CON: Banning pit bulls punishes responsible owners

March 27, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated March 26, 2011 at 10:27 p.m.

Maria Morales' toddler son had a solid white, blue-nosed brother. His name was Casper, and he was the family's pit bull.

"That was his protector. That was his brother," Morales said of the relationship between her son and dog.

The first time a pit bull laid its head in her lap, Morales said she was hooked on the breed. She's owned six pit bulls since.

"Everybody has a stereotypical view of them - that they're vicious and this and that. If they're bred properly, the way they're supposed to be, they're a great family dog," the 24-year-old said.

Dr. John Beck, who works at Hillcrest Animal Hospital, excitedly agreed.

"Personally, we see so many good pit bulls," Beck said. "They've really been picked on hard."

Beck acknowledged the culture of pit bull fighting that the media has helped highlight and said it's all about how a dog is raised, no matter the breed.

"Those animals, unfortunately, have a big injustice because it's not the dogs, (it's) the owners that have tried that."

In his 29 years of practicing in Victoria, Beck said he's seen plenty of other dog breeds that bite.

"I love boxers. I have them. But I've had more employees bitten by Rottweilers and boxers than I have pit bulls," he said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes on its website that banning a specific breed will punish the responsible owners and attract outlaw owners.

Not to mention, breed-specific laws provide a false sense of security and are actually more harmful to public health. The ASPCA website claims such laws shift the focus away from effective enforcement of safety measures like leash-laws, anti-tethering laws and spaying and neutering laws.

"My opinion is you should not ban a specific breed, but you should definitely be aware of what they can do," Beck said. "Be aware of all breeds, don't isolate ... We've got some people that just love their pit bulls. It'd be like asking somebody to get rid of their child, and you just can't do that."

Morales has already had a taste of what it's like to be forced to give up the family pet.

They had to get rid of Casper after moving to an apartment three years ago.

"I cried every day for him," Morales said. "I used to dream about him."

Casper is a valued member of another family now, and Morales said her family looks forward to moving out of that apartment.

"As soon as we do, we will be getting another one," she said.



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