Thursday, August 22, 2013
Obama nixes specific dog-breed bans as 50,000 feral canines run amuck in Detroit
With a bite as nasty as its bark in this case, the Obama Administration has come out in opposition to dog breed-specific bans.
The action stems from the Administration's long-standing practice of issuing a position statement when it receives an on-line petition containing a certain threshold of signatures.
In the case of seeking White House support for specific dog-breed bans the Administration was the recipient of a petition containing some 30,000 signatures supporting such a proposal.
And this matter has taken on added interest and possible urgency, too.
News reports say that bankrupt Detroit now has some 50,000 feral and wild dogs, many of which are roaming the city in packs. It is believed that many – possibly, most – are members of the generic “pit-bull” class of canines.
Detroit's problem with such animals is acute, too. Last year the city reported 903 people being bitten by dogs.
Likewise, the U.S. Postal Service has issued no delivery policies in some Detroit neighborhoods where packs of feral dogs are particularly plentiful.
Be that as it may, the Obama Administration has said it opposes legislation that specifically names certain dog breeds as being illegal to breed, own, or raise.
“We don't support breed-specific legislation,” the Obama Administration says in a response statement to the petition request.
“Research shows tat bans on certain types of dogs (breeds) are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.”
Obama Administration officials who drafted the response took note of a Center for Disease Control report that likewise concluded that dog breed-specific bans would not yield measurable success.
This, in spite of the Center's conclusion that with 19 years of data about one-half of the 238 human fatalities from dog attacks were the result of “pit bull-type” breeds as well as Rottweilers.
However, the Center's conclusion was that the data should not be construed to become “the primary driving public policy concerning dangerous dogs.”
One of the difficulties of dog breed-specific measures is that in many cases of dog attacks the exact breed of the animal is not known, the Obama Administration's response also says.
Thus the Administration's position on specific dog-breed bans runs parallel to that of the American Kennel Club as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association's Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn