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Dog Control

In recent years a growing list of nations and American municipalities have banned the sale, breeding, and ownership of pit bulls. Pit bull’s are a hard to define mix of American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, and other breeds, that is nevertheless instantly identifiable by the dogs appearance. Denmark and the United Kingdom ban the ownership of pit bulls, in Germany, the ownership of a pit bull is punishable by a two year prison term. Several US cities also ban the breed including major ones like Denver and New York. Dozens of federal and state lawsuits challenging the Constitutionality of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) have thus far been unsuccessful at stopping the pit bull bans.

Supporters of pit bull bans claim the breed is simply too dangerous to keep. They point to the fact that it routinely pops up as the #1 culprit in fatal attacks and severe maulings. Though a pit bull can range in size from 30lb to over 100lb, it is an unusually strong dog for its size, and even the smallest ones present a danger to people. Pit bulls are terrier mixes, a group of breeds known for high energy, nervousness, and propensity to bite. In the past pits have been bred for dog fighting and are still prone to aggressiveness towards other animals, in the middle of a dog fight dogs often turn and attack people. Lastly, pit bulls have something their owners love to call tenacity, and most people would describe as biting and not letting go; although the rumor that pit bulls have locking jaws is an urban legend, it is easy to see how it originated. BSL supporters claim that all these factors add up to a dog that is as dangerous to keep at home as a pet hyena, and demand it be banned in the interest of public safety.

Pit bull defenders take the opposite position. They claim that stories of pit bull attacks are exaggerated and sensationalized by the media. They believe that the breed is the victim of a vilification campaign, and is in fact no more dangerous than any dog of its size. They point to hundreds of pit bulls used as guide and police dogs, and the countless examples of peaceful, harmless, socialized, pit bulls that pose no danger to their families (pits were once called “the nanny dog” because of their gentleness towards small kids). Opponents of pit bans describe BSL laws as a form of canine racism, and oppose them as nanny state overreach in response to media scaremongering. They propose that the owner, not the breed should be liable for any dog related violence.

My personal opinion is that the BSL laws are part of wider social trend, a move towards reduced freedom in the interest of public safety, when what is really needed is tougher criminal justice. Yes, pit bulls are a dangerous breed, in the hands of an irresponsible owner a pit can be a very frightening dog. But it is not a wild animal, a pit can be trained to be not just a good dog, but a great dog. I have seen a pit bull trained as a seeing-eye dog that was not so much a dog as an extension of the owners body, I once dropped a tray of medical supplies behind the dog and it did not even flinch. I would not recommend pit bulls to first time dog owners or people who plan to leave the dog alone for long periods of time (such people are better off with a cat or a pet rock), but if properly and patiently disciplined they make wonderful dogs. The answer to pit bull violence is not BSL laws, but laws that impose harsh penalties on irresponsible owners. As with guns, I would be in favor of laws that impose stricter penalties on the criminals, the pit bull owners whose dogs attack citizens. As is the case with many crimes, I support the imposition of a harsher penalty if a dangerous weapon, be it a gun or a large dog is used. Just as long as responsible pit lovers are not subject to heavy regulation, legal harassment, or extortionate fees.

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Categories: World Events

16 replies

  1. Pit Bulls, whatever they are, seem to the the lead dog in an extinction march. All family pets are being steadily removed from the average household by government at the behest of SPCA, PETA and such according to what’s reported these days. The animal welfare folk will pretty soon be able to join that “We had to destroy it in order to save it” thingy…

  2. Aww the pic with the baby and dog looks like my sister’s pit mix – Godiva. Here in CA, pet owners are 100% liable for dog attacks. It’s risky to own a pit bull because of that liability. Some home insurance policies ban certain breeds, like pit bulls. I don’t believe in BSL myself. People know (or should know) the risks. It’s up to them whether or not to take that risk.

  3. I have to disagree with the comment that pit bulls are “instantly identifiable”. You even lumped bull terriers in with them, and the bull terriers are separate recognized breeds. If you look at the head structure of Patton’s dog Willie in the last photo (a bull terrier) from a profile view, it’s vastly different than a pit bull head structure.

    A number of breeds and breed mixes are frequently identified as pit bulls. I personally own a Rottweiler, and have been asked several times if he is a Pit Bull. Not only does BSL cause problems for pit bull owners, it can also punish owners of any medium sized short haired breed. Unless you have registration on your dog, how can you argue that your dog isn’t a pit bull? This can lead to some pretty subjective harassment of pet owners.

