(UNEDITED)The Standard-Examiner's editorial "Our View: Ordinance for Pit Bulls Needed" is, essentially, a catalog of misinformation. To begin with, the statement that 40 percent of dogs quarantined in Ogden from January to July were pit bulls is baseless, unless DNA testing was done. Since DNA testing became available to the public, it has been a revelation (even to lifelong animal care professionals) that many dogs assumed by appearance to be pit bulls or some type of bully breed were anything but. And it turns out that in the world of animal welfare, visual identification of breeds by shelter staff is notoriously inaccurate.
Next, the claim that "... there is just too much evidence, official and anecdotal, that this breed is more dangerous than other breeds," is similarly false. Spain, Italy, Great Britain and the Netherlands all have reported that their breed discriminatory regulations have not reduced dog bite incidents. And the City of Denver, which has an outright ban on pit bulls, has a higher per capita dog bite hospitalization rate than neighboring communities that allow pit bulls without qualification.
There is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely to injure a person than any other. And while most breed discriminatory legislation has been proven ineffective, it remains a policy that some find attractive. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association authors Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD, Amy Marder, VMD, CAAB, and Margaret Slater, DVM, PhD explain the curious
attraction to breed discriminatory laws despite their universal failure. "It is our belief," they conclude, "that BSL (breed specific legislation) is based largely on fear, and it has been emphasized that appeals to fear have their greatest influence when coupled with messages about the high efficacy of the proposed fear-based solution."
Unfortunately, fear (not facts) dominate the Standard Examiner's editorial. Instead of helping solve a problem, it only fuels the fires of misinformation that continue to obscure the truth about pit bulls and dogs that resemble them.
Best Friends Animal Society