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Breed specific laws don’t work

By   /   January 22, 2014  /   Comments

Last Monday, January 13, 2013, all but one city commissioner voted against the proposed ordinance. The ordinance proposal would require all “pit bull” owners to have a six foot fence with a covered pen that is at least 25 feet from property line. It would also require owners to have $100K of liability insurance, and all dogs would need to be registered. You read it here, good folks. This is called Breed Discriminatory Legislation (BDL).

Laws that mention breed details don’t work, ever. They don’t reduce dog bites, they don’t isolate or target the irresponsible owners or caretakers that allow their dogs to roam freely, or to bark excessively, or those that haven’t spayed/neutered their pets, those that haven’t socialized their dogs, and that use them as breathing security systems. In fact, the folks that are currently breaking laws are not going to be any more inclined to comply and the end result will be quite the opposite. Those that are currently breaking laws will go underground while good caretakers that mean well will be penalized. Some of the owners will comply, while most will ignore it altogether, or they will dump their dogs at the local shelter, and finally, they will open their doors and merely allow their dogs to fend for themselves outdoors, hoping that they make it. The issue with the last two is that they place a financial burden on the county as dogs in shelters require food, shelter and care, while dogs roaming create potentially dangerous situations when they fight over resources such as food,water and shelter, and if the dogs are unaltered, they will fight for females in heat. Worse case scenario, the dogs will join and become packs, roaming the countryside, looking for food and when desperate, attacking livestock or small animals, at worse. Nothing good will come out of your BDL.

Back in March 2012, after Terrell County, GA passed similar breed discriminatory legislation, the county experienced an increase in calls of stray dogs wandering. Their kennels were packed and organizations from out of the county came to help by taking dogs. I know this firsthand because I drove almost 3.5 hours from Atlanta to pick up two of the first four dogs dumped at the shelter because of the ordinance. They came to be known as The First Terrell Four. One of these dogs was not even a bully breed. In fact, she was a Shar Pei mix, but this is what BDL does – it forces good people to panic, neighbors to turn on neighbors, and for people to give up family pets because they are not able to financially support or comply with the laws.

Terrell commission discusses animal shelter, Jennifer Emert
Posted: Mar 07, 2012 10:11 AM EST Updated: Mar 13, 2012 3:18 PM EDT
E:\BSL Back up and Info\Terrell County\Terrell commission discusses new dog law – WTVM_com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports.mht

The 16 pen Terrell County Animal Shelter is full, and since commissioners passed the dangerous dog ordinance that requires pet owners to pen their pit bulls and purchase insurance, they’ve been getting calls for dogs they believe people are turning loose to avoid the expense.

“We are picking up a lot more strays and it does put some strain on us,” said Martha Ann Coe, Animal Control/Code Enforcement Director.

A review of existing Albany laws confirmed that there are both, a leash law and anti-tethering law on the books for Albany, GA. While the laws are “general” at the time of this editorial, adding more details would be a more robust solution than a law that mentions breed of dogs. The issue with mentioning breed is that good dogs that fit the characteristics of the targeted breed, will be penalized from sight alone. There are numerous studies that discredit such practices because they are not scientific and do not produce accurate results. These laws are not based on DNA results and dogs such as Bull mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Dogue de Bordeaux, Boxers, Doberman Pinchers, American Bulldogs, Belgian Malinois, and almost ALL MIXED DOGS, will get penalized and lose their homes, families and lives, because of BDL.

I can safely say that I have met hundreds upon hundreds of dogs that this law would negatively impact, and I can also safely say that their caretakers are hard working, honest, responsible caretakers that do their best to socialize their pets, bring them out to organized pack walks, have spayed/neutered them to prevent unnecessary litters, and give back to the community. My question to the law makers is WHY – why penalize good families and their pets whose dogs are not running loose, dogs that will never have litters dumped at the shelters, and dogs that are trained, social and family pets? Why not instead drill down to the real problem of irresponsible owners that do not comply currently with your laws, and perhaps even add more “teeth” to the law by isolating the back yard breeders that are not paying taxes, that do not have legitimate, legal operations, and that only add to the problems of our communities?

I am a responsible caretaker of dogs that from sight alone you would claim are “pit bulls” and I take offense that my dogs are being targeted for doing nothing wrong. While I am hours away from Albany, GA, my organization will support and manage a professionally, organized communication campaign to fight any type of breed discriminatory legislation, because while we want a safe community as well, we know that dogs aren’t the issue.

To contact us to fight this law :

stubbysheroesinfo@gmail.com

facebook.com/StubbysHeroes

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