Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)


The Central California SPCA opposes regulations based solely on dog breed and/or legislation banning a specific breed.  While breed is one factor that contributes to a dog’s temperament, it alone cannot be used to predict whether a dog may pose a danger to his or her community.  CCSPCA believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs.

Restrictions placed on a specific breed fail to address the larger problems of abuse, aggression training, and irresponsible dog ownership.  Again, breed alone is not an adequate indicator of a dog’s propensity to bite.  Rather, a dog’s tendency to bite is a product of several factors, including but not limited to: lack of socialization of the dog to people; sound obedience training; training for fighting or increased aggression; genetic makeup, including breed and strains within a breed; and quality of care and supervision by the owner.

Breed-specific legislation doesn’t work for several reasons: there are inherent problems in trying to determine a dog’s breed, making enforcement of breed-specific legislation difficult; fatal attacks represent a very small portion of bite-related injuries and should not be the major factor driving public policy; and existing non-breed-specific legislation already exists and offers promise for the prevention of dog bites.

CCSPCA is committed to helping dog owners and their pets and is a resource for the community through its training and behavior programs, and advocacy efforts and educational programs in the schools.

Pit Bulls

The CCSPCA is proud to be a shelter that does not discriminate against pit bulls or any other breed of dog.   We believe every individual dog should be judged based on his or her temperament and actions.  The truth is, pit bulls are really fantastic dogs that make excellent pets.  They’re not for everyone, just as Labrador Retrievers may not be for everyone.

Despite their bad rap, a well-bred, well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable.  In fact, they once held the nickname the “nursemaid’s dog,” because they were so reliable with young children.  Some of the most famous dogs in American history were pit bulls, including Stubby a decorated war hero during World War I, among many others.

Modern Pit Bulls are continually changing minds by being ambassadors for their breed.  Some are therapy dogs that spend time visiting hospitals and nursing homes.  Some work in search and rescue, including a trio from Sacramento that worked tirelessly at the World Trade Center during the aftermath of 9/11.  Others, like Popsicle, an accomplished U.S. customs dog, work in narcotics and explosives detection.  Still others serve as protection or sentry dogs for the police.  The majority are cherished family members.  Pit bulls become very attached to their people, and most love nothing better than cuddling on the couch or sleeping in bed with their pet parents.


Common Myths About Pit Bulls

Myth #1: Pit Bulls have a locking jaw.
Truth: Locking Jaws do not exist.

Pit Bulls jaws are not any different from any other dogs jaw.  They simply can not lock their jaws.  Additionally, in a test of biting pressure that included a German Shepherd, a Rottweiler, and an American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier had the least amount of bite pressure.

Myth #2: Pit Bulls are naturally more vicious towards people and dangerous than other dogs.
Truth: Pit Bulls do not have a natural / innate tendency to attack people.

Just like any other dog, or individual for that matter, some dogs learn undesirable behaviors, but Pit Bulls are not innately vicious.  Pit Bulls who have been properly cared for and socialized can be extremely sociable dogs who adore their peers and humans.

According to the American Temperament Society ( which tests the temperaments of dog breeds, as of February 2013, American Pit Bull Terriers had a pass rate 86.8 and American Staffordshire Terriers had a pass rate of 84.5 percent. This rating is above the average for all breeds.

Myth #3: All pit bulls are gentle angels who can be left unsupervised with dogs of any size, cats, and other animals
Truth: Pit bulls aren’t vicious monsters—but they are dogs who have been bred to fight with other dogs.

While some pit bulls are indeed very easygoing, others should not be left alone with other dogs, cats, or other pets.  Pit bulls are strong, determined dogs.  It might not be a pit bull who starts a disagreement, but he may be the one to finish it.  Because they were genetically selected for their fighting ability, some Pit Bulls may be easily encouraged to fight with other dogs.  This does not mean that they can’t be around other dogs, that they’re unpredictably aggressive, or that they will always fight to the death. These are just myths.

Knowing the temperament of a dog that you are considering adopting is extremely important.  All animals that arrive at the CCSPCA must first undergo a behavior assessment before reaching the adoption floor.  This is true for many shelters.  A Pit Bull who passes this evaluation poses no more of a threat to people than any other large dog.

As is true with any dog breed, the best way to prevent the development of aggressive behavior is to focus on early socialization. Suppose that a puppy is playing with another dog and the play escalates into a fight.  A well socialized puppy will still want to play with other dogs, but for a puppy with few social experiences, a fight like this may make a bigger impression on him, and result in fearful or aggressive responses to other dogs in the future.

Myth #4: Adopting a Pit Bull is the same as adding any other type of dog to your family.
Truth: Pit Bulls require some special considerations.

There are many misconceptions about Pit Bulls.  Therefore, adopting a Pit Bull requires a willingness to consider your friends’ and neighbors’ concerns and to educate them about Pit Bulls in general and your dog in particular.

Discrimination can extend beyond individuals and some places can include local legislation banning Pit Bulls from the community.  Be sure to check local laws before adopting and before moving with your Pit Bull.  If you are renting, finding a landlord that will allow Pit Bulls can be difficult.  Check with your landlord/property management company prior to adopting a Pit Bull.  Securing homeowners’ insurance can also be more of a challenge if you live with a Pit Bull, but there are insurance companies that do not discriminate based on the breed of dog.

The reality is that, as with all breeds, there are great Pit Bulls and Pit Bulls who–due to poor breeding, handling, or socialization–are not suitable as pets.  While a mistake in judgment with even a small dog can have serious consequences, a similar mistake with a large, strong breed such as a Pit Bull (or Akita, Rottweiler, Mastiff, Labrador Retriever, etc.) can be deadly.

If you are prepared, know your local laws, and have decided that a Pit Bull is a good fit for your family, do consider adopting one from CCSPCA or other local shelters or rescue groups that carefully evaluate their dogs.


Adopting a Pit Bull – What to expect?

Pit Bulls are loyal, committed dogs, who LOVE their people and thrive when they are made part of the family.  Although Pit Bulls are very people-oriented, they are loyal to their family and will protect them from any threat.

Pit Bulls are athletic and strong dogs.  They require regular exercise and they thrive when they are given a job to do.  With that being said, they are not excessively energetic and as most Pit Bull owners will tell you, they tire out pretty quickly.  At which time a cuddle session makes their day.

If you would like to learn more about what to expect when adopting a Pit Bull, please contact our Adoption Services department at (559) 233-7722 ext. 127 or