Note from Con Slobodchikoff: This is a guest post by
Nikki Longo, who has been a home safety consultant based on the East Coast
for the better part of a decade. Mom to two wonderful corgi mixed dogs, she has
been writing on personal and public safety issues for the past five years. Feel
free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting an End to Breed-Specific Legislation
Profiling is supposed to be a thing of the past.
As a society, we've notarized our acceptance of people from
all walks of life, and advanced our understanding of sociology, science, and outright
decency. Segregation and stereotyping are quickly being stomped out by forward-thinking
generations. So why hasn't the same thing happened in the canine community?
Breed-specific legislation, the catch-all term for the laws,
guidelines and recommendations for selective dog ownership, is a prickly thorn
in the side of the amiable pet lover. And as of late, breed-specific
legislation has found a place in the news thanks to a press release from the white house which decried its existence.
"Research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are
largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources," stated an
official release from Obama's desk.
Yet, in light of our societal reconstruction and the written
support of our executive branch, there are still plenty of jurisdictions across
the United States that forbid the ownership of select breeds such as Pit Bulls
and Staffordshire Terriers.
Home Security and Dog Ownership
The discord lies in a firmly-rooted misconception. Many
policymakers and homeowners still adhere to the outdated
notion that certain dog breeds are indisputably primed for belligerence. In
reality, most of the data on dog bites relates to the popularity of the breed.
In the '70s, Dobermans were en vogue, and correspondingly, most instances of
canine aggression toward humans could be chalked up to Dobermans. The same goes
for Pit Bulls in the '80s and Rottweilers in the '90s.
When people start looking into a family dog, many maintain
this surface level understanding of canine aggression. Furthermore, some
households will even make a point to purchase dogs they perceive as more aggressive,
so as to circumvent the effort of buying or installing a home security system.
In fact, some even consider a dog as a type of DIY security system.
Again, that's a misconception.
True DIY security systems come with a host of snafus and missing
pieces, from unreliable protection to non-existent monitoring backup (you can
read a much bigger list of cons at securitycompanies.com).
The point is, if you're looking for home security, you need to get the real
deal. And by pegging your dog as your security system, you're doing a
disservice to both yourself and your pet.
Understanding a Dog's Purpose
A dog should never be purchased with the sole intent of
using it to guard and protect. Not only are they incapable of such a large
task, they're just not meant for it. What rule makers and pet buyers need to
understand is that dogs are built to be so much more than a sentry tower. They
can provide a loving, calming presence for the household they're born or
adopted into, and their purpose far exceeds their debasing history in blood
sport – no matter their breed.
This isn't to say there aren't any protective benefits to owning a dog. With its keen hearing and sensitivity, your dog might be able to give you a leg up by letting out a bark when it hears
or feels unusual rhythms around the house. But beyond that, residential
security is the homeowner's onus.
Once more of us are willing to take home security into our
own hands rather than putting it in the paws of our furry friends, we'll be
able to diminish the aggressive stigma around certain breeds. Provided
policymakers open their ears and read a little further into the data, there
will come a day when breed-specific legislation will no longer be an issue at
the federal, state or local level.