Should There Be a Ban on Specific Dogs? Essay

Should There Be a Ban on Specific Dogs?

There are plenty of different breeds of dogs that could be considered dangerous. The main targeted breeds are breeds such as Pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds. According to the American Humane Association, an organization founded in 1877 dedicated to the welfare of animals and children, “An estimated 4.7 million dog attacks occur in the U.S” (5). Some people argue that a ban on specific dog breeds is the answer to this problem. But others such as Pit Bull Rescue Central, a shelter and resource for owners and caretakers of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and pit bull mixes, argue that, “When breeds are singled out as dangerous or vicious, responsibility is removed from the dog owner which is where it belongs” (7).

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Though both sides make a good point, specific breeds of dogs should not be banned because it cost too much, it would be punishing good dogs, and it would be discrimination against dogs. Breed Specific Legislation or “BSL” is a statute or regulation that is directed toward one or more specific breeds of dogs. BSL started in the early 1980s when the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by certain breeds (such as pit bull dogs) brought a lot of attention to the public and was perceived as a need for more stringent laws governing restraint of dogs. There have been organizations formed such as the Endangered Breed Association and the American Dog Owners Association that were created just to challenge BSL because there are so many reasons why BSL would not work.

When people think of BSL no one ever think about how much it’s going to cost. BSL is enforced by animal control agencies (by extending their duties) that are already low on money. “Extending their duties means extending their budget as well, we would be spending an extra 560,000 dollars a year on enforcing the ban” stated by the American Humane Association. (8) Costs can include additional animal control staff to enforce the law, the care of dogs awaiting breed determination and/or appeal, court time costs, and veterinary care. So the question is, is the ban worth that much money? A recent article by ASPCA, an organization that fights animal cruelty, stated that “There is no proof that theses bans really work, they seem to be more costly than effective”. (4) That being said banning the breeds would actually harm more than it helps.

What about the good dogs and the good dog owners? It was stated in a recent article by Love-A-Bull, an organization created to educate and to advocate on behalf of the American Pit Bull in 2003, that “It’s estimated that there are 5 million “pit bull” type dogs in the United States—the vast majority of which are well socialized, great pets”. (3). BSL also causes hardship to responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs who happen to fall within the regulated breed.

Although these dog owners have done nothing to endanger the public, they are required to comply with local breed bans and regulations unless they are able to mount successful (and often costly) legal challenges. Lastly, no one thinks about that fact that BSL is discrimination against dogs. The basis for BSL rests only on the appearance of a dog such as the size of the body, shape of the head, and length of the hair. In other words, it is guilt by association— you look like a guilty dog so you will be treated like a guilty dog. It would be all the same if this were humans we talking about. This matter could easily be compared to the Holocaust. Hitler, tried to take out a whole race by appearance- blonde hair blue eyes. How is this not the same? Even the Animal Humane Society called BSL the “Doggy Holocaust”. You cannot ban all African-American people just because people feel they are dangerous. There are a lot of laws against discrimination. If it is illegal to discriminate against humans, why should it be ok to discriminate with animals? Animals have rights. So when and how would it be ok to throw their rights out the window on unproven facts.

Now people may argue that specific dog breeds should because these breeds are the most dangerous. In recent article by Dog Bite Law, a website that informs dog bite victims, parents of victims, dog owners, homeowners and others about bullies breeds dog bites, it was stated that “In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while in the 2000s this has increased to 26”. (4) People believe that this is evidence that the ban would be necessary. However, in the late 2000s, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds. The CDC also noted that when communities establish a ban, people will just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

The truth of the matter is that there has been no scientific evidence that any dog attacks differently or more frequently than others. In conclusion, specific dog breeds should not be banned. The cost of banning a whole breed of dogs would be more costly rather than helpful. Banning a specific breed of dogs would not be fair to all of the dogs that are not attacking or being harmful, nor the owners who take care of them. Lastly, BSL is discrimination to dogs. Although people feel that these bully breeds are more dangerous than other breeds, there is no proof or evidence that this is true. Therefore, specific breeds should not be banned.

Work Cited

“Breed-Specific Legislation.” Breed-Specific Legislation. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2013. Web

“Breed Specific Legislation.” ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2013.Web Burrows, Tyrone and William Fielding. “Views of College Students on Pit Bull ‘Ownership’: New Providence, The Bahamas.” Society and Animals 13.2 (2005), 139-152. Print Ott, Stefanie A., et al. “Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed-specific legislation regarding aggressive behavior.” Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 3.3 (2008), 134-140. Print Keuster, Tiny De, et al. “Epidemiology of dog bites: A Belgian experience of canine behaviour and public health concerns.” Veterinary Journal 172.3 (2006), 482-487. Web Cornelissen, Jessica M.R. and Hans Hopster. “Dog bites in The Netherlands: A study of victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors to support evaluation of breed specific legislation.” Veterinary Journal 186.3 (2010), 292-298. Web Collier, Stephen. “Breed-specific legislation and the pit bull terrier: Are the laws justified?.” Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical
Applications and Research 1.1 (2006), 17-22. Print Weaver, Harlan. ““Becoming in Kind”: Race, Class, Gender, and Nation in Cultures of Dog Rescue and Dogfighting.” American Quarterly 65.3 (2013), 689-709. Web Tortora, Daniel F. “Safety training: The elimination of avoidance-motivated aggression in dogs.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 112.2 (1983), 176-214. Print Hallsworth, Simon. “Then they came for the dogs!.” Crime, Law and Social Change 55.5 (2011), 391 – 403. Print.

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