Winnipeg, Canada has a breed discriminatory law banning "pit bulls." Breed discriminatory laws fail to enhance public safety. 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 effect whatsoever on reducing dog bites.
Not only are breed specific laws ineffective, they also are extremely expensive to enforce. How do you tell if a dog is a "pit bull" and not a short-haired muscular mutt? Indeed, Hiawatha, Iowa repealed their pit bull terrier ban because of identification problems and expense. Topeka, Kansas also recently repealed their pit bull terrier ban for the same reasons.
Please help Canadian animal advocates by asking the Winnipeg Councillors to repeal their breed discriminatory law.
The problem of reckless owners and dangerous dogs is not remedied by breed-discriminatory laws; 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 effect whatsoever on reducing dog bites.
Indeed, Hiawatha, Iowa repealed their pit bull terrier ban because of identification problems and expense. Topeka, Kansas also recently repealed their pit bull terrier ban for the same reasons.
Now that DNA testing is available to determine the breed of a dog, breed discriminatory laws have gotten very expensive for cities and counties to enforce.
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, dog license laws, spay/neuter laws and animal fighting laws.
Rather than breed-discriminatory restrictions, animal control laws should allow animal control wardens or law enforcement officers to declare any dog to be “dangerous” regardless of its breed if it attacks a person or companion animal without justification and causes physical injury or death, or behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons or companion animals. Any dog that is found to be “dangerous” should be required to be:
1. Spayed or Neutered. Studies have shown that more than 70% of bite cases come from animals that are not neutered. If a dog is found to be “dangerous,” it should be mandated that it be spayed or neutered.
2. Micro chipped. If a dog is found to be “dangerous” it should be required to be micro chipped so there is a permanent identification of the dog. Dogs of some breeds are easy to confuse, especially if the owner has multiple dogs of the same breed.
3. Muzzled. All “dangerous dogs” should be required to be muzzled when in a public place, and walked by a person at least 18 years of age.
Winnipeg should follow Calgary's lead and enact a comprehensive breed neutral dangerous dog law.
Thank you for your consideration.
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