There is a much heated topic that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately and that is BSL or Breed Specific Legislation. With BSL a government can impose a “ban” on a dog based on what the dog looks like. The most focused on dogs are pit-bulls. Now, whether you like them or not, whether you have one or not and whether you care or not, you should understand the idiocracy that is involved in such a ludicrous “law” or ban.
Imposing such a ban is first and foremost unfounded. Even if pit-bulls are the problem dogs that are causing a majority of the problems – the ban does nothing to fix the problem. It has been proven that imposing a ban does not reduce the numbers of bites, it only reduces the amount of dogs of a specific breed. Simply put, if you’re a thug and can’t have a pit bull, you’ll have another dog that will cause problems. This is not to say that thugs own pit-bulls, but it is to say that un-informed people get dogs that often cause problems, others are owned by people who get them for an ego reason and those people are the thugs of whom I speak. Imposing stiffer fines on people who’s dogs inflict injury and requiring training for anyone who owns a dog is a far better approach. Banning a breed is like saying all Catholics should be banned from a particular city because one of the priests molested a boy. We keep arresting the criminals in the inner cities – but the crime remains, doesn’t it.
I’m not comparing humans to dogs here, but I am drawing a comparison on how a broad stroke of the law affects others that have nothing to do with the situation. Focusing on the problem, which is always the owners, is the place to start. Focusing on the overall picture is not where the problem lies. There are many good pit-bulls, many bad ones – many good rottweilers, many bad ones – this holds true for just about every breed of dog. The issue isn’t the dog it is the owner who doesn’t know how to handle his or her dog – or worse yet, those who know what’s going on and do nothing.
Another problem with this type of ban is that it doesn’t work because the ban is based on the look of the dog. So if it looks like a pit-bull, it’s banned! There are several breeds that fall under this “bully” look including boxers, bull dogs, cane corso, rottweilers, and several others. Ban one – You Ban Them All… Imagine a government agency “looking” at your dog and determining it’s WRONG. In human terms that would be as stupid as: If you have dark skin – you’re black, If you have narrow eyes – you’re Asian, If your nose is a little big – you’re Jewish… sound like racism? Well we call this “breedism” or BSL. And it is WRONG.
Through my work I’ve worked with countless hundreds of dogs of every breed and mix imaginable. Through this work I’ve found one consistency: Each dog is an individual. So the consistency is that each dog is different. There has never been a time where I thought that EVERY dog in a particular breed was the same as another. Yes they may have some similar characteristics, but their overall “Drive” or personalities were as different as every human from a particular race.
Yes, there are bad pit-bulls, just as there are bad dogs in other breeds, and we should focus on making our communities safe for everyone. Therefore dangerous dogs should be monitored, controlled or even destroyed if they can’t be controlled. But to go about this haphazardly is throwing a way the baby with the bath water. Dog ownership is far too easy for irresponsible people and tough for those who really care. Any idiot can go to a shelter and get a dog for $50 and when it doesn’t work out, drop that dog off and get another one. There are morons breeding dogs in their backyards and selling them on street corners. All of these situations make it to easy to get a dog and dispose it when you’re done with it – that is to say “when it doesn’t work out.” The only one who loses here is the dog. Like Chris Rock said, “Give guns away for free and charge $5000 for a bullet. ” I’m paraphrasing… However, if dogs cost $2000 people would be more careful with them, they would think it over carefully before they just went out and got one. Unfortunately, animal lives are not that valuable to some humans, you can buy a whole cooked chicken for $7.00 at KFC, a dog for $50 at your local shelter… it’s just another “thing” that humans get when it suits them.
Let’s focus on responsible pet ownership, treating all dogs equally and learn to understand them and give them what they need instead of what we think they need. Banning a breed won’t help solve the problem, so if we want to solve the problem let’s focus on the problem: people, responsible owners, and compassion for all animals. It’s an attainable goal if we set our minds to it!