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The Case Against Breed Bans - The Facts

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Help Stop Breed Discrimination!

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic - Veterinarian East Kendall Miami FL 33176
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The American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and nearly all animal welfare charities oppose Breed Specific Legislation.  These laws claim the lives of countless adoptable dogs, and cause irreparable damage to the human animal bond.  Miami Dade county's pit bull ban is inherently un-enforceable, as pit bulls are a type of dog rather than a specific breed.  American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are all considered pit bull type dogs.  In addition, there are as many as 20-30 other breeds such as boxers, Mastiffs, and American Bulldogs that are commonly mistaken for pit bulls, and unfairly caught in the dragnet.  
 
To date, there is no evidence to suggest that breed bans or restrictions contribute to improved public safety.  The Netherlands repealed its breed ban in 2008, as did Italy in 2009, based in part on a study by a German veterinarian named Dr. Esther Schalke which demonstrated BSL was ineffective.  While the UK has had BSL since 1991, a study published in 2008 showed the number of people hospitalized for dog attacks has INCREASED by almost 50% in the past  decade, despite 17 years of BSL.  Just this year, Gov John Kasich signed a bill legalizing pit bulls in his state.  In addition to its failure to decrease dog bites, the law cost Ohio's taxpayers approximately $17M per year to enforce.  Our county's pit bull ban diverts funds that are desperately  needed by the animals in our shelter.  According to Animal Services insiders, in a recent year, 1,989 dog bites were reported. Only 33 were from pit bull type dogs, yet approximately one thousand pit bull type dogs are euthanized in our shelter every year, based solely on the suspicion that they are a pit bull type dog.
Veterinary medicine  has thoroughly and repeatedly debunked the myths that these dogs are naturally aggressive, have jaws with locking mechanisms, or attack without warning.  In the spirit of fairness, it is important to acknowledge that all dogs, regardless of breed, can and occasionally will bite.  Countless studies in veterinary medicine have linked aggressive behavior to tethering, inadequate training and discipline, poor health and nutrition, and lack of exercise.  Other studies cite lack of mental stimulation and inadequate socialization prior to the age of 14 weeks as causes of aggression.  In all documented pit bull attacks, the dogs involved were intact males.  Pet owners MUST spay and neuter their pets!  Dogs from pet stores and puppy mills have a higher than average incidence of dominance type aggression, and defensive or fear aggression.  These issues can be resolved by promoting owner awareness of proper care and socialization, and adopting Dangerous Dog Legislation, which ultimately holds individual dog owners responsible for the actions of their pets.

Furthermore, banned breeds ultimately tickle the fancy of a small, yet dangerous segment of the dog owning population that use these specific dogs for anti-social purposes.  As these owners acquire more and more dogs, serious incidents - and fatalities - associated with banned breeds become prominent in the public press.  In the era of slavery, public attitudes towards bloodhounds paralleled the increasingly negative attitudes associated with the dogs' most publicized function - slave catching.  Later in the 20th century, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers became associated with the Third Reich and feared by the general public.  In Australia, the importation of German Shepherds was actually banned until 1973.  Pit bull type dogs, including "Petey" from the Little Rascals series, enjoyed an excellent popular reputation until the mid 1970's when the underground world of dog fighting came to light.  Rather than focusing on the people who fought the dogs, the media focused on the dogs.  Myths of super canine powers began to dominate the stories.  And as had happened with the bloodhound, the myths attracted the kinds of owners who use dogs for negative functions.  Sensationalized, saturation style reporting of incidents involving dogs called pit bulls linked them in the public mind almost exclusively with criminal activity. This small subset of dogs being used for these negative purposes, sadly, came to define the millions of pit bull type dogs living peacefully as family pets.

It is therefore the opinion of this veterinarian that more fair, humane alternatives to BSL include community education with an emphasis on bite prevention, proper pet selection, and understanding of canine behavior, as well as the enforcement of Florida’s Damage by Dogs Law (Citation: FL ST §§ 767.01 - 16; § 705.19; § 823.041; § 823.15)  which holds owners accountable for the actions of their dogs.

I respectfully urge all citizens of Miami Dade County to continue to work towards the repeal of the pit bull ban.

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Phone Number (305) 595-1450
Email scac10710@gmail.com
Visit Us 10710 SW 113th Pl. Miami, FL 33176
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