Pit bull-type dogs have no place in civil society

Lori Welbourne

Detroit Police Chief James Craig recently told a TV station that he thinks a ban on any particular dog breed is not logical.

“What’s more logical is that we make sure we’re holding others accountable,” Craig said in an interview. “That dogs are trained properly. What are the owners doing? Are they training these dogs as killers?”

Pit bulls don’t need to be trained for that. They were bred for hundreds of years to kill and that’s why they remain the favorite among dog fighters. About half the people mauled are the victims of a trusted family pit bull whose genetic instincts kicked in.

Anyone who repeats the myth “it’s all how you raise them” is either benefiting monetarily, they’re in denial or they’re ill-informed. In the case of the police chief, it obviously must be the latter since his job is to protect the public.

He’s not the only one who believes this lie, either. Millions of others do as well.

The pit bull lobby has been effective at convincing people that pit bulls are dogs like any other dogs. With the help of pit bull enthusiasts, social media, websites, news stories, celebrities and TV reality shows, pit bulls have been presented as safe family pets when they are not. Pit bull victims and public-safety advocates have been belittled and threatened.

Independent studies and research by multiple nonprofit groups show that less than 3 percent of Americans own pit bull-type dogs, yet they kill, mutilate and severely injure more humans and animals than all other breeds combined. It’s not the fault of the pit bulls; they’re just doing what human beings bred them to do.

Even if this was solely an owner issue, why should anyone’s life depend on how well other people raise their dogs?

Too many pit bull owners are attracted to this breed because of the damage they can inflict. Innocent people should not be ripped apart by an animal while simply walking to the mailbox, going for a jog, playing outside or walking on the street. The national average for human fatalities from pit bulls is one every two weeks. Hundreds more are injured and thousands of animals killed every year.

Pit bull-type dogs have no place in a civilized society.

Breed-specific legislation is proactive rather than reactive, and it saves lives.

Some 860 American cities, 292 U.S. military bases, an entire province in Canada and 41 countries have implemented it to great success wherever it’s enforced. In areas that have it, crime rates are reduced and dog fighters have a harder time hiding their illegal activities. What police chief wouldn’t want that?

A complete ban on the breeding of pit bull-type dogs to eliminate the vast majority of barbaric dog attacks and avoid the euthanization of a million unwanted pit bulls every year isn’t just logical, it’s doable. And it should be implemented nationwide.

Lori Welbourne is a columnist and public-safety activist from National Pit Bull Victim Awareness.