Doggy Style

Here’s Miami Hurled columnist Joe Cardona lobbying for the repeal of Miami-Dade’s pit bull prohibition:

The focus of the punitive codes should be where it belongs — with the owners. [Kathy] Labrada, the county’s animal services enforcer, explains it best: “Dogs are a product of their surroundings and the way they are socialized. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.”–Miami Hurled

Cordona also quotes Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill, who notes he is unaware of any scientific evidence that illustrates that pit bulls are “more prone” to being violent.

With all due respect to Magill, as credible a source of information and enlightenment as you’ll find in these parts, that’s not the issue.  Whether or not the breed is “more prone,” there are hard data compiling years of incidents to indicate how disproportionately responsible for violence this breed has been.  Look at this chart, for example.  Slice and dice the data any way you like, it’s still overwhelming.

The argument “There are no bad dogs just bad owners” parallels the old saw, “Guns don’t kill people, People kill people.”  I think both statements make the same error.  The issue isn’t whether they’re true or not, it’s What can be done to reduce the danger and harm to which they contribute?  Where “they” refers to pit bulls, guns, and their owners.

The data make the case that pit bulls are dangerous, and whether or not that’s their own fault or the fault of their owners is irrelevant.  There’s no Second Amendment right to establish a well-dogged militia.  If the community is a safer place without this breed, depriving prospective bad owners of the opportunity to mutilate other dogs and children — that’s what finally led to the prohibitive ordinance — Go for it.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to prohibit bad owners until something very bad happens, and even then, it’s neither easy nor certain.

I’d make the same argument about specific weapons.  There’s nothing inherently evil about an Uzi — although unlike a pit bull, it’s a dangerous weapon by design — but in the hands of evildoers it’s pretty damn insidious.  If the only way to keep those people from getting their hands on them is to prohibit their possession, again, Do it.  There might be a Second Amendment right to own a gun, but there’s no Second Amendment right to own an Uzi.  The law is not merely a series of syllogisms.

For the record, Yes, I’m a classic “cat person,” and No, I don’t especially like dogs, even though Guido and I are on our second, a 60 pound mixed breed who is mostly Belgian Melinois.  Guido would happily own a pit bull.  She’d also happily own a wildebeest.

The only reason the ordinance came up for reconsideration at all is that one of the Miami Marlins’ new multi-millionaire acquisitions made a public stink about not looking for a residence in Miami-Dade because he owned a pit bull.  That’s kind of irritating, isn’t it?  Do you suppose the Commission would be as concerned if the new head of the music department at UM expressed the same reluctance?  Or any ordinary middle class shmuck relocating to south Florida?  But count on our government officials to become lapdogs on command whenever they’re called upon to kowtow to a celebrity or sniff a jock.

Cordona writes that voters will have their say about the ordinance in August.  The tenacious pit bull lobby is already active.  But lobbyists don’t pass laws, their lackeys do.

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11 Responses to Doggy Style

  1. theysaidthat says:

    This is far from scientific, but seems here in North Carolina the pitbulls I see are owned by “not nice people.”

    That said I do see them at my vet who are slobbering babies and the owners seem like loving “Parents”

    I agree, dogs don’t kill, but they can be taught to be weapons.

  2. Cats says:

    Why stop with pit bulls? Outlaw ALL dogs. They’re worthless, smelly, and take up space.

  3. Kent Standit says:

    My neighbor across the street is a nice enough fellow, and he has a pit bull. But the pit bull has an Uzi. Should I worry?

  4. odtley says:

    a place i was confined to was in a bad neighborhood with a 10 foot wall around the place and at night the yard was patrolled by guard dogs which were pit bulls and dobermans until one time a pit bull attacked a doberman but when the handlers tried to get the pit bull off it attacked them too and they had to kill it which we all watched from the windows i remember a few of the mentals freaked out and started screaming and had to be drugged when i saw that i started screaming too cuz i wanted as many drugs as i could have anyway im still afraid of pit bulls

  5. Hose B says:

    You left out a detail: Joe Cardona is an imbecile.

  6. Responsible dog owner says:

    My first issue is with the study. Noted on the web page the study is based upon press accounts of dog bites. 1) Papers are in business to sell papers and stories most likely to be reported are those that feed into an existing narrative (stories about the lab next door biting someone may not get the press that a ‘pit bull’ would) and 2) breed identification is notoriously subjective. Even animal contorl officers mis-identify breeds.

    Secondly, there is no evidience that pit bull types are more aggressive that other breeds. They are more likely to be owned by individuals that aren’t educated in how to care for a dog. I don’t have any data, but I would propose that the most common factor envolved in dog bites is that the dog was not restrained or leashed. (http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/the-problems-with-dog-bite-studies/)

    Lastly, any dog bite that causes injury or death is a horrible event and needs to be treated seriously. But, we need to recognize the underlying cause, which is bad owners. While passing a law may make everyone feel better, we end up focusing on the wrong solution. And what we do need – educated, responsible dog owners – gets left out of the discussion. Like any large breed, pit bulls require good owners. As a German Shephers Dog owner, a breed which is sometimes targeted by dog specific legislation, I understand the responsibility required by an owner of a large breed dog. Let’s try education first.

    • Barbara Ganousch says:

      I am sure that your campaign to educate dog owners about the danger of pit bulls will be no less effective as the numerous campaigns to educate gun owners about the dangers of automatic weapons. Many people — not all — obtain pit bulls and Uzis for the express purpose of creating havoc. They train the dogs to attack, just as they get the guins to commit crimes. How many chewed up children do you want to see before you give up your utopic plan?

      I’ve had several dogs, and growing up, my family has never been without at least one including Rottys. Pit bulls were never among them, and we’ve had problems with other people’s pits acting aggressive toward our dogs.. Maybe it’s not their fault, but until you can be certain that their owners are responsible as you are, they’re too risky. It’s like letting senile people drive Buicks.

      I had a Buick, too. 🙂

      • Responsible dog owner says:

        Hi Barbara,

        I would like to see all new dog owners undergo some training. You actually made my point about the elderly and Buicks. We take drivers licenses away from senile people. We don’t outlaw Buicks.

        Thank you for your thoughful reply.

    • Dawgbowl says:

      I don’t like breed specific legislation either. I have no problem with pit bulls. I agree it’s the owners. Can you come you up with a plan to educate owners? Some kind of mandatory training. maybe? In the real world, will that work? Sorry, but I’m agnostic on this one.

  7. Piles says:

    Dogs don’t bite people. Dogs’ teeth bite people. Pull out a pit bull’s teeth and your troubles are over.

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