UPDATE: Good news - Sterling Heights is reconsidering the breed discriminatory ordinance. Keep circulating the petition and calling the city council members asking them not to pass an ordinance targeting American Pit Bull Terriers.
Sterling Heights will soon be voting on a breed discriminatory ordinance targeting "pit bulls."
The problem of reckless owners and dangerous dogs are not remedied by canine profiling. All dogs can bite. Studies of pre and post breed ban dog bite rates in the United Kingdom and Spain concluded that their pit bull breed bans had no affect whatsoever on reducing dog bites.
Another insidious problem seen with canine profiling is the potential for abuse. The result is selective enforcement that sometimes is triggered simply by the ethnic background of the owner.
Breed discriminatory laws cause unintended hardship to responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised and well-socialized dogs that happen to fall within the regulated breed category. Although these dog owners have done nothing to endanger the public, they may be forced by the municipality to either give up their dogs or move out of their home. The pets that are given up are killed.
The most harmful consequence of breed-discriminatory laws is their tendency to compromise rather than enhance public safety. Resources are shifted away from routine, effective enforcement of laws that have the best chance of making our communities safer: leash laws, good generic dangerous/vicious dog laws and reckless owner laws.
Indeed, since the advent of DNA testing to determine the heritage of a dog it would cost $181,820 for Sterling Heights to enforce a breed discriminatory law. Given the budget crisis this is simply a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Topeka, Kansas repealed their pit bull restrictions because of identification problems and expense. After extensive research, Dearborn, Michigan (near Sterling Heights) decided not to pursue a "pit bull" ordinance.
Please ask Sterling Heights City Council members to vote NO and reject breed discrimination. Responsible dog owners should be allowed to own any dog they choose, reckless owners should be prevented from owning any dog.
Photo by Melissa Lipani, Best Friends Animal Society