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Punish the deed, not the breed!

I watched a show on the Discovery Channel (maybe Animal Planet, TLC, or any other of those channels owned by Discovery) this past weekend entitled Dangerous Breeds. The premise for the show was the dog mauling case in San Francisco. The dogs that mauled the lesbian to death were Canary Dogs, and since the death, (unsurprisingly) these dogs have had a surge in popularity (much like I suspect Bushmaster rifles will). There, of course, was a group of soccer-moms advocating banning this breed. Also, the show spoke of several towns in the US in which specific breeds have been banned. For example, in Baltimore there is a ban (from about 1998) on owning Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. Since the ban, the show stated that over 4,500 family pets had been put to death at the hands of the animal control officer. The animal control officer (an elected official) was interviewed and actually said he opposed the law. But the law is the law.

I have a problem with this. The cause of almost every attack by a dog can be traced back to irresponsible owners. In fact, there was evidence showing that the owners of the Canary Dogs in SF encouraged their dogs to be aggressive towards people. The solution is not Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). A bad owner can turn any dog into an aggressive animal. The issue is not the breed but (like gun ownership) a personal responsibility problem. In fact, hereís a list of dog breeds most likely to bite (per the CDC): Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards and Akitas.

I have an American Bulldog. Iíve read recently (lost the link sorry) that there is no instance reported of this breed biting anyone. But this fine breed is banned in parts of Ohio because it resembles a Pit Bull (actually, I joke that they are a Pit Bull and a half. The American Bulldog usually weighs between 90 Ė 120 pounds and the Pit Bull usually weighs between 30 Ė 55 pounds).

My dog (who is still a pup) is being trained everyday to be people friendly. We socialize him with people, other dogs, and kids. We take him to the park, PetsMart, and walking through the neighborhood. He is an intimidating dog (right now he looks like a Pit Bull) but is as friendly as can be with anyone. Just donít try to hop the fence in our yard and youíll be okay.

Simply, society should punish the deed and not the breed. People are responsible when dogs attack. They have either poorly trained the dog, mistreated it, or have let it run loose unsupervised. No matter how much I trust my pooches, I will not let them run loose. They stay in the yard (fenced) or are on a leash with me when they leave the house. To support responsible pet ownership, look at this site and scroll to the bottom for contact info.

I suppose that once our society moves to rid all citizens of personal responsibility, we will all sit around talking about when we had guns, large dogs, and Battlestar Galactica figures that shoot plastic missiles. The whole time wishing we had some lawn darts to play with. Bah!

2 Responses to “Punish the deed, not the breed!”

  1. SayUncle : Why I’m not a Katz person Says:

    […] by, you know, proven vicious present no such test. However, such laws based on breed do. Breed specific legislation is largely ineffective. Additionally, Sti […]

  2. SayUncle : More on the SF dog ban Says:

    […] eone. Laws passed regarding both are reactionary, ineffective, and not well thought out. Breed specific legislation is ineffective. We need people control, n […]

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