Insurance companies, Home Owners Associations, and even entire cities and townships have jumped on the "Breed Banning Bandwagon". Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows ... all have a substantial black mark on their reputation these days, and it's become to a common thing for the owner to watch as people cross the street and shoot dirty looks as she walks her well-behaved Rottweiler down the street. People who lived in controlled neighbourhoods with a Homeowner's Association are not allowed to have any of the potentially "dangerous" breeds as pets. Insurance companies are starting to refuse policies to people who own these dogs. And in some cities, people have had their dogs confiscated and euthanized due to strict by-laws. Animal shelters are no longer adopting out these breeds, but rather euthanizing them on receipt.
Wow. Whatever happened to our dog loving countries?
What makes a dog aggressive and dangerous anyway? Is it their colour? Black and Tan dogs with the few exceptions of toy-sized dogs (Dachshunds, and Miniature Pinschers come immediately to mind) it seems that most black and tan dogs induce fear on sight. Is it their name? Staffordshire Bull Terriers have "Bull Terrier" in their name, they must be evil? What about shape? Any dog with a broad head or cropped ears is game for the breed banning fanatics?
It sure looks as though this is the criteria used to enforce Breed Specific Legislation. It still doesn't answer the question above though, does it? What really makes a dog, any dog, dangerous?
The answer is a scarey one, especially considering that the real criminal rarely gets punished. The owners of the dog are what make a dog dangerous.
Bad dogs are not born, there is no genetic mutation present in certain dog breeds that make them turn against their owner or reach out and bite their latest victim. Bad dogs are created, usually by the people who raise them, less often by unscrupulous breeders who deliberately or unknowingly breed unsound temperaments to another unstable temperament. Every dog is a product of his environment. Every puppy born is born innocent of future charges levied against him by the public.
What will happen when certain parties have their way and the latest "dangerous" breed is eradicated? There will be no more Pit Bulls, what will take their place? When all the Doberman Pinschers are gone, what breed will be next? I'll tell you. America's sweetheart, the Golden Retriever, will be next. As long as the owners are allowed to get a dog and raise it to be a monster, any dog breed can take the next spot on the Banned Breed List. Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles have the same amount of teeth as a Chow, and put just as much pressure on as a Poodle. But nobody fears these dogs. Cocker Spaniels and other small breeds have unbelievable bite records, yet people don't panic at the thought of facing one on the street.
What we have now is a band-aid solution. It will work for a very short period of time. What is needed is an implementation of much harsher laws dealing with animal cruelty, neglect, and, yes, maybe we should be looking at licensing dog owners along with their pets. Convicted of animal neglect or cruelty? Then you shall never own another animal again. Why should people be given another pet to ruin?
How can we, as a society, justify euthanizing dogs on sight at shelters and calling for the destruction of dog breeds that make wonderful companions, when the real criminals walk free? What is wrong with this picture??