There is a petition going around in my city to ban ‘pit bull-type’ dog breeds. Since many of the smaller communities in this area already ban Pits in their little bergs, I knew it was coming, but I am still amazed at the notion that this is a solution to irresponsible dog ownership and isolated events. Not to mention the ever popular ‘Now that we have them banned, let’s work on dogs over 70 pounds because they could be a problem too’ cascade effect that always seems to follow.
The ban was started by an individual who I have the utmost empathy for as she had to watch in horror as her little dog was killed by presumably, a pit bull. I can easily understand where her fear and hatred come from and cannot imagine the pain she is must endure as that scene plays out in her head, day after day. Her position, while in my opinion is a bit misguided, is very understandable. And though she started the ball rolling, she is not the issue. She can be forgiven.
What cannot so easily be forgiven is the idea of painting an entire breed with the board brush of prejudice, as the proposed law would require. Like people, dogs of any one breed are not good or bad, they are individuals and the law should deal with them as individuals rather than as a whole. This is not a breed issue, aggressive dogs come in all shapes and sizes. In the nine years I have lived in this city and walked my dogs on a daily basis, I have run into a few aggressive dogs and NONE of them were pit type dogs. (I have dealt with two Labs, a German Shepherd and some little fluffy who actually bit Ammulett, my Leonberger, who was quite surprised. Luckily my 135 pound girl couldn’t believe the little dog was that stupid and gave her leave with a soft warning growl that sent the fluffy scampering).
It is an uneducated culture that presumes to punish the innocent because of the guilty. It is an unenlightened society that asks us to leap to un-thought out action about another because of fear. It is the tragic stand of a community that not only condones prejudice, but makes a law requiring it. Have we learned nothing yet? Do we not rail against prejudice every day in our society to abolish it? And now we are asked to presume an entire breed of dog is to blame for the actions of a few. Prejudice is never an answer, no matter who it is directed at.
Yet none of these things makes it wrong.
It denies us the opportunity to see the beauty of an individual. THAT is what makes it wrong.