A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Oct 5, 2016

Please Don't Kill Me Because I look Like A Pit Bull

Many of us are disturbed by the fact that Montreal issued a ban of all pit bulls and pit bull type dogs (whatever they are) and further planned to euthanize all such dogs by October 3rd. However, a judge has temporarily suspended this plan while he is reviewing the matter. This is not just a Canadian issue as there have been similar bans in the United States.

Breed specific legislation is unenforceable, ineffective, absurd, and more about lazy legislators, enforcement agents, and insurance companies than public safety. 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 - all foreseeable when facts are ignored!  These pronouncements also inspire nervous nellies and "not in my backyarders" to 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.

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.

How does one explain to a child that his or her pet must be killed because the pet looks like another dog that was vicious? Anybody?

1 comment: