Do Bans on Pit Bulls Really Work?

The city of Platteville, WI is considering a proposal that would ban all Pit Bulls, Pit Dogs, and Pit Bull Terriers. Care2 member Kieryn Aigner was so upset about the ban that she started a petition targeting her city demanding that the ban be reconsidered.

The Humane Society of the United States states why Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) doesn’t work and misses the scope of the problem. Their website states:

Most breed-specific laws are created as a misguided response to a dog bite incident or attack. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has found that no breed is more dangerous than another.”

The Humane Society and the AVMA are not alone in their beliefs. American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) also expresses concern over the use of BSL, calling such legislation “ineffective” as a way to decrease the amount of dog bites. 

Certified dog and cat behavior consultant Steve Dale goes on to cite examples that show why BSL doesn’t improve community safety:

  • In 2008, the Dutch government repealed a 15-year nationwide pit bull ban after a government study demonstrated that the ban was ineffective.
  • A year later, Italy repealed their ban, with both countries instead concentrating on supporting responsible ownership.
  • Denver enacted their ban in 1989. Since then, the rate of hospitalizations in Denver due to dog bite related injuries has been higher than nearby breed neutral Boulder, CO.
  • In 2013, a national study in Canada found that BSL wasn’t an effective tool to lower dog attacks. However, public education, and dog owners taking responsibility for their pets has proved extremely effective.
  • For example, in Calgary proactive public education programs resulted in a 50 percent decrease in reports of dog aggression. An important focus of these programs is humane education in schools.

A peer review summary, recently prepared by the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Divsion, reports that limiting ownership of specific breeds has been suggested by some to reduce injuries, however there is no evidence that breed-specific bans reduce the rate or severity of bite injuries in the community.

Their survey based data stated “it is inappropriate to make predictions about a given dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior based solely on its breed,” since there is so much variation within breeds. 

The environment, the target, the conditions the dog was kept in and the training methods used were all more contributing factors than the specific breed.

They further that “Pit Bull type” dogs carry a strong stigma, but controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous. Further more, there is much ambiguity of the Pit Bull type as a “breed.” The Humane Society of the U.S. is concerned that the term “Pit Bull” usually encompasses three separate breeds, along with any mixes of those breeds.

As Aigner  states in her Care2 petition, “Veterinarians and other professionals working with dogs routinely admit that American Bulldogs, Presa Canarios, Dogo Argentinos, and Boxers are commonly mistaken as Pit Bulls when bites are reported because it is challenging when it comes to classifying a real pit bull.”

Sign the Don’t Bully My Breed petition, and let’s convince Mike Denn, City Ordinance of Platteville, Wisconsin to reconsider the ban on Pit Bulls.

If there is an issue you care about in your community or worldwide, you can start a Care2 petition like Kieryn Aigner. Care2′s community of activists will join you in your cause and help you make a difference.

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120 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Sorry, previously signed and shared

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Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Ban idiot, cruel, irresponsible and ignorant people. Petition signed and shared

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

No, bans do not work and are completely unfair. Pits can be wonderful, loving dogs, if they're treated right.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

No, but the owners that treat them aggressively do, temperate dog, temperate person, whoops should be the other way round.

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Sandra D.
Sandra D3 years ago

Pit Bulls used to be used as nannies!

It's not the dog; it's the owner. Raise a lovable, big baby and you will have a lovable, big baby. Raise a ferocious danger to society and that's what you will have.

That goes for any breed.

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Petition signed

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

No bands don't work, they haven't in Queensland. Being a responsible owner works wonders.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W3 years ago

No they don't, it depends on their owners how they grow up, treat them gently and they will be gentle, aggressive owner, aggressive owner.

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dagmar karin dag
dagmar karin dag3 years ago

No hay que discriminar a ninguna raza de perros,los pits bull,son perros que no atacan,son los dueños cuando son agresivos que los educan asi,hay personas a las que les encanta la violencia,y los perros,al querer complacer a los dueños,se comportan como ellos esperan,no existe un perro malo o agresivo por naturaleza,un perro cuidado y protegido desde que es cachorro,siempre es docil,ningun perro tiene mal instinto,las personas si,bata de cilpar a los perros,hagan responsables a las personas

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