Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center believes that a dog’s breed is not indicative of their behavior. In April 2022, a study done by Kathleen Morrill, a dog geneticist at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, and her colleagues show that dog breed is generally a
poor predictor of individual behavior, and most behaviors did not have a strong genetic component. When it came to dog breeds, personality varied widely within the same pedigree.
At Shy Wolf Sanctuary, we support responsible pet ownership and work hard to match our rescued “pet-quality” animals with an owner who will be able to care for them in a loving home and suitable environment.
While different pets require different levels of care, it is essential to choose a pet that fits your lifestyle and living situation. It is more important to match an animal to a family based on personality, energy, drive, socialization, and overall environment. When adopting or purchasing an exotic pet this becomes even more critical. Many exotic animals live longer lives, require specialty diets, or need customized habitats to recreate their unique environment.
We support Best Friends Animal Society in urging the passage of FL SB 942 and HB 941 to repeal two remaining and outdated dog breed bans in Florida and to ensure public housing authorities follow state dangerous dog laws. Breed-specific laws can be replaced with comprehensive, effective breed-neutral laws to keep all communities safe from any dangerous dog, regardless of breed. Florida is one of 22 states which prohibits local dangerous dog ordinances being breed-based, with only Miami-Dade an
d Sunrise having grandfathered breed-specific ordinances.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) refers to laws that ban or regulate ownership of certain types of dogs based simply on their perceived breed. Regulating certain types of dogs shifts the focus away from dangerous dogs that don’t fit the profile and reckless owners, and instead causes hardships for responsible owners of good dogs. An effective ordinance focuses on the behavior of the dog and the behavior of the owner.
Breed bans also make it difficult or impossible for taxpayer-funded animal shelters and rescues such as Shy Wolf to place dogs into new homes. Best Friends’ data shows that housing barriers are the number one reason people surrender their dog to an animal shelter. In a survey of Public Housing Authority pet policies across Florida, 60% of policies restricted pets based on their breed and included breeds like German Shepherds, Boxers, and Huskies. Of the policies reviewed, 100% restricted pets to under 40 pounds, making it nearly impossible to adopt a shelter pet in Florida and access government-funded housing.
“Best Friends is at the ready to help Miami-Dade and Sunrise replace their current ordinances with comprehensive, breed-neutral ordinances that restrain and restrict dangerous dogs while protecting people’s constitutional property rights,” said Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society. “Breed-neutral reckless-owner laws are effective and are supported by the American Bar Association, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the American Veterinary Association, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and the National Animal Care and Control Association because they focus on the dog’s and the owner’s behavior. In America, responsible owners should be allowed to own whatever breed of dog they choose.”
Even if breed could predict behavior, there is nothing “specific” about breed-specific legislation. Numerous peer-reviewed studies, including two published in 2009 and 2013, compared adoption agencies’ visual breed identifications of mixed-breed dogs against DNA analysis and produced “compelling evidence” that visual breed identification is unreliable at best, and “reckless” at worst. Breed-specific regulations and policies serve only to separate pets from their loving families and overburden taxpayer-funded animal shelters.
Photos feature Shy Wolf Sanctuary’s rescued (and adopted) APBT/wolf mix Koa and Sophie Sweets (adoptable).