January 15, 2001

 
EXECUTIVE BOARD COVERAGE

 Board approves letter to WVA opposing canine breed-specific initiatives

Posted Jan. 1, 2001

The Executive Board approved a recommendation to send a letter to the World Veterinary Association expressing the AVMA's opposition to canine breed-specific initiatives.

The Committee on the Human-Animal Bond and the Legislative Advisory Committee made the joint recommendation, authorizing Dr. Leon Russell, WVA North American Councilor, to send the letter.

There is growing international concern regarding dog bite injuries and fatalities caused by "dangerous" dogs. These concerns have caused many governments to consider supplementing existing animal control laws with ordinances directed toward control of specific breeds or types of dogs.

Such responses are often driven by a specific incident, or the media's portrayal of certain canine breeds as "dangerous."

Singling out one or two breeds ignores the reality that any dangerous dog must be controlled, and this may increase, rather than decrease, the risk of dog bite injury to humans. Furthermore, canine breed-specific legislation enacted in other countries may negatively affect US military personnel and civilians working abroad.

The committees believe governments can respond effectively to citizen pressures without introducing breed-specific laws.

The letter to the WVA is the continuation of the AVMA's proactive stance on canine breed-specific laws and dog bite prevention.