Repeal the Prince Georges County Pitbull Ban
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Guardian Rescues was established as a voice of advocacy for Bully Breeds in Prince George’s County Maryland. In 1997, a law (PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD., §§ 3-101, 3-116.01, 3-185.01 (1997), was passed to ban Bully Breeds due to the presumable aggressive nature of the breed. In summation, the law states that no person can "own, keep or harbor" a pit bull terrier, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, if a person has owned the dog prior to November 1, 1996, then he or she may continue to keep their dog as long as they remain in compliance with certain conditions, such as registering it with the Administrator of Animal Control and keeping an ID tag on the dog and keeping the dog inside or on a secure leash. Therefore, any puppy born after November 1, 1996, is prohibited. This is considered absurd. So, in retrospect, a decision was made based on dated data and the beliefs of a biased few, that an entire breed is banned in just this one county and not the entire state. I feel that it has been long enough, it is undeniably trivial that one county, Prince George’s County, attempt to eradicate an entire breed of dogs; and in which the 10-year plan has proven ineffective and unsuccessful. The data used to aid in the decision of the ban was completely inadequate, fabricated, and based solely on the judgment of an obviously prejudiced few. In sticking to the facts, this breed of dog is known not only for their loyalty and tenacity, but most important and overlooked their compassion. Aggression towards humans and other animals is a learned behavior taught by the owner. Principally, if there are stiffer penalties, i.e. fines for the owner, this is an issue that could easily be resolved. As stated by 20+ year bully advocate, Adrianne Lefkowitz, “The dogs are a reflection of the owners' attention. The owners are always the last word in a dog's behavior because we're the ones that have the leash and we're the ones who instruct the dog on how to behave in a household, whether we realize it or not," Lefkowitz said. "It's how a dog is managed."
In detailing how Prince George’s County unfairly treats any dog that resembles a Pit Bull Terrier, is much in the likeness of how people of certain economic backgrounds or ethnicities are profiled, targeted, and wrongly convicted just because they are misunderstood. Only in Prince George’s County is this breed of dog captured, taken to a facility, and if not claimed within 5 days, euthanized with no chance of rehoming and no chance of rehabilitation; it’s not even considered. In the event that the dog is claimed within that extremely short timeframe, the owner must wait a minimum of 90 days before a trial date can be scheduled considering they don’t deem the dog “vicious”, hefty fines and boarding costs are incurred during this waiting period, and even after the case is heard there are still weeks of processing formalities before the dog can be released to an individual with an address outside of Prince George’s County. How is this fair or just for this breed or the people who have adopted them as a part of their family? If stiffer penalties were in place for “All” dogs deemed “aggressive”, this law would have never passed. It was only passed into law because, in lieu of educating the public and attempting to understand the breed, it was easier to just lock them up and begin the process of eradication. Does this sound eerily familiar? When the spike in popularity for the breed grew in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was also another growing trend. The bully breed was not the only breed that was handpicked and bred for what they could be taught and the level of pain that they could inflict. However, every other breed that was touted for its abilities would be placed on a pedestal.
To single out one particular breed of dog in an attempt to completely eliminate them from a county is at most reminiscent of a time period during the 1940’s in Germany. Have we not grown as a country to see the injustices brought to the breed for no fault of its own? No offense intended to any specific community of people, but this needs to be heard; Bully Breeds could be inherently considered the “New Jews”, and in keeping with the analogy, P.G. County synonymously, German Nazis. With all being considered we know the outcome of this stigma and I will not stand for it. As owners and lovers of Bully Breeds, our goal is to do away with this stigma and unfair treatment of all Bully Breeds. We will not stand idly by while these beautiful misunderstood companions are wrongfully captured and killed. It is our mission here at Guardian Rescues, that No Bully is left behind. Every Dog Deserves a Second Chance.
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