Service Dog Taken From Disabled Man Because Of Breed Ban
This both makes me angry and happy at the same time. Angry because of the “Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)” erupting all over the states now took this man’s trained service dog simply because the dog is a Pit Bull, but happy that this man was reunited with his best friend.
Now, first of all, I am very experienced with dogs in many facets. I began formally in obedience training 35 years ago, when I was 12 years old, and have many first and second placements in obedience trials (lol… had an English Bulldog once that decided to go schmooz with the judges first when I gave a “come” command). I have worked as a vet assistant for many years in my younger days. Also trained and competed in canine agility trials, and my dog has won several titles (no, never made it to masters for those who are familiar with agility – that’s never been a goal). I used to breed Siberian Huskies many years ago. And now I volunteer with canine rescue and adoption with one of our local shelters and the women’s prison, a program called Heeling Hearts. My current two dogs came through Heeling Hearts before I adopted them – or rather, I fell so much in love with them, I kinda yanked them out early from the program because I didn’t want to wait any longer. 😀 Being a trainer, this was not a problem with those who formally run this program. Additionally, my closest friend (who originated Heeling Hearts) is a professional breeder, groomer and trainer, and she has been in the Westminster Dog Show three times in her younger years. To take a dog to this level really is a money-pit and consumes your life. Now, she devotes a large majority of her time to Heeling Hearts. Anyway…. to get back to the point of this posting….
I’m not shy, so in other words, I have a lot of experience with dogs from all backgrounds and many breeds. No, I’m not the “Dog Whisperer,” but I am confident in my knowledge and ability.
The “breed bans” have SO outraged me, as well as most breeders and trainers I know. The ignorance behind these laws is thick, and turn my stomach. Yes, there are breeds who, genetically, are more aggressive than others, and there are breeds that “yap” more than others, and breeds which require more exercise than others, and so on and so on. “Choose wisely, young grasshopper” for the breed that will best suit both your lifestyle and personality.
But to specifically ban and euthanize a dog because of it’s breed? Insane. Dogs, just like people, are often a product of their environment, and American Staffordshire Terriers, aka “Pit Bull,” is the breed that typically receives the brunt of the pain from ignorance of others passing these completely insane laws. “For the Love of Petbulls” website says this very well:
“Banning Pit Bulls would be like banning cars because people get killed in car accidents! Who’s responsible, the car or the driver/manufacturer? Any car can be deadly in the wrong hands or if built with defective parts. Same thing with dogs… Any dog. Pit Bulls are no more responsible for the way they are bred, raised and trained, than cars are responsible for the way they are designed, built and driven.”
Pit Bulls have a horrific history of being used in illegal dog-fighting; have been raised to purposely be aggressive for whatever reason the owner has (property protection, drugs, what-name-you). BSL is not limited to Pit Bulls as there are many other breeds banned as well. Wikipedia has a fairly decent list of banned breeds in various states as well as countries.
The law should not be banning breeds, however, but enforcing strict laws on those who raise, train and utilize any breed of dog in a violent manner. I have a family member in law enforcement who trained a beautiful German Shepherd for law work… and Rex was trained well. He was trained to do his job when TOLD to do his job. In normal circumstances, you would be able to surround Rex with babies and toddlers all pulling and yanking on his tail and ears, and the worst he would do is lick them to death.
I do feel for the victims of unwarranted dog attacks, however, the law must go to the root of the problem and not slap a band aid on the wound in order to pacify the victims and their families, the uneducated public, and most certainly, not to earn “bravo” points in an attempt to look like a hero (inside tip here to those “heros”… you look like complete fools to those of us who are much more educated than you are with dogs). Most dog attacks of the sort which began the whole BSL are because those dogs were products of their environment, and has little if anything to do with their genetics. In fact, the ONLY two dogs which have literally turned and bit me without warning were both dachshunds. Now, nothing against dachshunds… my point here being if I were to count all breeds I have been around, I have handled many of the BSL breeds as I have non-BSL breeds, yet the only two intentional bites I received were from a non-BSL breed, which also happens to be a small dog. And, honestly, the first one I asked for… I was young and picking up my friends “cute little weenie dog” without asking permission only to find out that this “cute little weenie dog” was old, had back problems, and did not want to be held. The second time was when I was working at the vet and the dog was frightened. A very normal reaction in that specific circumstance.
Which brings me to the fact that the circumstances as to why a dog has just bitten someone must be considered as well. Was the dog completely startled and surprised? It is not abnormal for a frightened dog to react with a bite. Was the dog cornered and taunted by some stupid punk? If so, then I side with the dog…
Then there also becomes responsibility of the dog owner. Is your dog properly maintained? Do you love your dog? Do you ignore your dog? Do you tease your dog? Do you praise your dog when it’s aggressive and then yell at your dog when it isn’t? Do you have a secure fenced yard? Or do you just let your dog roam around unattended to do whatever they feel like doing. Nothing boils my blood more than seeing pet dogs running around, crossing traffic, and getting into whatever mischief they feel like doing. Dogs are, after all, animals. As much as I feel like my dogs are human – if not more human than some people – they are still animals. And if I were to let them wander around unattended to and they bite someone… that’s my own damn fault.
Laws do not make responsible dogs. Dog owners make responsible dogs. Do not ban a dog because of their genetics, but enforce strict laws, fines AND jail/prison time for those who purposely breed and raise aggressive dogs, or abuse their dogs in some manner. End of my rant.