Breed Profiling is the Pits
Posted on 9 Jun 2010 by Nicole
As a dog daycare owner I get to meet lots of different breeds of dogs. I was really excited this week when we had a blue pit bull named Franklin come to play with us. Franklin is one of the sweetest, happiest dogs I’ve met since I opened Dogtopia. He’s wonderful in the playrooms with the other dogs and has a great temperament. So I was I was more than a little taken aback when some of the comments I got from friends when I told them about Franklin were along the lines of “Oh my God, I can’t believe you guys let pit bulls play with the other dogs!”
Of course we let pit bulls play with the other dogs. We evaluate each individual dog that comes to Dogtopia based on their temperament. Not every business in Charlotte, or every town in North Carolina agrees with that idea, however.
In February a Mount Holly man and his greyhound were attacked during a walk by a pit bull, which led him to propose a pit bull ban to the Mount Holly City Council. According to Joe Katon, a Gaston County resident, responsibility for attacks like that fall on the owner’s shoulders, not the dog’s. “We’ll never break through the misconceptions of what pit bulls are” noted Katon. He believes that pit bulls are such a hot topic these days because people own them just to say they have a pit bull and don’t understand the responsibility, training and exercise this high-energy breed requires. In Katon’s blog The Gaston Gallop he states, “Dogs cannot be merely placed in our homes without any expectations, rules, boundaries, exercise, and mental foundation. The result of failing to provide these things to ANY breed creates an animal that is destructive, hyper, and dangerous.” The breed specific legislation is still currently under review by the Mount Holly City Council, but pit bull discrimination continues.
On April 29, a pit bull named Bella escaped from her family’s fenced in yard and was shot and killed by a Cabarrus County Animal Control officer even though she showed no signs of aggression. The animal control officer stated she wasn’t worth his time to catch. The officer was recently cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Department investigation. According to a press release from the Sheriff’s office the investigation “determined that the officer acted appropriately to protect the potential harm presented to the citizens by shooting the pit bull that could not be captured.” Since the shooting Bella’s family has created a non-profit organization called Justice for Bella. The goal of the organization is to seek the termination of the animal control officers involved and increase training for future animal control officers. More than 12,500 people support their cause on Facebook.
Even here in Mecklenburg County our Animal Care & Control office is prohibited from adopting out a dog classified as a pit bull. Luckily they partner with the Humane Society of Charlotte to help find loving, responsible homes for pit bulls brought into the shelter. The Humane Society of Charlotte even held an Adopt-a-Bull Party on April 10 to showcase some of the pit bulls available for adoption, as well as to educate the public about what great companions pit bulls can be and how myths about the breed have been an obstacle to placing them in new forever homes.
The truth of the matter is that breed specific legislation is never going to be the answer to reducing the number of dog attacks that occur or bites that are reported. The answer is stronger enforcement of dangerous animal ordinances, animal license enforcement, spay/neuter legislation, and education about responsible dog ownership that includes training and exercise. Animal Care & Control offers humane education classes for students, businesses and pet owners to learn more about bite prevention, pet ownership and local ordinances.