Saturday, September 10, 2011

BSL Scholarship

Our collective attitude toward our animal companions began to change with the publication of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation in 1975. The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 and animal law courses are currently taught in over a hundred law schools in the US.

SRUV recently reviewed the scholarship related to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL); we've included a brief bibliography below and more titles can be viewed here and in the relevant scholarly and legal databases.

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Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won't Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma; Hussain, Safia Gray. 74 Fordham Law Review 2847

Canine Profiling: Does Breed-Specific Legislation Take a Bite out of Canine Crime; Pratt, Heather K. 108 Penn State Law Review 855

Dangerous Dog Laws: Failing to Give Man's Best Friend a Fair Shake at Justice; McNeely, Cynthis A.; Linquist, Sarah A. 3 J. Animal L. 99

Panic Policy Making: Canine Breed Bans in Canada and the United States; Hunter, Susan; Brisbin, Richard A. Prepared for delivery at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association.

Dog Bite Injury: an investigation into the effectiveness of regulation, Watson, Linda (Thesis)

Pit Bull Bans and the Human Factors Affecting Canine Behavior; Medlin, Jamey; 56 Depaul Law Review, 1285

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SRUV will not characterize all animal law scholarship, but a look at one paper is illuminating. The following paragraph serves as the opening of Irrationality Unleashed: The Pitfalls of Breed-Specific Legislation (Swann, Kristen E.  78 UMKC L. Rev. 839). The Introduction is titled A Tale of Two "Pitties" and begins:
A young woman struggles with an overfull trash bag in a chilly, hissing rain. Hefting the bag into the trash bin behind her apartment building, she hears weak but insistent mewling. Seven impossibly tiny puppies huddle in the wet detritus behind the container. The woman whistles several times to summon the pups' mother. No dog appears. The listless dogs cannot survive in the damp cold. She retrieves a basket lined with towels from her apartment and . . . . 
This three-hankie tear-jerker qualified for the Law Review?

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What is immediately apparent is the mind-numbing tedium of so much of the research on this subject.  It is almost as if the scholars are repeating the same ideas to one another, over and over. This selection of titles, and the excerpt above, do not inspire confidence in current animal law scholarship.

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Related Material:
Related post: Dangerous Dog LawsDDL
See also: Bioethics (Wikipedia)

Overview of "breed specific" laws, Kenneth Phillips, Dog Bite Law

Statistics on SRUV are from the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here. This page may also include information from Dogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Information on euthanasia rates is from Pit bulls and Political Recklessness, by Merritt Clifton. Shelter  intake and euthanasia rates are published annually in the July/August edition of Animal People.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks