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What is meant by “breed-specific” dog bite laws, and why does the American Bar Association oppose these laws?

Some people believe that certain breeds of dogs are more dangerous than others and should be regulated or banned. Laws that apply only to certain breeds of dogs are known as “breed-specific” laws.

In Wisconsin, breed-specific dog bite laws usually target Pit Bulls and closely related breeds, such as American Pit Bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, English Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, and American Bulldogs. However, breed-specific laws may include Mastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, and any mix of these breeds. In some cases, breed-specific laws are written to also include dogs that resemble these breeds.

According to the American Human Society, there is no evidence that breed-specific laws prevent dog attacks. Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have stated that when certain dog breeds are regulated, those who want vicious dogs train other, unregulated breeds to become aggressive.

There is another unintended consequence of breed-specific laws. Instead of giving up their pets, some owners hide dogs belonging to regulated breeds. These dogs miss out on outdoor exercise and socialization. They are not given regular veterinary care. They are not spayed or neutered, and they are not licensed or microchipped. Hiding the dogs hurts both the dogs’ welfare and public safety.

The American Bar Association encourages laws that help prevent Wisconsin dog bites and enhance public safety. These include leash laws, dog licensing laws, anti-tethering laws, and the banning of animal fights. They also encourage the passage of dangerous dog laws. These laws penalize owners of vicious dogs, regardless of breed.

Only a handful of cities in Wisconsin still have breed-specific dog bite laws. These cities include Milwaukee. If you are bitten by a dog in Wisconsin, it is important that your Milwaukee dog bite attorney have experience with both state and local dog bite laws. The attorneys at Hupy and Abraham have that experience and will fight to get you all the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.

 
Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham