Published On: Sat, Jul 15th, 2017

There’s Certainly A Place For Pit Bulls In South Florida

BROWARD COUNTY, Florida – It goes without saying that we all share the same goal of a safe and humane community, in Tamarac and elsewhere. That’s why organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, along with tens of thousands of individual advocates throughout the state and country, work so hard to fight against failed policies like breed discrimination and in favor of proven solutions like breed-neutral ordinances that focus on the behavior of dogs and owners alike.

We do this because we know that scapegoating and fear-mongering won’t do anything to keep us safe and because breed-discriminatory laws, like the one being changed in Tamarac, have been shown, time and again, to be totally ineffective at improving public safety.

What these laws do accomplish, sadly, is to tear loving families apart and to overwhelm our municipal shelters with great dogs that don’t belong there in the first place. Removing a family pet because of misguided preconceptions and because of its appearance is the wrong approach.

Unfortunately, Stein’s entire thesis relies on the scientifically disproven theory that pit bull terrier-like dogs are somehow different than, either genetically or temperamentally, other breeds. This thinking simply does not comport with the field of animal behavior. The experts have consistently found that breed is not a reliable factor in determining a dog’s behavior.

If you look at studies in a number of countries with breed-discriminatory laws (sometimes referred to as breed specific laws), they show that breed simply is not a factor in the frequency of dog bites. These findings are consistent in every peer-reviewed research paper that has examined the issue.

Based on these studies and concerns about due process violations and property rights infringement, the American Bar Association, the National Animal Care and Control Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and Best Friends Animal Society are all firmly against breed discrimination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on its study of human fatalities from dog bites, also promotes a breed-neutral approach to legislation. The CDC found that many other factors, besides a dog’s breed, such as reproductive status, heredity, sex, early experiences, socialization, and training, can affect the likelihood that a dog could bite someone.

Finally, Stein asserts that in South Florida, “there should be no place for pit bulls.” Thankfully, 84 percent of Floridians disagree with him and believe the government shouldn’t tell responsible dog owners what kind of dog they can love.

Full story: www.sun-sentinel.com

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