If you look up a list of “dangerous breeds” you may be surprised at the content. We all think we know which breed(s) are bad, but we don’t. What we do know is that some dogs are trained to be bad and their training taints the entire breed.
There are a lot of cases in the news about pit bulls mauling other dogs or people. They are now the “in” bad dog breed. At one time, German shepherds would have been on the top of the list. They’ve moved down to number four. That says a lot.
Breed specific legislation: In some states, pit bulls and other dogs are banned. If they wind up in a shelter, they are immediately put down. If a family owns one, the dogs (if found) are removed from the home and euthanized. Why? Because they are “dangerous.”
“Animal abuse:” Now let’s take a look at what an owner could be charged for if a dog has been trained to kill. Unless it’s a person who has been harmed, the charge is usually animal abuse. Depending on the location and the severity, first time offenders may only get a fine, especially if video evidence isn’t provided. They may be restricted from ever owning a dog again. What happens to the dog? After they go through quarantine, they are usually put down.
What should we do? If a dog (not breed) is a problem, it’s the responsibility of the owner to take care of it. The best time to keep a tragedy from happening is to properly train the dog. Classes are available to help train a dog from being aggressive. Socializing a dog while it’s still a puppy can help.
What about the owners? An incident witnessed by a family member has crystallized what I feel should be done. Two dogs that were *trained* to attack killed another dog in front of two small children and in front of my relative. I’m not mad at the dogs. I’m mad at the people who trained the dogs to kill and then couldn’t keep them under control.
By now, the dogs are probably gone, but the people causing the problem face very little punishment for that particular incident. It was “only a dog” that died. Instead of legislating breed laws, we might want to consider beefing up the owner laws.
Which breed is next? Once breed restrictions on pit bulls and other “vicious” dogs have been enacted, does that mean all the problems will go away? No, it doesn’t. It means that yet another dog breed will be chosen and trained as attack dogs. When we get down to attack Chihuahuas, will that be the end of breed specific legislation? It’s time to wake up and face the real attackers…those that train the dogs in the first place.