Note: The following post, like everything else on this website, does not speak for the APS of Durham or any of the folks who work there. The opinions expressed below are my own.
This letter is written in response to HB 956, a bill recently introduced to “Regulate Ownership of Aggressive Dog Breeds.” You can find more about HB 956 in its entirety here.
Basically, HB 956 imposes restrictions on the following breeds and “dogs that are predominantly of any of the following breeds:”
pit bull, which is defined as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier
The restrictions include a criminal background check, required class enrollment on a course about the breed, required notification of their insurance carrier, special permit, and potential fees.
To: Paul Lubeke (email@example.com)
I am writing to ask you to oppose HB 956 (the breed legislation) for the following reasons:
1) The breed specification/designation is very vague. What counts as a pit bull or a mastiff? Just a show of muscles and a broad chest and lots of teeth? Many dogs fit in these categories, including the so called “family friendly” labrador retrievers, boxers (once the number one family dog in US), and so forth.
2) It is unfair that *only* those wishing to adopt a specific breed be submitted to a background check. What is to prevent someone from adopting a hound and then abusing it, thus causing suffering and potential aggression in the dog? If you are going to require background checks for adoption of a dog, do it for all dogs, not just a specific breed.
3) There is education to be done about dog ownership, but it should be required of all dog owners, not just those with specific breeds. You could require training classes of all dog owners, especially if they are first-time dog owners.
4) I have been a volunteer at Animal Protection Society of Durham for almost 9 years, and a majority of dogs that I work with are pit mixes. If this legislation is passed, it will be even more difficult for folks to adopt pit mixes. This is not going to help with NC’s problem of animal overpopulation, and worse, this will actually cause suffering in dogs that are waiting for homes. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen dogs change from friendly, highly trainable, and hopeful to withdrawn, depressed, stressed, and confused to the point that it was more humane to put them out of their pain.
5) The money that would be spent on enforcing this law would be better spent on enforcing the tether law (i.e. don’t chain your dog outside) and other dog ordinance laws (for example, the leash law), and on encouraging spay/neuter programs. It would also be better spent on a breeder’s permit so that overpopulation can be better controlled.
If you feel that this law is unfair and vague, please contact your state representative and ask them to oppose this bill. You can find your state representative here.