I appreciate everyone who took a few moments to answer the questions to the poll.
The poll was posted because of what I perceived as a great deal of controversy over recently proposed legislation
in Texas and Tennessee. The legislation holds dog owners criminally liable if their dogs do harm. To
be honest, I was shocked at the reaction to what I thought we have all been fighting for - owner accountability.
I was even more shocked to see that some people felt these laws violated constitutional rights. Laws that hold
owners criminally liable DO NOT violate the constitution.
Speaking of the Constitution, we have been fighting to have our dogs recognized as our "property." This recognition is
extremely important in order to maintain the argument that arbitrary seizure of our dogs (i.e., our property) IS a violation of the Constitution. In that regard, if we are going to fight to
retain the rights of "property owners," we must take responsibility if our "property" harms or damages.
As the results of the poll indicate, however, there really is no controversy at all. The majority
of people do feel that owners should be held accountable for the actions of their pets. Breed specific laws are ineffective
responses to public outcry in the community. Officials feel pressured to make a "quick fix" to pacify their constituents.
In order to stop the passage of breed specific laws, we must provide viable, common sense alternatives. As
I see it, the most effective solution is to create laws that encourage responsible dog ownership and hold people accountable
if their dog harms.
With respect to Tennessee specifically, the current state law is not geared to encourage responsible dog ownership, and
I welcome Senator Jackson's proposed package of bills. They are non-breed specific and they focus on and hold owners
criminally liable if their dogs do harm.
I recently read that there is no solidarity in dog owners with respect to the fight against BSL. At least on this
point, I think that statement is false.