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Open letter to Senator Beffort on Breed Discriminatory Legislation

Leslie Smith Editor in Chief of DogTime.com
by Leslie Smith, Editor in Chief
Tuesday December 13th, 2011

Dear Senator Sue Wilson Beffort,

My little corner of cyberspace is abuzz this morning with the news that you plan to introduce “dangerous dog” legislation here in New Mexico. I’m saddened and discouraged, but mostly surprised. The evidence is categorical and overwhelming: Breed Specific Legislation — of which dangerous dog legislation is the first step — protects no one and leaves those already vulnerable in an even more precarious position.

Don’t just take my word for it. Talk to the people who’ve researched and studied this matter in depth and who have extensive hands-on experience with animals of all backgrounds and genetic makeup: Best Friends Animal Society, BADRAP, StubbyDog.org, and the ASPCA. None of these highly respected groups would put their reputation on the line — or their communities at risk — if the findings didn’t indicate that BSL does not work.

As has been proven time and again, even for dogs who’ve endured the most heinous and abusive treatment, the majority emerge mentally healthy and do not pose a threat to public safety. The most famous examples, of course, are the former Michael Vick Pit Bulls, four of whom are now certified therapy dogs. Hector and the others visit nursing homes, kindergarten classes, and abuse survivors, shattering stereotypes and promoting compassion and education. (As I said in an earlier blog post: Understandably, a few Vick dogs still struggle with fear, but none are aggressive towards people.)

And for me personally, Ms. Beffort, this type of legislation would ultimately change the course of my life. I will leave New Mexico before I allow someone to rip apart my family. For more on how “dangerous” my dog Maybe is, check out the story, A Sparrow and an Eagle.

Sure, there are plenty of dangerous animals here in our state. But they happen to be human — and their attitudes and actions toward sentient, feeling beings couldn’t be more unsafe. It’s time to restrict freedoms for those who mistreat other species, and make punishment more severe for their crimes. That’s the only way to keep all of our residents protected.

Sincerely,

Leslie Smith
Editor-in-Chief, DogTime

Column_maybeanduno
Maybe's most dangerous habit: trying to scooch Uno off the chair.

contact info for Sue Beffort:
phone: (505) 986-4395
email: Sue.Beffort@nmlegis.gov

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