Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
A two year battle to keep an innocent family member from being executed ended earlier today, when Lennox, a dog seized in 2010 from a family in Belfast, Northern Ireland, despite having zero aggression problems, and being the therapy dog for a disabled 7-year-old, was put to death. Belfast ignored worldwide outrage, and even offers from celebrities to rehome the dog outside of the UK, where the so-called “Dangerous Dog Act” enabled this disgusting event. Lennox was not even a pitbull, but a Bulldog/Labrador mix - NOT on the dangerous dogs list in the first place. But “authorities, armed with a dressmakers tape measure, had determined that he fit the measurements of a pit bull-type dog.”
As you all know by now I am a passionate dog owner of two adorable little rescues. And I am also vehemently against the stupid muzzle law that our own city put on pitbulls. It is absolutely ridiculous to react in a kneejerk fashion to anecdotal feelings that a particular breed is dangerous. There is no evidence pitbulls are any more dangerous than any other large dog.
The AVMA document concludes:
Given that pit bull-type dogs are not implicated in controlled studies, and the potential role of prevalence and management factors, it is difficult to support the targeting of this breed as a basis for dog bite prevention…
“If breeds are to be targeted a cluster of large breeds would be implicated including the German shepherd and shepherd crosses and other breeds that vary by location.”
We were interested in possibly a trip to the UK (Scotland) and Northern Ireland sometime in the future. But forget that. Not if dogs can be ripped away from families for having the unfortunate measurements of a banned dog, and not until they lift the ban itself.
Don’t you understand? It’s NOT the breed. It’s the owner. A bad owner could own a POODLE and they’d turn aggressive. A bad owner could own a golden retriever and turn that family-friendly dog into a nightmare. Get the owners. STOP blaming the breed. An ordinance to strengthen the ability for the city to cite bad owners for: not keeping their dog confined or on a leash (a real pet peeve of mine), for not licensing them, and for other violations would do a lot more for safety than muzzling (or seizing and destroying) one breed which currently has a bad rep because of today’s ownership trend. Pitties are all over the place, proportionately, so yeah, they seem more prevalent in attacks. They are also a “status” breed for the sort of owner who WANTS to train aggression in their dogs, or neglects them and doesn’t do proper socialization. That doesn’t mean they are any more dangerous than any other breed badly brought up.
And it doesn’t mean that it’s a great idea to punish the vast majority of good owners who have great, socialized and trained, properly confined, sweet adorable pitties.
In previous decades, other breeds have been blamed for dangerousness, like rottweilers, doberman pinschers, German Shepherd, and others. When will learn that it’s not about the breed? How many aggressive chihuahuas are there out there, simply, again, because of they are a popular breed and some owners do not bring them up right? But you see, a badly socialized or spoiled aggressive chihuahua hardly seems dangerous. Just pitties. Or rotties. Or shepherds. Or dobermans.
Instead of letting their gut lead the Council, maybe they ought to try actually researching the facts. Unless we want to be like the heartless UK and start seizing family pets, which seems to be the direction we’re heading to, sometimes. Politics should be able rising above primal sentiment to operate on the behalf of the public’s actual best interest. In the case of the breed-specific bans and seizure and muzzle laws, however, we’ve seen a total failure.
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