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OCD Bullyologist
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Knives can harm us; do we want to ban all knives? Even forks can harm us; do we want to ban all forks? While these questions may seem absurd, there's another question whose answer raises issues: Dogs can harm us; do we want to ban all dogs? Some people will answer, "Not all dogs, but some." But if all dogs can harm us, why ban only certain dogs from living in our communities?
Sarah saw a stray dog running along the road. She stopped and he jumped into the back of her car. Her husband was a bit taken aback when he saw the dog - a massive gray and white male pit bull. If the dog had been a beagle, he probably wouldn't have said anything.
But he admonished her for taking a risk by letting the dog into her car. She saw no risk. Amigo, as he was eventually named, was never claimed by his guardian and was adapted into a loving home where he was respected as a dog and not vilified because of his breed.
Why does one breed evoke fear and another compassion? Why do we go all goo goo over the black lab puppy but shake our heads when we see a pit bull puppy? (Pit bull-type dogs include American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers.)
And what about those dogs who look like pit bulls but aren't? Should they be maligned just because they look like something they are not?
We enact breed bans and think the problem of dog bites will go away. We become complacent now that (fill in the breed) is no longer allowed in our community. But all dogs have teeth. All dogs can bite. In fact, it is the family dog that is the one most likely to bite.
But instead of teaching our dogs good canine citizenship and our family members how to safely interact with dogs, we ban one breed and believe the problem is solved. And while we all sit back and think we're safe, the family cocker spaniel takes a bite out of little Joey's cheek.
Breed bans appear to be quick fixes - except breed bans don't work. This year's accepted breeds become next year's banned ones and the cycle continues, costing taxpayers money and animal control agencies time and energy with little return on the investment. Enacting aggressive dog laws is a far better approach to protecting a community against dog bites.
Fur*thermore, even the Centers for Disease Control supports the position that irresponsible owners, not breeds, are the chief cause of dog bites.
John was fixing his dogs' evening meal. His toddler, Eric, was playing nearby. One of the dogs, Maddy, attacked Eric. Fortunately, the boy was not seriously injured. The dogs, however, were banished from the home. John admitted he wasn't paying attention. The dogs were in a heightened state seeing their food being prepared. The toddler had just started walking around the house so was unsteady on his feet. All these events collided.
Had John stepped back for a moment and realized his dogs were excited and his toddler was a possible source of annoyance to them, the attack might have been avoided and his dogs, two poodle mixes, would not have lost their home.
Of course, there are those who purposefully train their dogs to attack, those who engage in dog fighting or who want their dog to be the most menacing on the block. Those people can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. To ban an entire breed of dog is as useless as banning knives and forks.
"The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being." - Konrad Lorenz
Teaching our dogs to be good canine citizens and teaching our children to respect dogs will reduce the number of dog bites. Banning one breed of canine will not.
Note: Please support your local animal shelter with your time, talent, money and most of all your kindness, by adopting these beautiful creatures.
-Next month, ailurophobia (fear of cats). Ginnie R. Maurer lives in Falling Waters and can be reached at [email protected]
 

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BSL don't work....we had it for more than 15 years in the netherlands. More people were bitten by other dogs as Golden Retrievers and German Sherpards. So the BSL is banned and the Pitbulls are allowed again. We have now a new law. When a dog bites, big or small it have to take a temperament test. When it's agressive it have to wear a muzzle and must be always on a leash. When the owner ignors the law he have to pay a high fine and the dog will put down.
 
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