The Issue Of Breed Banning In America: Pit-bulls

Within the volcano of politically charged debates that take place in contemporary society, one topic which in recent years has since been pushed to the sidelines and swept under the rug is the issue of dog breed bans. The pit bull terrier, in particular, has caused a media firestorm after controversial instances of pit bull attacks on owners sparked a wide-ranging debate on if the specific breed should be outlawed in every state. Despite the fact that pit bulls have been genetically predisposed to be more aggressive in certain scenarios, they certainly should not be banned. Breed banning, in general, is nonsensical as it is entirely up to the owner to properly train their pet, breeds such as pit bulls are not inherently inclined to attack people, and almost every instance of recent attacks from ban dog breeds came as a result of neglect.

One of the most significant reasons that breed banning should be discontinued is on the merit of it being up to the dog owner to properly train their pet. Going back to the notorious example of the pit bull terrier, the pit bull is an intuitive dog which if trained correctly can be not only a loving member of the family but a protector if the occasion should arise where one’s life is in danger. The Science Daily article titled Dogs Are Aggressive If They Are Trained Badly which was written by Kim Nguyen, chimes in on this subject when she mentions “Many dogs are put down or abandoned due to their violent nature, but contrary to popular belief, breed has little to do with a dog's aggressive behaviour… This is shown in a new study from the University of Cordoba, which includes breeds that are considered aggressive by nature, such as the Rottweiler or the Pit Bull. The conclusions, however, are surprising: it is the owners who are primarily responsible for attacks due to dominance or competition of their pets”. The same study also proved that breed has less significance in regards to pet aggressiveness when compared to an owner who is neglectful of their animal. The fact that certain breeds have been shunned as a result of owner mismanagement is unfortunate, to say the least, and with studies such as the only published by the University of Cordoba, it is with high hopes that dialogue changes.

Contrary to popular belief, breeds such as pit bulls are also not naturally inclined towards attacking people. The history and bloodline lineage of pit bulls dates back decades as they were once bred for working purposes. The pit bull terrier was originally responsible for an act known as “bull-baiting.” In fact, the pit bull terrier was historically dubbed simply as the “bull-baiting dog.” As mentioned on the ASPCA website article titled Position Statement on Pit Bulls, “Today’s pit bull is a descendant of the original English bull-baiting dog — a dog that was bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head. When baiting large animals was outlawed in the 1800s, people turned instead to fighting their dogs against each other. These larger, slower bull-baiting dogs were crossed with smaller, quicker terriers to produce a more agile and athletic dog for fighting other dogs”. In the modern context, this is also predominantly the reason why pit bulls today have such a strong grip, so much so that an urban legend used to exist that pit bull terriers had lockjaw. Although this is not true; an animal such as a crocodile rather has lockjaw, pit bull terriers just have extremely hard bites making them another easy target of breed banning.

The last reason breed banning is nonsensical and should be discontinued is because in almost every case of attacks on humans from banned breeds such as pit bull terriers there was some form of neglect either on the part of the owner or the person being attacked which led to the assault taking place. The media, in particular, has especially seen this aspect of the debate as juicy, as pressing headlines such as “pit bull owner attacked by pet” can easily be pushed out to the internet and clicked on by millions of people. Unfortunately, this only aids in creating the harsh perception the breed already has and in bringing these attack cases to the limelight, few people actually research the reason further than just reading a headline. Take for example the case of a Florida infant that was mauled to death by a pit bull back in 2018. In this case, as mentioned in a Fox News article, “Upon arrival, a family member informed authorities the pit bull jumped onto a bed next to the infant’s crib before attacking the child, a police report provided to Fox News states. Moments after, the child’s grandfather entered the bedroom and recognized the trauma to the infant, at which time he retrieved the infant from the bassinet, placed the infant on the floor and started CPR”. Notwithstanding the fact that the parents of this infant left the child alone with a fully-grown dog, something that should never be done no matter the breed, a pit bull terrier is not a dog fit to be owned with a young child. Different breeds are compatible with different people and lifestyles, and this again breaks down to the owner’s ignorance.

In conclusion, although certain breeds of dogs especially the pit bull terrier may be genetically predisposed to having more aggression if not trained properly, they certainly should not be sanctioned by a ban in North America or anywhere else in the world for that matter. There are far more pressing issues to combat, such as the current opioid epidemic which is sweeping the nation and killing thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people.

Works Cited

  • Farber, Madeline. “Florida infant dies after being attacked by pit bull in crib, police say” Fox News. N.p., 17 Nov 2018.
  • Nguyen, Kim. “Dogs Are Aggressive If They Are Trained Badly” Science Daily. N.p., 1 May 2009.
  • “Position Statement on Pit Bulls” ASPCA. N.p., n.d.  
16 December 2021
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