Breed Specific Legislation is still an ongoing fight. Many (mostly non-dog folk) believe that it is an effective method of protecting the general public from so-called dangerous dogs.
I’d like to tell you that it’s not. It’s not a fix, quick or otherwise. Breed Specific Legislation is a people problem, not a canine one. Once we’ve realized that, we’ll see, and quite clearly, that banning one particular type (it’s not a recognized breed here in Canada) of dog solves nothing.
Herein lies the real issue. The statistics you hear about regarding seeing an increase in dog bites, particularly of those by the pit bull (or anything remotely looking like one) are not true. By true, I mean they do not give you a proper outlook of those numbers. They tell you there is a percentage increase over the last five years for example. All is well and good, but what kind of numbers are we really talking about? In what area was the poll taken? Was it inner city where there are traditionally higher numbers of pits in small areas or was it state-wide with a variety of demographics taken into account? If it was a small population of people then the percentage of pits vs bites would seem higher. Whereas in a large population of people (inner city for example) with a higher number of pits per square kilometre, the percentage would seem lower, despite their being a larger amount of pits in that area. So when there is a rise in pit bull bites (according to whom?) in said area, again, the geographic information can make a big difference to its significance. Something that is not ever explained or shared. It’s also something most don’t even think to ask about.
Now that we’ve got the truth behind the numbers being shown with the typical biased slant the media is known for, how about we tackle what Breed Specific Legislation actually does.
The reality is not so pretty as our government would like it to be. It doesn’t lower dog bite rates. It doesn’t lower the population of dogs in any one area, or any area for that matter. What it does do is it puts to death hundreds of dogs that have not done anything wrong other than simply look like or be a pit bull. It literally rips loving, friendly, non-aggressive pets out of the arms of their owners, straight into a shelter and disposed of. A lot of times before the owner is actually able to do anything about it legally. It sees children not comprehending why their beloved dog, who did NOTHING WRONG, killed simply because of what it looked like.
In humans that would be called racial profiling. That would also go against our basic human rights. It’s also something that is being fought against tooth and nail right now all over the world in light of the Paris bombings. *holds my hand up* Yes, I know dogs and people are not equal. But the same problem holds true for both. With racial profiling in people, the reasons we have made it illegal is because you cannot, with good faith, condemn them all for the actions of a few. Do you see where I’m going here? So tell me why exactly are we allowing our governments to do that exact same thing to our loving pets?
The media. The media “reports” dog attacks in such a way that in every case it is suspected to be that of a pit bull or pit bull mix or type that is to blame. I have to ask. Is it really the fault of the dog? When children act out, do we look at the child and blame them? Or do we look to the parents and wonder why they aren’t doing anything about it? We blame the parents, of course and rightly so. It is their job to teach their children how to properly behave etc. It is the same with dog ownership. Each dog owner is responsible in teaching their dog manners and how to properly behave in public. It is for their safety as well as that of those around them.
So why, why are we blaming the dog for not having been shown what is rightly basic obedience and manners? Should that not be the onus of owner? Unless that animal has acted in an aggressive, non-provoked manner, they don’t deserve to die for their owners ineptitude. The owner should be told to sign up for training to learn not only the skills necessary to teach and guide his dog in proper behaviours, but also how to become a responsible owner. The trainer gives the owner and dog a pass or fail on whether they’ve (singularly or collectively) learned what they are supposed to out of the program. If they fail, they (the owner) could face jail time or a second chance in the program.
Prisons are full of programs to rehabilitate inmates. Why aren’t we doing the same to those that apparently don’t know any better? Some just simply aren’t going to learn simply because they don’t want to. But I’m betting others will. I’m also betting the majority will. I also think that their relationship with their dog will show them which is the better route to take. Nothing strengthens a bond quite like working hard together towards a common goal.
I just wish we could implement this type of program instead of destroying the innocent and those that we can rehabilitate, which in all honesty is most, if not all.
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