Pit BullLast night in Boston, dog owners from across the state gathered to oppose the proposed statewide pit bull ban calling it discriminatory and almost unenforceable!

And although pit bull supporters outnumbered pit bull ban supporters, Rep. Vincent A. Pedone, a Worcester Democrat and co-chairman of the committee said the committee is likely to approve a comprehensive bill that might call for outlawing pit bulls in Massachusetts.

Many pit bull owners at the hearing said they supported a bill by Rep. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich, that would establish statewide standards for communities to declare any dog as “potentially dangerous” or “vicious.” Under the bill, communities would not be allowed to regulate specific breeds.

Barbara L. Hays, executive director of the Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield, a regional animal control center for Holyoke, Springfield, West Springfield, Hampden and Chicopee, said she also opposed bills that would regulate specific breeds.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover,” said Hays, who attended the hearing.Pit Bull Puppy

Hays said, however, that a lot of people own pit bulls as a status symbol or because the dogs are considered macho.

She estimated that Springfield is home to about 15,000 pit bulls and Holyoke, 6,000.

Of the 98 dog bites reported to the center last year, about 38 came from pit bulls or pit bulls mixed with another breed, Hays said. “It’s the breed of choice for a lot of people for a lot of the wrong reasons,” she said. (Source – The Republican)

We’ll be keeping an eye on Massachusetts to see if they go with BSL or the ‘dangerous or vicious’ dog legislation.

To be honest, I just don’t get it, politicos who are uninformed and lacking in knowledge try to pass laws about things they don’t know or understand! Today it’s the pit bull breed but it years past it was German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweillers to name just a few.

Breed specific ordinances are quick fixes and not a sufficient long term solution for the following reasons:

1. Dog problems are generally problems with owner responsibility and are not limited to breeds. When breeds are singled out as dangerous or vicious, responsibility is removed from the dog owner which is where it belongs. Irresponsible people are also less likely to follow the law – and as a result, everyone has to suffer.

2. By limiting the ability of citizens to own certain breeds, responsible law abiding citizens will shy away from those breeds. These are the types of owners that communities need to encourage, not drive away.

3. Communities that have instituted such bans often find that the irresponsible owners and the criminals who use dogs for illegal purposes simply switch to another breed.

4. Breeds and mixes are hard to identify and often dogs are mislabeled and destroyed based on paranoia and prejudice and also punishes those that are good canine citizens. Many breeds function as assistance dogs for handicapped owners, search and rescue dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, police dogs, etc. and drives them out of the community.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and several state veterinary medical associations oppose breed-specific legislation for just this reason.

5. The dog most restricted is the “pit bull.” A pit bull is a type of dog, not a recognized breed. See the breed information page for more detail.

6. Passage of laws that are only enforced through complaints cause two problems: 1) they create disrespect for the law if authorities require compliance only upon complaint, and 2) they provide ammunition for neighborhood feuds. (From PBRC)

This is something that people need to realize; Dog attacks are usually the fault of an irresponsible owner, not a specific breed. Therefore, banning an entire breed will solve nothing. The irresponsible owners will just most likely move on to another breed, and continue making bad choices regarding their dogs. BSL targets the breed, not the owner where the responsibility belongs.

More Facts

BSL is Unconstitutional as found by US Courts:

  • The United States Supreme Court – Nicchia v. People of the State of New York 254 U.S. 228 (1920) : gave police the power to regulate and control dangerous dogs with drastic measures, as long as it does not infringe on the dog owner’s right to liberty with due process.
  • The Alabama Supreme Court – WAF/Sheila Tack v. Huntsville Alabama (2002): upheld a decision that pit bulls were no more inherently dangerous than any other breed. This case was very costly to the city of Huntsville.
  • The Toledo Municipal Court– Tellings v. City of Toledo CRB-02-15267 (ACF 2005): ruled American Pit Bull Terriers are not dangerous and granted dog owner’s due process rights.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court – State v. Cowan (103 Ohio St. 3d 144, 2004-Ohio-4777) (2004) struck down ORC955:11 which declared the “Pit Bull” vicious, because it violates our rights to be heard (due process).
  • Westbury, NY (Spring 2003) court ruled that the city’s BSL was unconstitutional and repealed the law.

Organizations against Breed Specific Legislation:

  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • The American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • The United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
  • Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC)
  • American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS)
  • National Animal Control Association (NACA)
  • Maryland Veterinary Medicine Association
  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
  • American Canine Foundation (ACF)

Now if all of these highly reputable organizations are against BSL, doesn’t that make people realize they maybe they should have second thoughts about imposing BSL, aside from the fact that it has been found to be unconstitutional in many US courts of law?

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