CVMA Policies on Canines

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CVMA Policy on Breed-Specific Legislation

The CVMA supports dangerous animal legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds or classes of animals. This legislation should be directed at fostering safety and protection of the general public from animals classified as dangerous.


  • If vicious dog issues are addressed on a community-by-community basis, it will only lead to confusion. It will be lawful to own a “vicious dog” in one city, and merely yards away, it will be unlawful to own the very same dog.
  • Dog owners may actually be less likely to license their dogs and get necessary vaccinations, such as rabies vaccinations, if they believe they will be identified as owners of so-called “vicious breeds.” This will put the public health at risk.
  • Determining which dog breeds are “vicious” will be extremely difficult. In addition, while many pit bulls are easily discernable, many are mixed breeds. Who will determine what percentage of the breed needs to be present in the mix of the dog to constitute a “vicious dog”?
  • To enact breed-specific legislation – such as spay and neuter requirements for “pit bull”-type dogs – will simply push irresponsible dog owners toward other breeds.
  • Not only will a change like this create confusion for the veterinary community, animal control, and humane societies, but dog owners will have extreme difficulty when moving to different communities.
  • Many pit bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and other large dog breeds have been raised in loving homes and are highly trained. It would be unfair to penalize responsible dog owners by placing these animals in the same class and category of “vicious dogs.”
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