Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | June 16, 2009

The Bad on Breed Bans

LaJolla the Lovely

LaJolla the Lovely

Second Chance Humane Society and I are firmly against breed-discriminatory legislation.  Breed ban laws exist in approximately 300 different U.S. communities and involve regulating or banning certain breeds of dogs based solely on their lineage, with no regard to the animal’s behavior or temperament.

Fortunately our dog-friendly and progressive region does not have a need or interest in such bans but it is a growing concern nation-wide.  Not only is it discriminatory against a breed of dog known to be an ideal family pet, but new research exposes a high taxpayer cost to ban bull breeds.

An economic study commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society utilized a variety of federal government and other data to develop an online “Fiscal Impact Calculator”.  Best Friends says this tool will help state and local governmental entities calculate the true cost of implementing and enforcing breed-discriminatory laws. The analysis shows that many communities that try to enforce this type of law really don’t have the infrastructure or resources to make it work.

The bottom line is that it would cost governmental entities in excess of $450 million to enforce a nationwide ban on pit bulls, which would include costs of enforcement, kenneling and veterinary care, euthanizing and disposal, litigation and DNA testing.

Other key findings of the study are that there are approximately 72.1 million dogs in the United States, of which approximately five million (6.9 percent) can be described as pit bulls or pit bull mixes based solely on their appearance. 

In some cities, such as Denver, animal control authorities can take a family’s dog away because it is a pit bull or simply resembles a pit bull. Pit bulls usually include the pure breeds such as the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, or the Staffordshire bull terrier, but there are many mixed breed dogs that share lineage of the above-named pure breeds, along with many short-haired muscular dogs that are confused for pit bulls.

Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative analyst for Utah-based Best Friends states, “If you take someone’s property away the burden of proof is on the government to prove that the pet is subject to the law, which means they must prove it is a pit bull. That becomes an extensive, costly battle that could require DNA testing to see if the dog actually is subject to the ban.”

Additionally, breed discriminatory legislation tends to exhaust limited resources in already under-funded animal control programs by flooding the system with potentially “unadoptable” dogs due to the ban. Such bans are essentially canine racial profiling, a misguided attempt to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by dogs.  Breed identification allows for the possibility for error by allowing legally permitted dogs to be captured and euthanized based solely on a person’s opinion on the dog’s breed make-up.  

There is no proof that violent behavior is hereditary.  A dog’s tendency to bite is typically affected by such environmental factors as improper socialization and training, and whether the dog is unaltered or not.  VanKavage states, “many people view this as a property rights issue—‘as long as I’m a responsible dog owner, I should be allowed to have whatever breed of dog I choose.’ The key here is being responsible. Reckless or negligent owners should be prevented from owning any breed of dog.”

Second Chance Humane Society and I support Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary’s efforts to restore the breed’s reputation and encourage humane treatment of all dogs, regardless of breed. My name is LaJolla, a shelter dog here at Second Chance waiting for a new family to take me home.  I don’t even resemble a Bull breed but am writing as a concerned dogizen.  For more information on this campaign visit: savingamericasdog.com.

 
   

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

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