Last week was an important one for dogs in the White House. Not only did the Obama family welcome Sunny, a 14-month-old† Portuguese Water Dog, but President Obama made a statement against breed-specific legislation.
Here’s the official White House Statement on WhiteHouse.gov:
“We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate.
As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.”
Although it is not yet a federal law, Pit Bull lovers nationwide are pleased to see that Obama is opposed to BSL at all government levels. Responsible Pit Bull owners are often misrepresented by the small percentage of irresponsible owners contributing to the negative stigma attached to the breed.
Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls (BADRAP) has been educating the public with their monster myths. In a recent study of 122 dog breeds, by the American Temperament Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls achieved a high passing rate of 83.9, compared to the 77% score of the general dog population.
Next: What you can do to help end BSL
Although BSL currently often indirectly refers to Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes, the targeted breed appears to change every decade. In the ’70s it was the Dobermans. In the ’80s, the German Shepherds. (That, of course, all changed when German Shepherds became guide dogs and military working dogs.) Then in the ’90s, the bad dogs were the Rottweilers. It’s been the Pit Bulls for the last couple of decades, which only adds to the huge number of Pit Bulls that end up in shelters. Is breed discrimination really any different than human discrimination? It’s basing false premises on the skin color and appearance of a dog, rather than a fair observation of their behavior.
Paws crossed that Obama’s statement against breed-specific legislation is noticed and heard!
What you can do to help end BSL
- Become educated. The National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign is a nationwide effort to bring positive awareness and attention to the American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Speak up. When you hear neighbors and friends speak negatively about any breed, gently provide educated statements to help them expand their thinking.
- Volunteer at your local shelter. Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes are overcrowding shelters. Help in whatever way you can.
What do you think of Obama’s recent statement? Do you think Pit Bull’s are discriminated against unfairly? Thanks for posting your thoughts in a comment below.
Delivering Calm, four paws at a time!
Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Calm your Canine Companion music series when you sign up for the Through a Dog’s Ear newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!