Word for the day is PREJUDICE. From Websters:
“Definition of PREJUDICE
: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights; especially : detriment to one's legal rights or claims
a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b : an instance of such judgment or opinion c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics”.
Is discrimination against certain animal species, or breeds thereof, truly prejudicial? It may meet 2a(1) above. We have preconceived notions about all kinds of things. I like chocolate ice cream better than strawberry… is that unfairly prejudicial? How can those strawberries get through life knowing that I don’t like them simply for who they are? Personally, I don’t give a crap about the attitudes of individual fruits. Fruits do NOT have rights! Strawberry lovers can likewise kiss my butt.
A repeal of the Miami-Dade Pit Bull ban was recently defeated (again). Ownership of pit bulls in Miami remains illegal. That said, I am confident that Florida Pit Bull aficionados are going to continue suing until they get the outcome they want. They believe that the law is unfairly prejudicial. They say, “Hey, MY “pibble” never hurt anyone. What’s the problem?”
Well, the problem I have is, when it comes to dogs not only is there no judgment before the fact, there is none AFTER the fact either! If their “pebble” attacks someone, the dog is usually returned to the owner, all set for another attack. Lather-rinse-repeat. For instance, the Roy McSweeney murder would have been prevented if the dogs involved had been euthanized and the owner jailed after the first attack. The McSweeney murder was the THIRD known incident of violence and subsequent injury against human beings on the part of the 2 dogs. I am confident that if McSweeney had survived, the 2 maulers would still be among us.
It appears that there is no happy medium here. It seems that the policy swings wildly between to vastly divergent viewpoints:
1) Discriminate (prejudice) by breed history alone.
2) No action taken against dogs or their owners for any reason, ever.
I have posited in the past that we have gotten to this point due to the general “policy” of putting dogs and their owners on a pedestal. We are told it’s a given that dogs are noble creatures and that their owners are likewise noble. With that philosophical foundation firmly set, it follows that no action can be taken against a dog or its owner for any reason, ever. Victims of dog related offenses are by definition to blame: Since it’s a given that dogs and their owners are, by definition, always absolutely wonderful you HAVE to blame the victim. There is no one else TO blame. They MUST have done something to deserve what happened!
There are several obstacles to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that are obvious to me. Note that these are not all necessarily objections on MY part, simply observations on my part.
1) Hoist by (y)our own petards. Proponents of BSL are shoveling against the proverbial tide of pro-dog propaganda that we have ALL been drowning in the past 50 years. They are working against the same talking points, attitudes, policies, cultural norms, etc… to which victims have been exposed for decades: These creatures exist among us and we simply have to “get used to” whatever they do. Everyone must absolutely and unconditionally love ALL (each and every) dogs. There are, by STRICT definition, NO bad dogs. ALL dog behavior is by definition acceptable strictly BECAUSE it is dog behavior. If you speak out, or take a stand against any individual animal (or group thereof) you are by definition an evil person. The interests of individual dogs ALWAYS take precedence over the rights of human beings and other animals, PERIOD. Dogs and dog owners must NEVER be restrained for ANY reason EVER! Conversation OVER!
2) Discriminatory. Proponents of BSL are pushing an agenda that would be apparent to most as fundamentally and unfairly prejudicial. While I do believe that discrimination (prejudice) against certain species and/or breeds of animal is completely legal, even sensible, many will not see it that way.
3) It is wildly divergent from current policies. Pursuant to (1) if I can’t take action against a dog (and by reference, the owner) AFTER the fact, how the HELL can I restrain it BEFORE the fact? I mean, I’m not allowed to take action against a dog because of what it is currently doing, or did, but I *can* based on what I think it *might* do based on its physical appearance? That does not appear to be very sensible.
4) Apparent double-standard. Pursuant to (3) attempting to restrain dogs based strictly on breed history and not observable behavior is a rather tough sell. Essentially, it seems that the updated policy will be: “Kill or banish the well behaved Pit Bull on sight, but the Labrador that bit you absolutely MUST be allowed to do so again as he’s a wonderful doggie and you absolutely must love and accept him no matter what he does to anybody”. Now, many BSL proponents may want a general “dangerous dog law” in addition to BSL, but they certainly don’t promote that. Giving other breeds a pass on bad behavior is a no-go IN MY OPINION.
5) It is arbitrary. Is there a “one drop rule” being considered? Where do you draw the line regarding mixes and other breeds? And, more importantly: What is on either side of that line you are drawing? IOW’s if my golden retriever is 1/16th Pit Bull must I surrender him to be euthanized? If my next door neighbor has 10 “labs” that are 31/32nd Pit Bull must I be forced to endure that? When Pit Bulls are gone, Rottweilers then become the most dangerous breed… do we then ban them? How about wolf-hybrids and akitas? Point is, As long as dogs exist there will ALWAYS be a “most dangerous breed” of dog.
In my opinion, it is WAY past time to drain the proverbial swamp. If your dog sends someone to the hospital, YOU are going to prison, and I don’t give a flying ---- WHAT breed it is! No more free passes for ANY pet owner. They have the same rights and responsibilities as the rest of us. The only reason that BSL is even being considered is a direct result of the ongoing “policy” of nearly ALWAYS giving dogs and their owners a pass. If there had been equal protection of laws from the outset in ALL doggie related cases, the whole Pit Bull “problem” never would have erupted in the first place!
With all of that said, I still support BSL efforts. In my opinion, the current situation is SO unbelievably bad and absurdly unfair that ANY policy that limits the actions of dogs or their owners (even flawed policies) is a GO! Pit Bulls and their owners are among the worst of the worst, and they are guilty of all kind of pet related offenses that include: Bites, dog at large, nuisance barking, destruction of property, "Waylaying" and other threatening behaviors, dog crap everywhere, and so forth. Furthermore, housing any pet in a human city is a citizen PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT. If the citizens of Miami, or any other place, collectively decide to purge their city of Pit Bulls (or any other pet dog) they have every right to do so. Pit Bulls are NOT natural, they are NOT demonstratably useful or necessary, and Pit Bull ownership is NOT recognized as a core civil right anyplace that I know of. Q.E.D.