  4. i dont know who came up with pitbulls as being mean and evil and that they deserve to be banned that is quite stupid and if you’ve watched pitboss on animal planet i personally love luigi “shorty” rossi’s words he says things like its not the way the breed (pitbull’s) is raised its how the owner raised the pitbull. i admire him and anyone agianst pitbulls is wrong.

  5. My family has owned a poodle, chow, Doberman, yorkie, saint Bernard, dacsund, all over a span of 35 years and with my kids when they were small and teens and now with my grandikids. The only breed that was very independent and actually bit odd was the chow. Very stubborn, not affectionate and just a little on the not so friendly side. All the other breeds were great family dogs. The Doberman, actually have had two, were very smart and sweet dogs. Without a doubt the most affectionate. I have never had one of my dogs bite, much less snap at anyone and we always socialized them. The chow does lead me to believe certain breeds perhaps are not good for families, so my little brain tells me that ” train a dog up in the way he should act, and it with obey”. Pit bulls and dobermans do have reputation but only with those who have little “weenies” and feel a dog with a stigma and raised in a way not to be socialized and loving…..well, perhaps a not so good dog. They need care and love and I see too many large breeds chained in a back yard with no socialization or love, thus a possible nasty dude, hence the reputation. From supporter4many

  6. SORRY…THE PITBULL THAT ATTACKED ME IN 2010 ANDTHE UNLEASHED PITBULL THAT WAS TRYING TO GET AT ME IN 2011 IN FLORIDA HAS CONVINCED ME THAT THE DOGS NEED TO BE RESTRAINED BY LAW…NOW I AM SEEKING A 444 MAG HANDGUN AND CARRY PERMIT…I WILL NOT BE HELPLESS AGAIN

    • Anonymous seeking a 444, your missing the point, remember why those dogs were that way its there raising, as well guns in the wrong hands are bad but lets not ban guns,we cant be so closed minded and think like that, lets ban all knives and scissors, anything that has the posssibility of hurting someone. Lets certainly BAN prescribed medications,thousands of people die yearly from wrongly precribed. We cant go down that road. Pitbull dogs that are well bred and are a true gem, And we wont submit to this cave man thinking.Band-aid thinking.

    • Don’t give up Tracey. There are a lot of people out here pullnig for you and for Chaos. It is a shame that so many allow fear and ignorance to rule them, hence the existence of Breed Specific Legislation, but someday it will become apparent to the public and those who make the laws that BSL does NOT keep the public safe but only brings pain to those being unfairly punished for something that has yet to occur.

  7. Virtually any dog will bite, period, and pits are no different. By and large, the reason pits, or any dog for that matter, bite someone is A) they are protecting their owner or family, or B) they have been trained that way, either through specific training or mistreatment. I have never owned a pit bull and probably never will since I do not care for they way they look. However, I have known a good many of them and each and every one of them was a gentle and loving as could be. As for Anonymous who wants to buy a (I assume) .44 Mag to defend against pit bulls, go right ahead, but you may find that it is the owners of vicious pits who actually need to be shot.

  8. Pibulls are not dangerous dogs…they are loving protective playful animals,,i myself have one and she is the most gentle and sweetest dog,,even around my 2 year old nephew. it is not the dogs who are bad but the people who raise them,, if you raise them to be mean then they will be,.,.,but if you raise them to be nice they will be.. put yourself in a pitbulls position,,,if you were being beaten in any way just because your human wants you tofight and get them money.. just because you looked mean would you not fight back and defend yourself??? i sure as hell would,, People,,the OWNERS,,are the ones to blame NOT the dogs

    • Yes. Sussex Spaniels are a very dominant breed and not reomnmecded for first time owners. They can also be fairly dog aggressive.Have you considered getting an American Water Spaniel? They are great for first time owners, very easy to train, and very low dominance! Their energy is usually high, but there are always medium and low energy dogs in a litter, so I still think it would be a great dog for you! I hope this helps!You can get books or look online for more information about the breed! EDIT: As you can see, the Sussex Spaniel is NOT good for first time owners and is dominant. I don’t consider wikipedia a very good source for information.

  9. Whatever the breed, where I live we put a huge amount of tax money into a huge park system so we can all relax and exercise. Except that it’s too dangerous because of all the unleashed, and “leashed” but not held, large dogs. Using a park or other public place in a way that prevents others from using it is a kind of theft IMO, and more dog owners need to realize that their dogs do not come first. People are more important than dogs.

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