At KU Law, I am the vice president of the animal law club. Last week, we had a speaker in regarding breed specific legislation. While it doesn't necessarily apply to Bernese Mountain Dogs, it was a very interesting topic. And as my dad quoted to me when I was telling him about this, "...then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out." So, it is an issue that concerns all of us dog owners.
A VERY short summary of some of the more interesting points... Breed specific legislation doesn't work. Statistics coming back from places such as the UK, Spain and the Netherlands that have enacted breed specific legislation are showing that bite counts are not down, but rather still rising. Like many of us have always suspected, bites are more related to living circumstances than a particular breed of dog.
A few reasons why breed specific legislation doesn't work: it doesn't improve safety/reduce bite numbers because bites are more related to living environments, its a really expensive solution for a really small problem (dog bites aren't even on the same radar as car accidents), breed identification is very difficult (see below).
A few ideas that would actually work towards reducing dog bites and injuries/deaths caused by dogs: containment laws, no-tethering laws, abuse prevention (one of the highest related factors to dog bites was domestic violence), spaying/neutering pets.
One of the reasons why Pitbulls are all over the news is due to breed misidentification. The term Pitbull encompasses a handful of AKC recognized breeds, as well as some mixed breeds. Go to the webpage and see if you can pick out which breed is the Pitbull:
Not easy to do...