Breed specific legislation is when laws are passed restricting the ownership and sale of specific breeds of dog (or other domestic animals). In Australia, the American Pit Bull Terrier, among other breeds, is a restricted breed because they are used in dog fighting and are supposed to be naturally vicious.
However, some people argue that banning specific breeds is not effective in reducing attacks on humans or other dogs, and that other strategies should be used instead.
My day job involves working with dogs and dog related laws. I also volunteer with animal rescue agencies, and have done so for many years. I can tell you with 100% certainty that breed specific legislation is a complete smokescreen. No dog breed is inherently more vicious than another, but there are breeds that are more often taught violence by their owners, the pit bull is among them. Unsavory people often get dogs that they believe will make them look tougher, the pit bull is often the breed of choice for these types of people. This is unfortunate as it is only the dog that suffers. Legislation that prohibits a breed often only makes that breed more desirable to the wrong types of owners. When properly cared for, pit bulls are some of the most gentle and loyal dogs you can ever imagine. I have assisted in rehabilitating a number of pit bulls after they were removed from abusive or otherwise unsafe environments. I think many would be shocked to see how quickly a pit bull, or really any dog, bounces back and becomes a happy, loving animal. If restrictions are to be made law, it should be in regard to the owner, not the breed.
The legislation should be about the human owner meeting a required level of knowledge and passing a suitable owners test. They should also meet a test as to the ability to afford all the costs across owning a pet including an average cost of vet care. Gifting pets should also be against the law and breeding should be restricted to licensed professionals.
Unfortunately, a lot of dog attacks are by Pit Bull Terriers and I quite agree they should be restricted.
However several attacks recently have been where dogs have got out of a backyard, which also unfortunately, does happen from time to time with some people. It does not happen with me as I am very careful as I value my dogs too much so make sure they cannot get out.
However, there are many breeds of dogs that have attacked, and in some cases, killed people or other dogs.
All dogs have the capacity to bite and if handled incorrectly, could indeed do so.
Some breeds far more than others and I therefore totally agree with legislation however how to police this legislation is another matter.
My own dogs have never bitten anyone and they can take food out of the other's bowl however I would not leave them unattended with a young child.
This is a grey area and no legislation is perfect. I do think that by making it more expensive and restrictive to own certain breeds will limit their ownership to people who genuinely love the breed and are willing to take the best care of it. Any dog that is treated poorly or encouraged to act aggressively is a dangerous dog and the owner should be punished accordingly.
Breed specific legislation is only justified if there's actual proof that a breed is more vicious than another. I don't believe that pit bulls actually are. As the saying goes, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.
It's a murky thing because it's hard to prove whether a dog is a pit bull or not. Without papers you are basically just going on looks, trying to guess a dog's ancestry and its temperment based on what it looks like. It's racism for dogs.
As an alternative to this kind of legislation you can have regulations that apply to all dog owners requiring them to take reasonable precautions like keeping dogs fenced or on leashes and well trained. No dog should ever be left alone with a child. Children are unpredictable and can't always read a dog's body language, so could annoy them until they snap.
I wish we could avoid sad stories like this