But then I look at this sign. And it took a little while for it to sink in.
Now there are absolutely irresponsible owners out there. These irresponsible owners have Pit Bulls, they also have Chihuahuas and St Bernard’s, Golden Retrievers and Pomeranians, Aussie Shepherds and Labradors. In fact every breed might have a bad owner. But most people are not bad and treat their pets as part of a family. We have over 80 million dogs as pets in the U.S. And the vast majority are pets that have never threatened, let alone hurt, anyone.
Irresponsible people should be more responsible, and held accountable. But they are not killing these dogs. Municipalities with archaic BSL are killing them. And shelters with regressive policies are killing them. Animal shelters are the number one cause of death of homeless pet in the U.S. Whether because law allows or demands shelters kill them or they do so through poor practices, this should be the focus on BSL.
But here are numbers from the Dog Behavior Blog:
“The chance of any given person suffering a fatal dog attack is very small. Dividing 37 (the average number of fatal attacks per year) by 310,000,000 (the estimated population in the US), gives us about a one in 10 Million chance of a person being fatally attacked by a dog. This is comparable to one person suffering a fatal dog attack in the entire Los Angeles County (population 10.3 Million) which includes 88 cities.”
With more than 80 million pet dogs in the U.S., this would logically indicate there are a very small number of owners who are irresponsible and have dangerous dogs.
I get the intention of the sign, but what it is saying is that this breed has bad owners gravitating towards the breed. This falsely leads uninformed to the idea that this breed can be more dangerous in general. Even though they mean it is because of an irresponsible owner, this is not how the general public or politicians may comprehend the argument. This type of argument could still lead them to ban the breed because people that have them make them dangerous and therefore get rid of the breed to punish these people. And then the next breed when “those people” gravitate towards another breed. It’s an unending cycle in picking a type of dog to kill because he looks that way.
Which means the BSL stays, dogs die, and the argument is yet again lost.
The argument is that there is no such thing as a dangerous breed. Not when Bloodhounds were considered dangerous over a 100 years ago, or German Shepherds a 100 years ago, or Rottweiler’s, Dobermans, or today, Pit Bulls.
BSL is simply wrong, does not solve any dog incident issues, kills family pets that are well behaved and safe, and generally punishes animals and people for through a misdirected shelter system.