An exploratory analysis of the emergence and implications of breed specific legislation: Knee-jerk reaction or warranted response?

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The main objective of this thesis was to survey and critically analyze the increased attention and call for legislation addressing "dangerous dogs" and, more generally, animal control in urban landscapes. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), the banning or restricting of the ownership of a dog solely based on the dog's breed regardless of the dog's aggressiveness, was one suggestion put forward in response to the perceived "dog bite" problem. By examining the history and origin of BSL, an understanding of the legislation and its intended function emerged. In particular, the perception that Breed Specific Legislation is a knee jerk response or a quick regulatory reaction to media amplification, claimsmakers' protest and public outcry over the "dog bite" problem was explored. Research benefits include an analysis of the BSL debate, an exploration of the opinions of major stakeholders, an examination of alternative methods of animal control and a call for evidence-based policy.

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School of Criminology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)