Ban the Breed? No, Ban the Human

Posted on May 2, 2012 by

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Is your favorite breed of dog “black-listed?” It may surprise owners and non-canine owners alike that there are restrictions out there dictating what breed of dog you are allowed to own. These restrictions can range from those found in apartment leases and homeowners insurance policies to laws found in city or municipal ordinances, to even state-wide laws. Some of these laws declare outright that certain breeds of dogs are “dangerous” based on breed alone. The dogs typically listed are Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, or the more general, usually undefined term, “fighting dogs.” Y0u hear that, Rin Tin-Tin? NO DOGS ALLOWED!

Image: Amazon

These laws have been passed in the interest of public safety with little thought given to the fact that a dog’s predisposition to aggressiveness cannot be perfectly predicted based on the breed of the dog alone. They limit where a person and their pet choose to live and prohibit a person from interacting with companies solely based on the type of animal they own. Criminal penalties may also be associated with these laws, such as fines or even jail time.

Criminologists have always wondered is it nature or nurture when examining humans who commit crime. That same question must be asked about “dangerous” dog breeds. Are certain breeds predisposed to aggression? Or are these “dangerous” breeds more likely to be owned by irresponsible owners that may be attracted to this breed stereotype thusly creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? I would greatly wager the answer to the latter is a resounding YES! I mean, how many Pembroke Welsh Corgis have you seen kept as “outside dogs” shackled up in a yard wearing a heavy chain and a padlock around their neck? I’m going to guess not many.

Breed specific “dangerous dog” laws give credence to the notion that certain dogs are beyond the saving and cannot safely be a part of our communities. And that is just not true. Even Michael Vick’s fighting Pit Bulls were rehabilitated. In addition, the American Kennel Club, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States are all strongly opposed to any legislation that defines a dog as “dangerous” based only on breed.

Dogs are just like people, and sometimes they can surprise you. Thankfully, this homeless Pit Bull was around to save a woman and her child from being victimized. This “dangerous” dog saved a couple of lives and may have found himself a forever home in the process.

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