How Dog Breed Bans Hurt Pets & People

  The British Prime Minister has announced his plans to “ban the American XL Bully” breed of dog and add it to the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) banned dog list.

  This ban will require current owners of the American XL Bully dogs to neuter, microchip, and secure their pets  with a lead and muzzle at all times when the dog is outside. In addition, the owner must have insurance in the case of the dog attacking someone. If people are found to be in violation of these rules, the person can be disqualified from ever owning a dog in the UK again, as well as the dog being taken and “destroyed,” which is a disgusting term to use on a living being, and one that is widely considered an equal family member at that. 

  These laws target dogs that have no way to act the way they do without the influence of a bad owner. The UK’s leading pet health organization, the Kennel Club, showed that more people research their supermarket list or a pair of shoes than purchasing a puppy. Many new pet owners jump into buying a dog without properly researching the dog’s background, neglecting the special care or training needed. As a result, dogs of neglectful owners like such often lash out due to the lack of proper training. If that dog then lashes out, the dog is put down instead of the person being punished or charged for the attack as a proxy for the dog. Irresponsible people should be held accountable if their dog causes harm, rather than specific breeds being “controlled” and seen in the public as dangerous.

  Even without discussing how gross and inhumane these laws are for simply owning a dog, these rules are not even going to work as intended. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have reported that the pit bull breeds are not as “disproportionately dangerous” as people make them out to be. AVMA also stated that “it has not been demonstrated that introducing a breed-specific ban will reduce the rate or severity of bite injuries occurring in the community,” citing hospital records in the UK. In addition, Ann Linder (Associate Director of Policy & Research at the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard)   released a paper showing that even with breed specific legislation (BSL), public safety did not improve and the breeds most responsible for bites were in fact German Shepherds, which are not targeted in BSL.

  Moreover, dog bans like such has also been historically employed to oppress minorities.  According to Stacy Coleman, the executive director of the Animal Farm Foundation (AFF), “[throughout history], there is a perception that racial minorities tend to own pit bulls” and such bans are “implicitly discouraging minorities from moving to a given area [where the dog bans are enforced].” And while these statements may seem unfairly extrapolated when supporters of the bans such as Bob Fitzgerald, judge in Aurora, Colorado, states that the reason for the ban is because they do not “want ‘those people’ here,” the curtains are pulled back.

  Dogs are animals; they are going to behave like one if not trained: without training, biting incidents will occur regardless of the growing list of banned dog breeds. It is time for pet owners to provide proper training and for lawmakers to reconsider the true efficiency of dog bans in enhancing public safety.

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