"Never be caught blogging in public spaces without your trophy dog!" Photo and caption from C-Notes. In, irony of ironies, Ohio.
Try to imagine what you would do if a law were passed in your state outlawing the friendly, well-behaved dog you live with and love — an eight or nine year old dog that has never harmed or threatened to harm anyone in all the years he's been with you. A law, say, like this:
Sec. 955.111. (A) Beginning ninety days after the effective date of this section, no person shall own, keep, or harbor a dog that belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog.Don't waste time wondering how anyone, even a politician, could be so ignorant and unjust. Half-wits with ambition and a mean streak have been elected to office since forever. And don't waste time wondering which dogs will be labeled "pit bulls": a pit bull will be anything the dog warden says is a pit bull. You might ask yourself, though, how much longer we'll allow elected officials in the United States, in the 21st century, to display their contempt for law-abiding American citizens by writing legislation like Section 955.111.
(B) Not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section, a person who owns, keeps, or harbors a pit bull dog on the effective date of this section shall surrender the dog to the dog warden. Not later than ten days after receiving the dog, the dog warden shall euthanize the dog.
(C)(1) Beginning ninety days after the effective date of this section, if an officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is a pit bull dog, the officer may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a search warrant. The court shall issue a search warrant for the purposes requested if there is probable cause to believe that a dog is a pit bull dog.
(2) After obtaining a search warrant, an officer shall seize the pit bull dog and surrender the dog to the dog warden. Not later than ten days after receiving the dog, the dog warden shall euthanize the dog.
"Look at the dogs that have been impounded, and the surnames of their owners... They aren't killing dogs from Cherry Creek. They pick on the easiest people to pick on."Let's talk race and class for a minute. Because never, not in a million years, will the dog wardens and the police burst into homes in upper-middle-class/rich white neighborhoods and take good dogs from law-abiding families without all hell breaking loose.
And politicians know this.
Do they give a rat's patoot about dog bite prevention? Please. Politicians want to know one thing: what sort of people own pit bulls? Politicians know, or think they know, that pit bull owners are an unpopular element with little power and less money, and, for all the lip service politicians pay to public safety, money and influence are the things that matter. That, and news coverage.
So instead of addressing unemployment and poverty and crime and failing inner-city schools, politicians say to themselves, let's take the dogs away from those people. Because by God, if it saves just one child's life, as opposed to the lives we could save by addressing unemployment and poverty and crime and failing inner-city schools, not to mention banning swimming pools and handing out bicycle helmets, it's worth it, and why should we wait until those dogs turn on somebody? [Which they will — because they all have "bad days," a scientific term that means "Merritt Clifton doesn't know the first thing about dog behavior."]
Ignorance, prejudice and urban legend are bad grounds for legislation — and it turns out that pit bulls are an excellent litmus test. Legislators in favor of breed bans are incompetent, cruel and stupid.
And speaking of thugs, PETA has this to say about those of us who adopt pit bulls from the local pound:
But we must consider that nice families rarely come to a shelter to adopt pit bulls; almost without exception, those who want pit bulls are attracted to the "macho" image of the breed as a living weapon and seek to play up this image by putting the animals in heavy chains, taunting them into aggression, and leaving them outside in all weather extremes in order to "toughen" them. There is no denying that pit bulls are at a higher risk of suffering a horrible fate. [Jeff Haines - PETA Spokesman]You see the weird thing that happened there? Jeff said "nice families," but it must have been some kind of glitch, because I'm positive he meant to say "white people." [As opposed to the thugs in that photo on the left. They're from Bad Rap.] Pit bull owners, as everyone knows, have names like Tupac McGangsta and Felony Illegalpants Martinez. They don't vote. They don't matter. We don't know them and we don't want to know them. They're not like us.
It's crazy that the pit bull's salvation may be riding on photos of happy middle-class white people with their pibbles, and crazy that I should fret, every time I send a letter to some idiot politician, that she'll glance at my name and shrug and say, "Mexican," and ignore everything I took the trouble to write: the facts, the science, all of it. Crazy that anyone, in 2008 for crissakes, should think that such horrifying laws do any good. It's just nuts.
Oh, and Jeff? You can't kill them all, Jeff, no matter how hard you try.
That PETA quote just slays me. "Nice families rarely come to a shelter to adopt pit bulls;" hence, "almost without exception," people with pit bulls are not nice. And since they are not nice, apparently they deserve to be treated badly. Badly, as in, their dogs should be taken from them and killed.
Breed-banning is one of those odd ways we pretend to be a progressive, equitable, compassionate society. We fill law-abiding citizens with anguish, and kill their good dogs.
The pullquote is from Bill Johnson's column in the Rocky Mountain News, Pit-bull ban may reveal unwarranted prejudice. Link.