Thursday, October 22, 2009

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Article Title: "Councils to be given more power to kill dangerous dogs"

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Watch out, pooping and/or leashed dogs - YOUR TIME HAS COME.

Now the content, it's frightening. A few days ago, a loose dog with a history of running loose and a possible dangerous dog label in another region of Australia attacked a man walking his two dogs. The dog killed one of the smaller canines and injured the man (thankfully, not severely).

Victoria's Premier John Brumby has a solution: Just kill all unregistered American Pit Bull Terriers.

PROBLEM SOLVED, COMMENCE LIVING IN A SAFER WORLD! Say that loud and proud, people.

Words are powerful, and they can perpetuate stereotypes and negative connotations. American Pit Bull Terriers are labeled as dangerous dogs. The terms are interchangeable, in this case. When the article mentions loose dangerous dogs and unregistered dangerous dogs, they are NOT referring to dogs who have bitten, mauled, killed, scratched, menaced, or aggressed. They are referring to American Pit Bull Terriers (and any breed covered under the legislation). This is fallacious reasoning, at best. At worst, it creates a system where dogs are killed, that is their futures are snuffed out, because of a label, not because of any actual qualitative behavior. Scary stuff, if you think about it.

Then there is the proposed law itself - killing loose, unregistered dogs without giving owners the right to appeal. What kind of backward thinking is that? 

I'm all for making the world a safer place for people. I support reducing the prevalence of loose dogs - it's unsafe for the dogs and for citizens. I support penalizing people who cannot follow current, reasonable laws that require licensing, restraining your dog, etc.

But I do not support killing another living being without giving their owner due process, a chance to legally appeal and possibly reclaim their animal. Even if the animal cannot be reclaimed, I do not support the killing of a healthy (heck, even unhealthy) animal because they look a certain way. To be blunt, that's lame. It's wrong. Pathetic. A poor reflection of humanity (ah, but so many things are, yes).

BROKEN RECORD TIME, RUN FOR THE HILLS! In Australia, dogs are safe. This is true in the United States, Canada and many developed nations. There are a lot of dogs and, statistically, few significant bites and even fewer fatalities. We live alongside a species with sharp teeth and the physical capacity to use them. Amazingly, they manage to refrain from causing physical harm against us on a regular basis. There is no need to kill unregistered dogs of restricted breeds because there is no dog bite epidemic.

Dog bite fatalities are exceedingly rare. When dogs do bite, they show extreme restraint - most dog bites are not serious. There is a point at which we must ask ourselves if these laws being proposed truly enhance our public safety, neutralize it or diminish it. And when we create laws based on the inane notion that you can spot with the naked eye a killer dog or a biting dog, that we can know from the phenotype of a dog whether he is safe or unsafe...we are doing something wrong. We are ignoring the elephant eating peanuts on the sofa, blocking your view of Glee (and that is sinful).

I hope Australia does not follow through with this ludicrous proposal. It will not improve public safety. It will kill healthy animals. That is a shameful thing.

1 comment:

rottys3 said...

Welcome to my world! and so called pits, and no I dont just mean actually registered APBT's arent even restricted in Victoria yet like they are in New South Wales. In NSW, under my local council laws, amy dog that has been identified as a "pit bull" - sorry, I didnt know that was an actual breed by the way, ahem - has to be fully enclosed in a metal cage with a concrete floor and wear a fluorescent orange colloar at all times. When taken out in public they must be muzzled. Lucky my girl is a Mastiff cross! prove she isnt.