While some communities continue to pass breed bans, others are wising up — Rochester Hills would be the latest.
And for that, I give a big “Woo-Hoo!!”
Rochester Hills has dealt with two attacks this year where pit bulls killed puppies; one in February and one in August. (photos are of the puppies that were killed. You can click on the photo to see our articles about them.)
Generally, that gets folks jumping all over the ban-pit-bulls-bandwagon. Local governments will usually respond by passing shortsighted breed bans to make everyone feel good.
But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Breed bans are nothing more than feel-good legislation that is, on its face, a type of discrimination that gives people a false sense of safety.
A moronic and/or irresponsible owner can turn any dog into a dangerous one. And I hear all the time from anti-pit bull crowd, “But you have to admit, pit bulls cause a lot more damage when they bite than a normal dog.”
Tell that to the woman from France whose face was literally torn off by a labrador — she was the first person ever to receive a face transplant. Or tell that to anyone who has been severely injured by a dog that happens to not be a pit bull.
And what about those other breeds — you know, the ones that grow to be double the size or even larger than your average 40-lb. pit bull? What about mastiffs, Rottweilers and other breeds being exploited by bad people, like Cane Corsos, Tosa Inus, the Dogo Argentino, Presa Canarios, etc.?
No pit bull ban is going to stop your neighbor from bringing home a Cane Corso and trust me, if you think pit bulls are scary, you won’t feel safe with a Cane Corso next door either.
But the bottom line is, if your neighbor is a good, responsible dog owner, it doesn’t matter what breed of dog that person brings home — pit bull, Cane Corso or otherwise. And if your neighbor is an idiot, the opposite is true. It doesn’t matter if he brings home a lab or a pit bull, if he’s an idiot, he’ll ruin that dog.
According to our story, Rochester Hills beefs up dog rules, the city had 20 dog bites last year from 15 different breeds. Only three of the incidents involved pit bulls, and there are only 76 registered pit bulls living in the city.
But the incident with the puppy highlighted a problem with the laws already on the books.
I spoke with the reporter who wrote the story. She talked with the owner of one those puppies killed by pit bulls earlier this year.
Of the offending dogs, one was ordered to be put down. The other is still living with its owners. The owners were also ordered to pay restitution, but the puppy’s owner said it hasn’t been paid and nothing is being done to punish them for not paying.
In a way, it’s like the only one who got punished was the dog that was put down. And how fair is that when it’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog is safe? Essentially, the dog is paying the penalty for the owner who didn’t do the right thing.
What Rochester Hills is working on is a way to impose tougher penalties on the owner of any dog who attacks or injures someone or someone’s pet. Kudos.
The city will look at the ordinances in other communities and a draft of the language will come back before the council at a later date.
Personally, I can’t believe the people responsible for the two pit bulls killing a puppy have been allowed to keep one of their dogs.
I’ve said this before too and I’ll say one more time:
If your pit bull or any other dog you own gets loose and kills a puppy or mauls a person, you should be banned from owning dogs — at least for like a 10-year period or something. In my opinion, you had your shot at dog ownership and you did such an incredibly bad job that other people or living beings had to suffer as a result of your stupidity and/or irresponsibility.