Last week, the premier of Quebec, Philipe Couillard, announced that he hopes to have a province wide “pit bull ban” by this time next year. Many people, including animal lovers, rescue societies, and even government officials are fearful that Quebec will be making the same mistakes Ontario did with their Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in 2005.
We shared some information on the issues with Breed Specific Legislation and Breed Bans, as well as offered five alternative bylaws that have proven to drastically reduce dog attacks. Now, we want to share with our readers the hard facts about how much BSL costs tax payers, and the sheer economic impact it has on municipalities who choose to enforce it.
Why Is BSL So Expensive?
Breed Specific Legislation is not only expensive to create and pass, but has incredibly large enforcement costs. For example, when a breed ban becomes effective, the municipality is responsible for the cost of law enforcement, animal seizure, animal containment, DNA testing, legal fees, and euthanasia.
Each municipality will have different costs, but we will use Prince George County, Maryland as an example for our breakdown of the cost of BSL in one location.
In 2003, a task force examined the cost of Prince George County’s 1996 pit bull ban. What they discovered, was that the average cost to seize, detain, test, and euthanize a single pit bull was $68,000. In the fiscal year of 2001-2002, the total cost of pit bull confiscations was $560,000.
Not only did the county spend over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to seize and destroy these dogs, studies proved that the community had no measurable safety benefit from the ban, and lost out on thousands of dollars from cancelled dog shows, tourism, and consistent “pit bull” report calls from concerned citizens.
Despite these shocking numbers, enforcement costs weren’t the most expensive. The county faced hundreds of lawsuits, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, settlements, and law enforcement costs. Owners were rightfully suing for a few different reasons:
- Owners of targeted breeds felt that BSL violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
- Dog owners disputed the breed designation that an animal control officer or shelter worker had placed on their dog
- The municipality’s breed-specific legislation contradicted state law
- Breed-specific legislation violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act
Believe it or not, but Prince George County’s BSL costs were some of the lowest we discovered.
Between the years of 1991 and 1996, the United Kingdom had spent over 14 million pounds to enforce their breed ban.
Their costs have grown exponentially in size, but numbers were not available for our use due to the bill’s recent scrutiny.
14 million pounds in the year 1996 is worth 30 million pounds today. That is the equivalent of 44.04 million US dollars spent on enforcing BSL in the UK for just five years.
On top of enforcement costs and lawsuits, each municipality, who opts for breed bans, is required to pay tens of thousands to millions of dollars per year in order to keep the ban in place. Many municipalities also suffer great cost when they decide to revoke the law.
How Does BSL Affect Your Wallet?
Despite our best efforts, legal costs, law enforcement, and any other costs regarding Breed Specific Legislation are funded by taxpayers’ dollars, whether you are for or against the law. That’s just wrong!
Breed Specific Legislation is a pricey endeavor that has financial effects for anti-pit advocates and loving pit parents equally.
Not only do taxpayers’ fund these laws, but we are greatly affected as a community as well. Studies have shown that municipalities suffered great economic loss after enforcing anti-breed laws. Communities experienced losses in tourism, dog shows and sports, and talent. Pit bull type dogs are some of the most popular in North America, or even the world, meaning that a high percentage of the general population is pro-pit. Many celebrities also endorse pit bull positivity, and boycott companies and municipalities that enforce breed bans and discrimination.
Small business owners, who support a breed bans, could experience economic loss from lack of tourism, as well as taxes being wasted on passing laws that don’t prove to be of any use.
Can Quebec Afford To Ban Pit Bulls?
If the average cost of euthanizing one dog is $68,000, can Quebec really afford to ban pit bulls?
According to a report conducted by World Vision and Citizens for Public Justice, Montreal remains the most impoverish city in all of Canada. With more than one in ten people relying on income assistance programs, the city is witnessing a rise in homelessness and hunger. As well, roughly 46,000 of Montreal’s 167,000 impoverished people are under the age of 18.
Fourteen percent of Montreal’s citizens are living in poverty, and 40 percent are unemployed. Tax profits could be used to benefit the people, rather than “protect them” from seemingly dangerous dogs. The proposed breed ban will also have devastating effects on tourism, population of pet owners with disposable income, and law enforcement. This will affect local businesses greatly, putting more people below the line of poverty.
As more people begin to rely on income assistance, the province will most likely suffer another recession.
Breaking The Law
In 2015, France passed a law that declared animals as sentient beings. This means that animals are treated as living, breathing, feeling creatures with their own set of rights. Prior to passing the law, France legally viewed cats and dogs as “movable property.” Therefore, they had the same rights as a coffee table or book shelf.
When the bill was proposed, nearly 700,000 civilians demanded it be made law.
The bill received support from people of all professions, including scientific researchers and even members of French Parliament.
Because of this bill, France had the highest animal rights standards in the entire world, and other countries have started to follow.
On December 4, 2015, Quebec also passed a law declaring animals sentient beings, and increased penalties for anyone guilty of animal cruelty. At the time, Quebec was called the “puppy mill capital of Canada,” and was home to more animal abuse and neglect than anywhere else in the country. Passing this law granted animals the rights to proper care, and citizens reflected on the province’s dark past.
By enforcing a Breed Specific Ban, the province of Quebec is essentially revoking the rights of pit bull type dogs, based on their appearance alone. Not one year after the bill has passed, the Premier plans to use racial profiling as a way to massacre and locally eliminate thousands of family pets.
Quebec City has already passed the Breed Specific Ban on pit bull type dogs. This ban will take effect on January 1st, 2017, giving pet owners roughly six months to either move or have their dog destroyed. The fine for being caught with a pit bull type dog after January 1st is set at $1,000.
If Parliament passes the province wide ban, Quebec will experience a drop in population and profits, and a rise in costs. This will affect taxpayers as well as pit bull owners, who will have no choice but to either relocated, re-home their dogs, or have them euthanized.
If you are against Quebec’s proposed Breed Specific Legislation, we implore you to reach out. Write letters, sign petitions, fight for the rights of every dog, regardless of their breed. We don’t want to watch more provinces make the same mistakes as Ontario, senselessly murdering thousands of dogs, and costing citizens their hard earned money.
Breed Specific Legislation affects all of us.