We’ve heard them maligned in the news, among city council members across U.S. communities, and from misinformed citizens. Pit bulls have become the scapegoat for bite incidences and canine aggression in so many communities, including our own town of Waterford.

Currently, you cannot own a pit bull or a mixed breed that includes pit bull.  This ban goes so far as to require you to provide the DNA results of your canine if he or she is suspected (by even a first glance) to be a pit bull.

Tragically, if your dog has any pit bull DNA, whether or not your dog has displayed any aggressive behavior, you will have to rehome your pet in another community or have him or her euthanized. Naturally, responsible pit bull owners and advocates, as well as all dog lovers and advocates, are outraged.

The truly tragic end to this short-sighted means is that breed-specific bans and breed-specific legislation does not end dog bites or dog attacks. Rather, it relies on misinformation and media sensation that wrongly suggests that pit bulls are more aggressive.

Breed-specific bans give people a false sense of community that they’re safer without pit bulls. This short-sighted and cruel approach does not address the fact that every breed, size, and disposition of canine out there can be a potential biter.

Negative Stereotyping and Damaging Pit Bull Myths

Myth: The veterinary medicine community supports anti-Pit Bull legislation.

FALSE. Actually, many of the most prestigious and leading voices in veterinary medicine from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to the Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists, as well as our own Dr. Hawker, have spoken out against the safety, legality, and ethics of breed-specific bans. Even the American Bar Association advocates for dog aggression laws over breed-specific legislation.

Myth: Breed bans create safer communities.

WRONG.  There is no empirical evidence supporting the thought that banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes reduces the rates of dog bite incidents and attacks in the community. An example is in Colorado, where the city of Denver created a bylaw to ban pit bulls (costly to enact and enforce), whereas Boulder, its sister city, did not, choosing to invest in bite prevention education and training. To date, Boulder has fewer reported dog bites and attacks per year than Denver.

Myth: Pit bulls are naturally aggressive.

NOT SO! Most studies show that pit bulls test well in the area of temperament. The American Temperament Test Society tested over 1,000 pit bulls and 86% passed with “good dispositions”, ranking higher than beagles. By assuming one dog is innately more aggressive compared to another breed neglects the reasons why most dogs become aggressive: they were trained to be this way by human handlers, they were neglected, or otherwise were abused.

Myth: A pit bull’s jaws “lock” when he or she bites down, therefore causing more damage.

NO. This is an unfortunately widespread, publically accepted, yet false belief. In fact, it has been shown that their bite pressure is less than similar-sized breeds, such as the German Shepherd or Rottweiler.

YOU Can Help Change Perceptions about Pit Bulls

As the public becomes more aware of the skewed statistics and misconceptions about pit bulls, as well as other breeds that have historically been vilified such as Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers, we hope to see a dramatic decrease in unfair breed bans.

If you are interested in helping advocate for pit bulls, we encourage you to read and sign the petition against creating a Michigan-wide ban on pit bulls by visiting: www.makemichigannext.org.

From all of us at Union Lake Pet Services, thank you for helping raise awareness on behalf of our voiceless pit bull companions.