Pit bulls are one of the most misunderstood canines in the world. This, in part, is due to the fact that there is no definitive breed under the title “pit bull.” As early as 1986, bans on pit bulls were starting to become the topic of discussion.
It was not long before they pit bull laws were put into effect. Unbeknownst to most, pit bulls are not the only dogs that have been banned before. Breed specific legislation refers to a myriad of different canines, including German Shepherd, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers.
The bans range from England’s national “Dangerous Dog Act” to the many local community pit bull bans in the U.S.. However, with so many conflicting and confusing stories surrounding these dogs, it’s a wonder that such bans can exist at all. However, the tides seem to be changing, as several communities are reversing their bans.
Cambridge News reported on the repeal of a ban in Cambridge, Wisconsin, that started with Sherlock the pit bull. At first, the pit bull was granted a special variance after being found to be with an owner in a local condominium. A week later, a vote was put forward to repeal the ban.
“Ultimately the village decided to grant a variance with terms including a review of how the dog was behaving in the future. It was then necessary to review the original ordinance to see if any changes needed to be made. The licensing committee approved a recommendation to lift the ban, and this action bothered some residents.”
Although they are returning to it in a few days, the outcome is unlikely to change.
The ban in Ohio, that was discussed before the Mount Gilead council, was a far more organized push to end the local pit bull ban. The Morrow County Sentinel reported that even the village solicitor seemed to push back on the established ban, and called it “unenforceable”. The majority voted to repeal, and instead decided to have a “repeal and replace” strategy.
“With a vote of 3-2 the Mount Gilead Village Council voted to repeal the ordinance that bans Pit Bulls from within the village of Mount Gilead in favor of ‘stronger owner responsibility’ ordinances.”
The solicitor intends to write a more general “vicious animal” ordinance coupled with the “stronger owner responsibility” to combat the issue.
In Kansas, the potential pit bull ban has taken on a stranger format. KSNW-TV reports that El Dorado is mere weeks away from their pit bull ban repeal. The council heard from pit bull owners, as well as concerned citizens on the opposite end of the spectrum. Their ordinance that is up for consideration is a little more odd, and more restrictive than the other towns.
“The draft ordinance being considered by city leaders ends the ban on pit bulls, but puts numerous restrictions in place, like mandatory microchipping and sterilization, annual licensure and a 2 pit bull maximum per household. It also calls for steeper fines and possible removal of animals that exhibit dangerous behavior.”
This all begs the question: Should breed-specific legislation exist at all?” Should we legislate animals at all? As more communities ponder these questions and these ordinances change, it is important to consider both dog and man?
What are your thoughts on “pit bull bans” and breed-specific legislation?