Stories that cause people to seek out breed specific legislations are tragic BUT they involve individual dogs and are not representative of the countless other “pit bull” type dogs that are friendly and well socialized. Proponents of BSL would like ALL American Staffordshire Terriers, ALL Staffordshire Bull Terriers, ALL American Bulls or any other dogs displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breed to be punished for the actions of a few.
Programs to prevent the public from “dangerous dogs” MUST be legal, fair and effective. Breed bans are unfair; penalize thousands of good dog guardians to penalize a handful of irresponsible ones. Breed specific legislation kills thousands of good, loving, balanced dogs in attempt to eliminate a few bad ones. Aggression is not a breed issue, it is a dog issue. Any dog breed can be “trained” to behave aggressively. This fact has been supported time and again. Organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA, American Kennel Club and the American Veterinary Medical Association are only a few who have spoken out against breed specific legislation. BSL will not work, as it target is misplaced to the dog and not the owner. It embodies faulty ideas about genetics and depends on a law enforcer’s subjective opinion about how a dog looks.
Breed bans are ineffective. ALL DOGS CAN BITE. Numerous jurisdictions have repealed breed specific legislation in favor of dangerous dog laws. Also, numerous jurisdictions did not see any decline in dog bites when they did ban pit bull type dogs Studies of pre and post breed ban dog bite rates in the United Kingdom and Spain concluded that their pit bull breed ban had no effect whatsoever on reducing dog bites. Indeed, Hiawatha, Iowa repealed their pit bull terrier ban because of identification problems and expense. Now that DNA testing is available to determine the breed of a dog, breed discriminatory laws have gotten very expensive for cities and counties to enforce. Topeka, Kansas also recently repealed their pit bull terrier ban for the same reasons. The Topeka City Attorney’s Office issued an explanation for repealing this ban as a part of their new animal control ordinance. http://bit.ly/fSWJJ9 (pages 3-5).
Denver, Colorado banned pit bulls in 1989. In the years following the ban, the city continued to suffer a higher rate of hospitalization for severe dog bite injury than the breed neutral jurisdictions in the state. The Denver incidents ALL involved dogs identified as other than pit bulls. In Spain, a study of dog bite reports from five years before breed specific regulation was enacted and five years after, revealed that there had been no reduction in dog bites. The Netherlands maintained a breed ban for 15 years, but has since repealed it, in favor of owner responsibility laws.
In its study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not support the breed specific approach. The CDC noted many other factors beyond a dogs breed may affect a dog’s tendency toward aggression – such as reproductive status, heredity, sex, early experience, and socialization and training. These concerns seem well-founded given that more than 70% of all dog bite cases involve unsterilized male dogs, and an unneutered male dog is 2.6 times more likely to bite than a neutered male dog. In 2006, 97% of all dog related human fatalities in the United States involved unsterilized canines.
Breed bans cause shelters to fill up with unadoptable dogs. No room for dangerous dogs of other breeds. Criminals ignore breed bans along with other laws. Other dangerous dogs continue to threaten community. An increased number of competent animal control officers need to be mobilized to investigate abuse and or neglect, and other complaints so attacks by any dog can be avoided. Programs such as mandatory education classes on good ownership and obedience training need to be in place if a dog is declared dangerous or has been reported running loose/menacing an excessive amount of times. If people are convicted of abuse/neglect they need to be ordered not have any other animals. If a dog is found to be “dangerous” the dog should be spayed or neutered, microchipped for positive identification and muzzled when out in public. Outlaw the tethering/chaining of dogs as 25% of all fatal dog attacks involve tethered or chained dogs.
Breedism is the canine equivalent of racism and it is breed specific legislation that is responsible for the deaths of so many loving, gentle and beautiful animals. Innocent dogs suffer every time they are passed because not only does it give false verification to the public that pit bull type dogs are vicious but it effects the ability of people in the communities to adopt these animals as well as rescues/ shelters to adopt out these animals.