Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are Pit Bulls inherntly vicious?

A recent news article about pit bulls attacking a man and his dog highlights an ongoing debate-are certain dog breeds just basically aggressive? People often have a knee jerk reaction and answer this question with a definite yes. This is especially true among law makers and city counselors. What an easy way to get votes. Just ban Pit Bulls from your city. After all, who would want grandma to get attacked by a roving band of dobermans?

The answer is of course nobody would, but banning a specific breed or labeling it as aggressive are simplistic points of view. The fact is a doberman is a big strong dog, and yes he will be aggressive if you train him to be. But like any dog, he will also be a loving, devoted companion if properly socialized. Unfortunately, some locales like Denver have already taken action to ban certain breeds of dog.

Pit bulls are not the problem, people are. Time and again you hear about someone being attacked by a group of 3 or more Pit Bulls. One article I read described a lady working in her yard when four pit bulls appeared out of nowhere and attacked her. My first question is, why are these dogs roaming about on the streets in the first place? There is a ready answer: owners who don't take responsibility for their dogs.

If you own dogs its important for you to keep them properly confined. If they don't attack someone, they might get hit by a car. So instead of blaming an individual pit bull, first lets put the blame where it really belongs, on the owners who are letting these dogs get out of their yards. Priority one needs to be getting people to properly confine their dogs for the safety of their dog and for the safety of the community at large.

Secondly it doesn't have all that much to do with the breed in my opinion. A pit bull might be inclined toward rampant aggression if you train him that way. But if he is raised in a loving, responsible family, he will turn out to be a friendly dog. I have a friend that owns two pit bulls, and they are sweet as pie.

Newsflash to lawmakers: It has nothing to do with the breed. Banning a specific breed of dog is a feel-good, simplistic solution that in the long run does absolutely nothing. Ban pit bulls, and people will begin fighting some other large confident breed. Then you'll have to ban them too. What you should ban or prosecute is irresponsible dog ownership. Its the behavior and not the dog, stupid. Today its pit bulls, next year it might be Akitas, or how about boxers?

So I think responsible ownership should be promoted, instead of going after a particular type of dog. What do you think?

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