You may have seen the photos of the Presidential family’s new puppy Sunny recently, but the bigger news, that came with the announcement of the addition to the family, has many tails wagging. The White House released a statement stating that the President is not in support of legislative actions that ban or restrict ownership of particular breeds of dogs. Here is the full statement:
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.
As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.
The breed often targeted in these legislative acts are Pit Bulls, and many organizations supporting the breed are thrilled by the statement. Although it doesn’t change any existing laws, such as those that ban particular breeds such as Pit Bills from living in Military Housing, this statement lets the President’s voice be heard on the matter and many are hopeful that a ban on such legislation might follow. Social Workers, who acknowledge the value of pets to many of our clients, as well as the harm that discrimination can have on those influences, can surely agree that this is a step in the right direction for animal rights and pet lover freedom.
Written by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW