A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Aug 1, 2010

Don't hate me because I'm a pit bull - breed specific legislation issues

Breed specific legislation is unenforceable, ineffective, absurd, and more about lazy legislators, enforcement agents, and insurance companies than public safety. It is most seen in attempts to ban pit bulls from the world, or most notably in Denver where they are banned. The fact that pit bulls are not a breed at all seems irrelevant. The fact that many dogs are mutts and therefore cannot be identified as a specific breed at all seems extraneous. The fact that Chihuahuas and Cocker Spaniels are at the top of the most likely to bite list, while pit bulls are often not even on the list, seems like unnecessary information. And, the fact that it is human criminals that train many breeds of dogs to be their accomplices is a fact that is completely ignored. The result - persecution of the pit bull, prosecution of responsible human companions, and preposterous consequences.  For example - in Denver, a loyal family pet is taken away and euthanized just for appearing to be a pit bull whereas any other dog is entitled to a hearing if their behavior was problematic. Nervous Nellies and "not in my backyarders" become consumed with fear if they learn that a neighbor has a pit bull. Ignorant insurance companies, suddenly concerned for the safety of its customers pile on and refuse to provide homeowners insurance policies for those with these dogs. The list goes on.

Lawmakers and enforcement personnel look for the easiest way to cope which means the use of a number, a label, a color or a one size fits all mandate in order to reduce the need for critical thinking, fact finding and imagination. It is essentially stereotyping and profiling in the worst way. As expected they spend most of their time in court defending the indefensible - the fact - it is not a pit bull, and the principle - too broad to be constitutional. Think about this - man teaches dog to bite everyone. The dog does what he/she was taught.  All dogs that look like that dog are banned!

Instead of discriminating be discerning. All dogs can bite. All dogs can be gentle. Any breed can be a genetic lemon, and any breed can be the best dog ever. Mean people who try to make their dogs vicious (all breeds) are the ones who should be prosecuted. And, legislators, enforcement personnel and insurance companies should be better than this.

Finally, the state of California prohibits breed specific legislation UNLESS it is to mandate that specific breeds must be spay or neutered. All of the above applies. It doesn't work and it doesn't address the issues of responsible pet ownership and pet overpopulation. It's a slower way to wipe out a specific breed.

In case you are wondering - spcaLA does adopt out pit bulls.

P.S. If you want to participate in a campaign to repeal the pit bull ban in Denver - here's how: link


  1. We have a wonderful, silly, loving pit bull who has never bitten anyone or even thought about it. We recently took care of a displaced spaniel/retriever puppy for a couple of days. Guess which one bit my roommate?

  2. okay I agree not all pits are bad but come on they are in the majority when it comes to killing other dogs and even some humans, I have never heard of another breed even though all animals can bite its there defense thats common sense but when they just viciously kill innocent issues thats evil and well I just witnessed this on Thursday, July 29th the neighbors pit unlatched the screen door and ran out and killed in 10 seconds a chihuahua who was being walked on a leash by another neighbor, I heard such horendous noise and dealt with three black ladies crying and sobbing for over 1hour in the street in front of my home now I am afraid to take my two smooth fox terriers on the leash to the nearby dog park you bet I wont until I know that that pit is gone or lockedup and is not a potential threat...and you can bet that pit cant go play at the dog park....now not all are that way but sorry majority still rules.

  3. The whole Pit issue just keeps spinning in circles. I remember when the "OMG WORST DOG ON EARTH" was the Dobes then the Rotties. Now its the Pits. WHY? WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN RECENT YEARS TO dethrown the other dogs and put the PITBULLS center stage? Bloodhounds were BRED for search due to their sense of smell. If you kill a GS police dog you might as well kill an officer. The Labs are undeniably LOYAL and live to please thats why they are such great service dogs. Now come the Pits. Originally bred for working due to their tremendous Status, $$, aggression to protect their dope house among other things.It was not until humans decided to use these dogs for their own gain which is of course $$. It is the OWNERS RESPONSIBILITY to keep their animals no matter what breed, contained. I have a friend with a Jack Russel who is so nasty she has to warn EVERYONE not to pet him! There are many breeds with very aggressive behaviors. The only time I have ever known about putting living beings in a pit to kill eachother is HUMANS. Romans profited by using people and now HUMANS ARE USING DOGS. Lets face reality here.. alllllllllllllllll we ever hear about Pits mostly comes from the So called Human beings fighting them. And that stems from Cultural Behavior.

  4. Check this out! Denver may allow pit bulls as service dogs despite ban http://bit.ly/btQOcU

  5. I am sorry but the whole pitt bull thing has to do with the owner and how it is raised i have a pitt,a chihuahua and a yorkie you would have to worry bout my chihuahua biten you before my pitt she is so calm she plays with the lil dogs all day and i have 3 young nefews and they ride her around the living room and clim all over her so before people trash pitts maybe they should do some research on them and see that its all in how they are raised the olny resson they have a bad name is because of the dumb people who fight them i think i would be mad to if i was put in a cage and only let out to fight and and never loved and when they cant win they get used for bait xxicedoutbaby69@aol.com wendy.e