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Copyright (c) 2011 Journal of Animal Law and Ethics
Journal of Animal Law & Ethics

ARTICLE: BREED DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION: HOW DNA WILL REMEDY THE UNFAIRNESS

May, 2011

Journal of Animal Law & Ethics

4 J. Animal L. & Ethics 161

Author

KATIE BRAY BARNETT

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Breed Discriminatory Legislation (BDL) is any legislation that regulates or prohibits dogs based solely on breed. In a city with BDL, if a citizen is found in possession of what city officials identify as a targeted breed, the dog is typically seized and impounded by the city. The breed identification made by animal control officers is used as the primary evidence in municipal court cases or administrative hearing to enforce the ordinance. 1 But how does the city determine the dogs breed?

Breed discriminatory ordinances typically rely on the physical characteristics listed in the American Kennel Club ("AKC") and United Kennel Club ("UKC") breed standard such as ear height and size, head size and shape, jaw structure, tail length, coat color and coat length. 2 Although breed discriminatory ordinances rely on AKC breed standards, the AKC opposes breed bans and the use of AKC standards as a means to identify dangerous dogs. Margaret Poindexter, AKC General Counsel, has said "Breed standards are intended to serve as the written ideal of a dog which breeders can aspire to, not a benchmark for defining dangerous dogs." 3

In the case of a mixed-breed dog, the "predominant breed" is determined by animal control personnel, and in some instances a municipal veterinarian. 4 However, there is a lack of standardized training in dog breed identification for city officials, and even veterinarians. Animal control officers rarely have to attend breed identification training classes and many ...
 
 
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