A potential breed ban in Medford, Ore., has divided residents and ignited debate about whether banning pit bulls will do anything to improve safety in their community.
A number of incidents and an attack that resulted in $4,000 in vet bills for an Anatolian shepherd in September caused a stir and led to calls from the dog’s owner and others to enact a breed ban.
According to the Mail Tribune, the Medford Police Department was asked by the City Council to look into the matter and is recommending a few options, which could include an all out ban, or a requirement to have pit bulls spayed/neutered. According to the police department, just more than half of the incidents reported involved pit bulls or pit bull mixes, but police also admit pit bulls are the “dog of choice” for drug dealers in the area.
Medford resident and pit bull owner, Tyler Woodard created a Care2 petition urging the City Council to focus on owners with aggressive dogs, instead of unfairly targeting pit bulls because of their breed. Woodard is calling for public support and asking canine experts to come forward to offer testimony about the breed and why breed bans are ineffective.
Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States, discouraged a ban, saying it had the potential to be “explosively divisive.” He added that the state already has dangerous dog laws in place and noted that a newly enacted anti-tethering law would limit dogs being chained, which is linked to aggression.
Numerous other organizations have also already come out against breed bans, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Animal Control Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and the International Association of Canine Professionals, among others.
Last summer, the White House also came out with an official statement against breed bans stating that “research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.”
Clearly opponents of breed specific legislation recognize that any dog can bite and that targeting certain breeds doesn’t address the real problem, which would be irresponsible owners. Opponents also support common sense alternatives, including public education about dog behavior and bite prevention, leash laws, low cost spay/neuter programs and laws that hold owners accountable for their dog’s behavior.
Unfortunately, calls for breed bans continue to pop up in new areas, despite being costly and difficult to enforce, not to mention the issues that come with trying to identify a breed based solely on looks or the fact that “pit bull” isn’t actually a breed, but a term used to describe several breeds including Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers.
The Medford City Council will be accepting public comments and holding public hearings about this issue, but the dates have yet to be announced.
Please sign and share the petition asking the Medford City Council not to discriminate against pit bulls.
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