Please Don’t Bully My Breed

Katelyn Bittke, Opinions Editor

You sit down at dinner, flip on the TV and your local news is flashing across the screen. The reporter says, “and now we bring you a truly devastating story: a child has been attacked by a dog.” Naturally, your mind goes straight to the dog breed known as the Jaws of the dog world, the pitbull. You are then shown footage of the child in the hospital bed, where you sympathize with the child’s mother who says, “Suzzy” was just walking on the sidewalk and this crazy vicious dog leaped through a hole in the chain link fence and mauled her. Too often these stores appear, and yes it is horrible when any child is injured, but the sympathy for these victims comes at a high cost.

The public has all this built up hatred toward the seemingly violent creature who is behind this bite of destruction. Pitbulls are thrown under the bus of being the constant villain, or a Captain Hook. But really, do these constant 6 p.m. news stars deserve this bad reputation? The answer is no. During a brief news story, you are not going to learn the background or family life of this animal, whether the child was taunting it, and what kind of conditions the animal is living in.

Currently, Mississippi has introduced a bill that is first of its kind, and solely against the pitbull breed. The law, if passed, would allow police officers to enter a home where they believe a pitbull might be present and the officers would be allowed to kill the animal if two of the following three factors apply:

1. The dogs are “not under proper restraint when on the premises of its owner.”

2. They aren’t wearing vaccination tags on their necks.

3. They are still running around after “attempts to peacefully capture the dog have been made and proven unsuccessful.”

This potential law, also called the Mississippi Regulation of Dangerous Dogs Act, its meant to “ create new penalties for failing to keep dangerous dogs criminal penalties for failing to keep dangerous dogs securely confined and under restraint, and for failing to meet certain requirements designed to protect the public.”

This law is a death sentence for dogs that are not only pit bulls, but according to the law, breeds that resemble or are mixed with pit. That means that if you own a dog that even slightly resembles a pit mix type, like a hound, boxer, or Sheppard it would be legal for an officer to consider that a dangerous dog breed, enter your home and kill your family pet.

The new law would not only be costly, but it’s obvious the state could use that money for ways to help promote the attributes of the breed.

Aimee Shaw, founder of Shaw Pit Bull Rescue has the right ideas.

“We need specific laws that issue stiffer fines and punishment for animal abuse, neglect and dog fighting,” she says. “The costs associated with enforcing could be
better utilized in promoting spay/neuter, and training police officers in dog body language to prevent the needless killing of family dogs.”

By showing support of this breed and encouraging parents to stay calm they see a pitbull walking on the sidewalk with its owner, we can make a difference for younger generations. No longer would children grow up being worried to adopt this breed, but instead they would view a pitbull just the same as they view golden retrievers.

A dog is not born vicious; it is made vicious by how it is raised. Fighting this victimizing bill will prove to state legislatives that not only are they being unfair, but the key is to educate, not discriminate.

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