Why I'm against breed-specific dog laws - Dr. Marty Becker

Why I’m against breed-specific dog laws

Thursday, Jun 26th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

bigstock_Pit_Bull_166527As a father and grandfather, I want safe communities for all. As a dog lover and veterinarian, I want dogs to be a part of those safe communities.

Both of those are the reasons I oppose dog laws that take the “lazy way out” by targeting dogs based on real or perceived breed rather than on behavior. Breed bans and similar laws don’t make our communities safer. They also break families’ hearts and cost good dogs their lives.

As a veterinarian, I am not alone in my view. The American Veterinary Medical Association also opposes dog laws based on looks or breed, for the same reasons I do. Their position is that research into laws based on the physical description of a dog rather than the dog’s behavior “indicate that breed-specific legislation is not the solution to dog bite prevention.”

They quote pediatrician and medical epidemiologist Dr. Julie Gilchrist of the CDC as saying, “Dog bite reduction strategies are more likely to be effective if they focus on reducing inappropriate dog and dog owner behaviors, regardless of the dog’s breed, instead of on banning specific breeds.”

Their conclusion: “The AVMA’s dog bite prevention campaign continues to inform the public about techniques for avoiding dog bites, and to promote responsible pet ownership. Breeds don’t need to be banned, but dog owners’ irresponsible behavior should be.”