What does shacking up and German and Belgian Shepherd Dogs have in common?
In Virginia, both were prohibited until recently.
On July 1st, Virginia officially repealed its 136 year-old law that has remained on the books, largely unenforced in the “modern age”, that prohibited a man and a woman from living under the same roof without benefit of marriage…
Why repeal it? Because it no longer makes sense and society has moved on.
In 2001, Virginia officially repealed a then 63 year-old breed specific law, also largely unenforced in recent decades, that prohibited the new ownership or importation of German and Belgian Shepherd Dogs from a number of counties in the Commonwealth.
Yes, that’s right. German Shepherds were prohibited in Virginia.
German Shepherd dogs, their mixes, and dogs that look like german shepherds, are about the most popular kind of dog in the state. That makes BSL about as effective as the law against Cohabitation Without Benefit of Marriage. That is to say, not very effective at all. OK all you sinners and lawbreakers, you can come out now. Bring your dogs out too.
Why repeal breed specific laws? Because it no longer makes sense and society has moved on.
Seventy-some years ago the Virginia legislature thought it needed breed bans because of hysteria, overblown media reports, myths and mis-information. The hysteria, myths and mis-information have been refuted. My, how times change, huh? Meh, maybe not so much, especially not for Virginia’s neighbor, Maryland, who apparently hasn’t gotten the message yet.
The state of Virginia had enough of a bad taste for BSL 20 years ago that they passed a law prohibiting it. Today, 15 other states have laws that prohibit regulating dogs because of their breed. Rhode Island will be number 17 as soon as the governor signs it, and New Mexico has legislation in the pipeline that would make it number 18.
Why? Because it no longer makes sense and society has moved on.