Banning some breeds won’t help prevent dog bites, president says

There is a reason that dogs have earned the title of "man's best friend." Dogs make lovable pets; and in many households, dogs are just as much a part of the family as their human counterparts. But dog ownership is a big responsibility, especially if the dog you own has shown aggressive or violent tendencies.

Dog bites and attacks are all too common, and such incidents are often at the heart of personal injury lawsuits. At times, these attacks can even be fatal. In order to prevent dog bites, communities in states around the country have enacted bans on certain breeds of dogs commonly thought to be "too violent" for ownership; particularly pit bulls. But is a breed-specific ban on dog ownership the most effective way to solve the problem? Many people don't think so, including President Obama.

Recently, the Obama Administration released a public statement opposing laws and ordinances banning or restricting certain breeds of dogs. The statement begins by saying: "We don't support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources."

To bolster its argument, the White House cited a 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After analyzing 20 years of dog-bite data from around the U.S., the CDC concluded that it's basically impossible to calculate specific rates of dog bites by breed. Additionally, the likelihood of a given dog becoming violent is more dependent on how it was raised than what breed it belongs to.

Moreover, it's important to remember that regardless of whether a dog has shown violent tendencies, it is up to each dog owner to make sure that their pet is properly contained on their property. Even violent dogs cannot harm passersby if they are safely chained up in the yard or fenced in.

Dog attacks are a problem in California and across the country. But rather than passing ineffective and discriminatory bans on entire breeds of dogs, we need to place blame where it truly lies: with irresponsible and negligent dog owners.

Source: Huffington Post, "Obama Comes Out Against Dog Breed-Specific Legislation, Joins The Fight For Pit Bulls," Arin Greenwood, Aug. 20, 2013