Every now and again, when a significant dog attack happens, city or state officials will rush out to try to "fix the problem" (usually there is no major problem, the incident was isolated or could have been prevented, and they are just embarking on panic-policy-making) by puting the idea of targeting laws toward specific breeds of dogs on the table.
Often times, they'll try to justify the targeting of specific breeds by noting that other communities are doing it.
But really, are they?
The trend is actually going in the exact opposite direction.
Yesterday, Tennessee HB 621 was pulled from its subcommittee. The bill was initially designed to target particular breeds of dogs, but after hearing from experts in the state, the bill was pulled only 5 days after being introduce.
Earlier this year, a similar bill was introduced in Rhode Island -- however, it too was later pulled and replaced with HB 5671 which would actually PROHIBIT communities in the state from targeting breeds of dogs.
Meanwhile, the state of Oklahoma already has banned local cities from enacting breed-specific laws, and a bill there to overturn this was quickly pulled when there was so much opposition toward it.
The same thing is happening on a local level. Earlier this week, Royal Oak, MI briefly considered targeting specific breeds but after hearing from residents and local experts have wisely decided to work on breed-neutral legislation that targets dogs based on their behavior, not their looks.
Lansing, MI made a similar decision last night as well.
Meanwhile, many cities who have already made rash decisions and are seeking to overturn those decisions. Springfield, MO is one of those communities, as they are currently exploring options to overturn their breed-specific law that was passed in 2005.
As councilwoman Mary Collette notes: "Perhaps not looking at having our ordinance be breed-specific in any way but we could have it be vicious animal specific whihc is really what we're trying to get at anyway. That is really how you are going to reduce the bites and damage. We're hoping we can bring our ordinances in line with what is a little more prgoressive actually more productive in curbing animal attacks and bites."
And in the current landscape, this is what the majority of states and cities are doing -- focusing their limited animal control budgets and resources on the dogs (and owners) who have shown themselves to be more dangerous THROUGH THEIR BEHAVIOR, not their look. And as these politicians look at best practices throughout the country, and talk to experts in their community, they are overwhelmingly choosing behavior-based animal control laws.
This is, in reality, what "everybody" is doing.