Banning pit bulls or any breed is not the answer to preventing dog bites in our community. A ban paints with a broad brush, lumping the safe and sound majority of pit bull dogs with the poorly bred and untrained minority. Sunday’s walk for Save-A-Bull in Salinas showcased the family friendly nature of the majority of pit bulls. These are dogs that don’t make the news, but would be unfairly punished if the breed is banned.
The history of breed bans goes back to at least 1980. Where implemented, they rarely work and usually cost more for enforcement than initially anticipated. They have the unwanted effect of making the breed banned more desirable to people who prize aggression and misuse dogs to intimidate. In jurisdictions where enforcement is effective, these people move on to a different and potentially more dangerous breed not banned to serve their purposes.
Reducing the estimated 4.7 million dog bites that occur in the United States each year is an important goal that we all should be working toward. Because of their strength, the highest profile bites are those inflicted by pit bulls or dogs mistaken for pit bulls. But if we step back and take a more holistic look at the propensity of various dog breeds to bite and injure, we will see pit bulls in a different light.