Pit Bull Who Protected Injured Owner Re-homed Due to Breed Ban
A family in Maryland not only lost their house in a fire Dec. 2 – they also lost their beloved dog Precious and her puppy, Molly.
Precious and Molly survived the fire. But because they are pit bulls, which are banned in Prince George’s County, where their family lives, they were confiscated and taken to a shelter.
When firefighters entered the burning house, they found Precious standing guard near April Newell, her unconscious owner. She wouldn’t budge until the firefighters sprayed an extinguisher in her direction.
All the family members, including the pets, were safely removed from the house before it was destroyed by the fire. As Newell lay unconscious on the lawn, Precious remained by her side. A video showing her loyalty went viral.
“She just wanted to protect her mommy, that’s all,” Megan Sanchez, Newell’s sister, told NBC Washington. “And her house.”
Newell and her father were taken to a hospital. Their three dogs were taken to a shelter, where Precious and Molly would have to remain until they were adopted or turned over to a local rescue. The third dog is not a pit bull, so she was returned to her family.
The good news – well, bittersweet news — is that Sanchez, who lives in Maryland’s breed-friendly Montgomery County, has adopted Precious and Molly, so at least their former owners will be able to visit them.
Precious, Molly and all other pit bulls cannot live in Prince George’s County because they are considered dangerous. Since 1997, it has been a criminal offense in that county to ”own, keep or harbor” pit bulls, which include Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL), laws like this that ban or restrict certain types of dogs based solely on their breed or appearance, is sometimes referred to as “breedism” because of its similarity to racism. These bans essentially remove responsibility from the dog’s owner and puts it on the dog’s breed.
It’s telling that virtually every major animal organization in the country – including the ASPCA, American Veterinary Medical Association and Humane Society of the United States — as well as the president of the United States — opposes BSL.
BSL unfairly punishes well-behaved dogs and responsible owners, these animal experts say. How a dog is treated has more effect on its behavior than its breed. Instead of BSL, most animal organizations support ordinances that address what they regard as the true cause of dangerous dog problems: irresponsible owners.
Besides, banning pit bulls because they are “dangerous dogs” has not increased public safety anywhere these laws have been enacted, including Prince George’s County. Twelve years ago, a county task force found the ban’s public safety benefit to be “unmeasurable.”
As a longtime pit bull owner, it makes absolutely no sense to me that humans in Prince George’s County — and everywhere else in the U.S. — can walk into any gun store and buy weapons that can kill scores of people – yet it’s not guns but Pit Bulls that are banned, because they are allegedly a threat to public safety.
Not only is BSL unfair and ineffective, but it’s also very costly to enforce. Prince George’s County spends $280,000 each year confiscating pet pit bulls. Imagine all the better uses for those millions of taxpayer dollars, such as spay/neuter programs for all breeds, shelter improvements and a program that educates people about responsible dog ownership, for starters.
Fortunately, as awareness grows about the uselessness of BSL, the growing trend nationwide has been to repeal these laws.
Earlier this year in Michigan, a dog named Ice protected her owner, Jamie Kraczkowski, as her boyfriend beat her in their Hazel Park home. But because Ice is a pit bull and Hazel Park banned the breed, Krackowski had to either surrender her hero dog to a shelter or move out of town, which is what she chose to do.
After this unfair situation gained international attention, the Hazel Park city council voted to end its breed ban.
Hopefully Precious, like Ice, will serve as a catalyst in convincing the Prince George’s County Council to repeal its unnecessary breed ban. Please sign and sharethis petition so other faithful dogs like Precious don’t have to be taken from their loving families.
Photo credit: YouTube