I love the internet. In many ways, I think the internet has helped level the playing field in the talks of BSL because we no longer need to have a multi-million dollar media outlet to tell our story and relay information. Thus, we don't have to rely on the media, which has often been biased on the subject.
Unfortunately, there is a con to this. The con is that on the internet, everyone gets more or less an equal voice -- regardless of their qualifications for being able to speak knowledgably about the subject.
And, unfortunately, it seems many Americans don't have the ability to discern good sources of information from bad ones -- including, at times, the media.
Last week, I stumbled across a terrifying and hilarious blog entitled "Literally Unbelievable". The blog essentially just pulls screen shots from facebook or twitter where people are believing, and commenting on articles published by The Onion. Now, I assume that most of my readers know about The Onion, but for those over-seas or whatever, the Onion is a Satire newspaper (now mostly website) that has been published in the United States since 1988. That's nearly 25 years of publishing satirical gems like how the American Public Hired a High-Powered Lobbyist to represent them in Washington DC.
And yet, when you read "Literally Unbelievable" you realize that many people are taking the 'news' published at the Onion as real news.
While the website clearly highlights the absurdities in not understanding what are meaningful opinions and sources, there are many more subtle examples that are more concerning.
Now, call me crazy, but I would consider an association of Veterinarians, in a sophisticated country like Australia, with a lot of research backing up their stance to be a reliable source on the topic.
Meanwhile, this paper joins many other similarly posted articles by experts in this country that similarly oppose breed-specific legislation because it is ineffective at inproving public safety. In fact, there is a completely lack of professional support from experts in the animal behavior for breed-specific laws.
BSL is not support by Lawyers -- who understand the legal wranglings of such laws -- as the American Bar Association has come out against the laws.
Dog trainers, who understand dog behavior more than anyone generally, don't support the laws -- as evidenced by position statements by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, International Association of Canine Professionals, and National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors.
Rescue organizations, many of whom handle hundreds, if not thousands of dogs each year, and have trained staffs of professionals, don't support Breed-specific laws either -- including major national organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, and American Humane.
Breed-specific laws are also not supported by the National Animal Control Association, or the American Veterinary Medical Association -- who has their own very good position paper on dog bite prevention.
Given all of these outstanding resources on what are appropriate responses to dog bite solutions - -and specifically calling out why breed-based laws are wrong, why are we still having the conversation about Breed Bans?
Why are people still citing newspaper articles as sources for effective legislation, or blogs written by annonymous writers, or websites created by people with no animal handling expertise or, Miss Universe Canada, as experts on the topic of dangerous dog laws?
Experts are experts. Science is science. And websites written by people who are not experts in the field they write about are not viable sources for information. Nor are people just because they're pretty.
So here's my call out to people in the public, and the media, please consider your sources. Deterimine who is or is not an expert, and report on what real, true, experts believe.