of the acronym BSL, or breed-specific legislation. It is specific to certain types of dogs, discriminating based on appearance and a perception of being dangerous.
According to the article, “Ending dog breed discrimination against pit bull terriers and other dogs,” at BestFriends.org, BSL is not a correct term in that the “laws target dogs not because they are a specific breed, but because someone thinks they may look like a certain breed. And even if dogs may look alike, it doesn’t mean they will behave the same way.”
It is assumed that certain breeds “are more prone to attacking and biting, though this is a misconception,” the article said. The most affected breed of BSL is the “pit bull” terrier. By spreading inaccuracies of a breed, fear is easily spread to the public. Hence, “BSL is often enacted to ease fears over public safety, but these laws are ineffective and very costly.”
Although pit bulls have been singled out, other affected breeds include American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, German shepherds, etc., including dogs resembling these breeds, according to the article, “Breed-Specific Legislation,” at the ASPCA.org.
“There is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals,” the ASPCA article said. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has opposed the legislation following an in-depth study of fatalities that resulted from dog bites.
There are numerous consequences of BSL, the ASPCA article said. Those who suffer include:
• Dogs whose owners may attempt to “hide” their dogs.
• Owners who may be unable to find housing.
• The public whereby the laws, “compromise rather than enhance public safety.”
Alternatives to BSL include enforcement of dog license laws, better availability of low-cost spay/neuter, and breed-neutral laws that focus on individual dogs and their guardians.
Fostering provides essential “temporary care to shelter animals who, for a variety of reasons, need to live in a home environment prior to adoption,” according to the article, “What is pet fostering?” at Petsforpatriots.org.
Shelters and rescue organizations are often overcrowded and in need of temporary homes until permanent placement is found for animals who have been:
A temporary foster home “helps relieve overcrowding and reduces an animal’s stress by providing a temporary and supportive sanctuary while it awaits permanent adoption,” the article said.
Additionally, for people in emergency situations fostering provides a temporary place to house their pets. “And deploying military personnel may need temporary yet long-term pet care if they don’t have friends or family members who are able to make a commitment for the duration of their deployments,” the article said.
After you decide to foster, make sure to buy everything the pet will need, according to the article “So, You Want to Become a Pet Foster Parent?” at Petful.com. “In some cases this may be provided for you, but it’s always good to prepare yourself in case there are no materials or reimbursement included.”
Make inquiries with shelters to decide which organizations need fosters. If you already have pets, be sure to consider them as well. “Introducing a new animal or species can be confusing or spark a territory war between existing pets, so the shelter’s recommendation of keeping a separate area for your foster pet is an important one,” the Petful article said.
In the end, you will have helped an animal before she goes to a permanent home, or you may become one of many “foster failures” who end up adopting the pet yourself. Either way, it’s a win-win.
How TNR Helps the Feral Cats in Neighborhoods
You may have seen free-roaming cats in and around your neighborhood, and you are not alone. Sometimes, the cats you see have owners who allow them to roam, sometimes they are lost, and oftentimes they are feral or free-roaming cats living in communities.
In order to keep the free-roaming cat population down, there is TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Return.
TNR is humane, safe and effective. “TNR improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle,” according to the article, “Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) saves lives” at Alley Cat Allies. Across the country, many cities are implementing TNR, which enables humans and these outdoor cats to co-exist, the article said. The programs help to stabilize these cat populations.
According to the article, the TNR program is one where
• Community cats are trapped humanely using box traps.
• Cats are then brought to a veterinarian for spay/neuter.
• The cats are vaccinated and ear-tipped, which is “the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated.”
• Cats are then returned to the outdoor area where they live.
This management technique to help free-roaming homeless cats “is a humane, non-lethal alternative to the trap-and-kill method of controlling cat populations,” according to the article, “Frequently Asked Questions About TNR,” at BestFriends.org.
People throughout the country volunteer to provide food, shelter and water for these cats. Some kittens and friendlier cats are sometimes able to be taken from colonies, socialized and actually placed in homes. That coupled with the end of breeding is extremely effective.
“In the long term, TNR lowers the numbers of cats in the community more effectively than trap-and-kill,” according to BestFriends.org. Other benefits include the promotion of public health due to vaccinated cats, improving lives of the cats due to sterilization and reducing admission to shelters.