Why Pit Bull Banning Has to Stop.
By: Monica Rodriguez
"What has been accomplished by Ontario's pit bull ban is that the government has been allowed to avoid the more difficult task of regulating human behavior and finding the resources to educate the public in a meaningful way." -- Clayton C. Ruby, Lawyer for the legal challenge against the Ontario government. Breed specific legislation laws have become very common around the world and controversy has been there best company. There are people who agree unconditionally with these laws, and there are also people who say that these laws against specific breed are not only useless, they just make more damage that the one they pretend to avoid. The controversy has grown a lot in the last years, the issue has gained such popularity that is frequently discussed as political campaigns, television programs, daily conversations and, of course, in legislative bodies. Is it true that there is some specific breeds extremely dangerous genetically made to attack people, and only those dogs are capable to cause severe damage or death? If this is true, laws against those specific breeds are justified, but… what if they are not true? If they are not true, these laws are only folding societies eyes to not see what are the real factors that make dangerous dogs, and in consequence, they will be getting away of any real solution to these problems.
In the 70’s clandestine dogfights became more frequent in the United States. They were generally associated to criminal activities, like gangs and narcotrafic. The most frequent dogs used for these fights were “pit bull” types including bull terriers, Staffordshire terrier and other pit bull mix. The news about the dogs circulated around the world and caught society attention for there security. Of course, the breeds used to dogfights such as pit bulls were considerate dangerous around the world even when little decades before they were considerate the best loyal, farm and family dogs. In the mid 70’s one dog killed a child in California and the fear shot out. Pit bulls became murderers monsters that had to die. After that incredible myths and stories got weave around them. Sadly, the media made a good job attacking the breed covering every dog attack and blaming it on pit bulls. For these decades TV’s, newspapers and radio were the only common source society had as media. “Clearly the media and the public of the late 1800s and early 1900s had a grasp on the causes and reasons for dog attacks….. However, not all cases involved provocation; some dogs attacked due to territorial or dominance issues, and there are always cases when a dog attack cannot be attributed to any motivations that can be understood by humans”.(page 61, Karen Delise)
Breed specific legislation laws have people who defend them and also people that oppose to them. Both bands have arguments to justify their positions. One of the most common argument used by the people who is in favor of the breed specific banning laws are that pit bulls are stronger and more dangerous than other dogs. It is true that pit bulls are very strong for their size, but there are other breeds that are way much stronger like German Sheppard’s, San Bernard’s and Labradors. On the other hand, the dangerousness of a dog is not measured by how strong they can be is measured by their behavior. Pit bulls are very energetic dogs that need to exercise, socialize and be well educated or instead they will become more conflictive, but this behavior is common on all dog breeds that have a lot of energy. “Numerous positive social experiences can teach a pit bull puppy to enjoy the company of other dogs”(ASPCA, American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
Frequently people say pit bulls are unpredictable when they attack, but almost on every dog attack clear advertences occur. Dogs with neurologic problems or dogs that have been abused are more likely to attack without advertences but this are very rare case. A well-socialized pit bull presents all the stress and aggressive signals as other dogs, and as same as other breeds, pit bulls don’t attack without reasons. Another false argument about pit bulls is that they attack to death. These attacks are abnormal and are commonly seen on abuse, hungry and sick dogs. Also in situations were dogs feels threaten and have no possibilities to escape. The majority of pit bulls and other breed dogs avoid dangerous situations were they feel vulnerable either getting away or showing submission to people or other dogs.
Even though its said that pit bulls don’t feel pain, there is no scientific proof that, but in the other hand there are scientific proofs of the fact that dogs generate big amount of adrenaline while being in dangerous situations letting them continue when they don’t have another alternative but attack. The idea that pit bulls attack more than any other breed is partially false. An scientific study made by de CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says that the majority of the fatal attacks are propagandized by pit bulls, Rottweiler’s and mix between these two breeds. How ever the same study clarify that the data obtained are not indicators that the breed are more dangerous than others because the identification of the breeds are nor presided and because there is no knowledge of the population size of every breed. Also there has been a big change of dog population among the years causing the rate of attacks increase or decrease by breeds. “To decrease the risk of dog bites, several communities have enacted breed-specific restrictions or bans…Indeed, since 1975, dogs belonging to more than 30breeds have been responsible for fatal attacks on people, including Dachshunds, a Yorkshire Terrier, and a Labrador Retriever”. (Page 839, Jeffrey J. Sacks, Leslie Sinclair and Julie Gilchrist).
However the first problem with these arguments is other, all the arguments used to justify the breed specific ban are trying to proof that this or that breed (usually pit bulls) are extremely dangerous instead of evaluating the efficiency of these laws to reduce dog attacks. Nowadays, is very easy to evaluate if these laws are effective or not, sense they are force around the world many years ago. If these laws haven’t worked and the attacks still the same, then that is a very strong argument against them more than just the sympathy or antipathy that pit bulls cause en the population.
Is a fact that these laws are very expensive and according to the dictator of these laws, is better to invert those resources to accomplish regulations about tendencies of animals in general and not only for a breed or a small group of canine breeds. Is been proved that even dogs experts confuse very easily the types of dogs. In particular, pit bulls are very easy to get confused with other breeds, in fact a lot of laws for dangerous dogs indicate that any dogs that adjust to the standard description of a American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or and American Staffordshire terrier are considerate as pit bull, even if any of there ancestors is one of these breeds. This difficultness added to the sensationalism that sown pit bull today, influence in the attacks reported as pit bull without even verifying the breed of the involucrate dog.