Economic Impact – Breed-discriminatory Laws (BDL)

A Waste of Taxpayer Dollars


  • The American Veterinary Medical Association’s wide-ranging review of dog bite studies determined that BDL did not reduce dog bites or make communities safer.[1]
    • Hundreds of U.S. cities have repealed BDL after finding it was ineffective.[2] Similarly, BDL was determined to be unsuccessful in Spain and the U.K.[3],[4]
  • There are no studies or credible data supporting BDL.


  • Costs of BDL include:
  • Seizure and impoundment. Animal control officers must locate and remove alleged pit bull terriers.
  • Sheltering seized animals. Prince George’s County, MD spent roughly $570,000 in two years in kenneling costs after BDL.[5]
  • Euthanasia and disposal of the body.
  • Court fees.
    • When owners contest that that their pet is a pit bull terrier, the burden is on the city to prove otherwise. Typically, DNA testing is required.
    • Potential violation of the 14th
    • Conflicts with Americans with Disabilities Act. Disabled persons are entitled to service animals, including pit bull terriers. The Department of Justice mandates all public places allow service dogs regardless of breed.[6]

Poor use of limited resources:

  • Animal control officers are forced to divert scarce resources to tracking down and seizing dogs with no history of aggression. This leaves less time and money for dealing with actual dangerous dogs.
  • Resources spent regulating a breed decrease the time and money left over for enforcing laws that have been proven to reduce dog bites, like dog licensing, anti-tethering laws, and leash laws.


“Current Breed Specific ordinances have proven ineffective in reducing the number of pit bulls in

Topeka or the number of dog bites. Breed Specific Legislation, i.e. targeting a particular breed

such as American Pit Bull Terriers, has generally been discredited in actual experience of cities,

professionals and academic research as being both ineffective and expensive.”

 – City of Topeka, City Attorney’s Office[7]


[1] American Veterinary Medical Association: Animal Welfare Division. (2015). Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed.

[2] Madhani, A.(2014, November 18). U.S. Communities Increasingly Ditching Pit Bull Bans. USA Today.

[3] B. Rosado et al., Spanish: Dangerous Animals Act: Effect of the Epidemiology of Dog Bites, 2(5)JOURNAL OF VETERINARY BEHAVIOR 166-74 (2007).

[4] B. Klaassen, J.R. Buckley & A. Esmail, Does the Dangerous Dog Act Protect Against Animal Attacks: A Prospective Study of Mammalian Bites in the Accident and Emergency Department, 27(2) INJURY 89-91 (1996)

[5] Vicious Animal Legislation Task Force (2003)

[6] U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA.”

[7] City of Topeka, City Attorney’s Office, “Proposed Ordinance on Animal Cruelty and Dangerous Dogs.”



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