Will You Help End Military Breed Bans?

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No military family wants to be forced to choose between affordable on-base housing and a beloved family pet. Sometimes troops must relinquish animals is because of inconsistent military pet policies, including unenforceable military breed bans.

Breed bans in the military started around 2008 because of horrific deaths and injuries to children residing in military housing. They were a knee-jerk reaction to keep residents safe. However, the decision to blame the breed instead of holding the owner responsible is a worse outcome for pet families and their animals.

This is because unenforceable breed bans don’t solve the underlying causes of dog attacks. Irresponsible pet owners and their failure to control and train their animals are where the military should focus its efforts. Each military branch determines which dog breeds to ban. In the Navy, the decision is made at each installation. To complicate this policy further, the housing insurance companies contracted by the military also weigh in on the decision and sometimes ban additional dog breeds.

The result of these policy decisions is a complicated mix of banned breeds and numerical limits which vary depending on where the family lives and their branch of service.  The inconsistencies don’t take into account the many families that live in military housing not associated with their branch of service. Also, this destructive policy places a burden on local shelters and rescues near military bases forced to take in animals military troops must leave behind.

This harmful policy must end. Here are the facts:

The methods to identify a breed are suspect, further complicating breed bans. DNA testing is not accurate. In many cases, residents sign an agreement with housing simply stating they don’t possess the banned breed. The Army and Air Force bans Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chows and Wolf hybrids. The Marine Corps bans Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Wolf hybrids. Navy policies vary by installation. Some commercial housing offices have additional breed restrictions beyond this listing, causing more confusion. Purebred registrations have no scientific method to verify breed information. Shelters adopting animals to troops are left to guess the lineage of a mixed-breed animal, a subjective opinion at best.

The U.S. Army’s veterinarian community determined breed bans are written in the absence of professional veterinarian or animal behavior advice. In a memorandum distributed Army-wide on February 3, 2012, Col. Bob Walters, director of the Army’s Veterinarian Service Activity, stated there is no scientific method to determine a breed and that breed bans are unlikely to protect installation residents. The letter recommends generic, non-breed, specific dangerous dog regulations with emphasis on identification of dangerous and chronically irresponsible owners. Our community must have measurable, objective criteria for determining dangerous dogs that are based on the dog’s behavior and actions.

No evidence exists that breed-specific policies make communities safer for people or companion animals. Prince George’s County, Md., spends more than $250,000 annually to enforce its ban on Pit Bulls. In 2003, a study conducted by the county on the ban’s effectiveness noted that “public safety is not improved as a result of [the ban],” and that “there is no transgression committed by owner or animal that is not covered by another, non-breed specific portion of the Animal Control Code (i.e., vicious animal, nuisance animal, leash laws).”

A CDC study determined that factors beyond an animal’s breed might impact a dog’s tendency towards aggression, including chaining/tethering, lack of neutering or abuse. The study found that unneutered males were involved in more than 70 percent of dog bite cases and these animals chained or tethered were more than twice as likely to bite as an unrestrained animal. The vast majority of dog bites were from animals maintained for guarding, protection or victims of abuse or irresponsible pet owners.

Effective solutions have remarkable results. Calgary, Alberta enacted a breed-neutral Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw in 2006. The program required license and permanent identification for pets and education on spay/ neuter, training socialization, proper diet and medical care. By educating its citizens and applying enforcement when needed, Calgary achieved a combined record of compassion for animals and safety for human citizens without equal anywhere in the world. In 2009, 86 percent of the dogs handled by Animal Services were returned to their owners, with fewer than five percent euthanized.

Low-cost solutions include a policy letter standardizing pet numerical limits and abolishing breed bans. Commands could provide spay/neuter education, access to pet resources at family service centers and pet information at PCS, deployment and indoctrination briefings. We need strict enforcement of dangerous non-breed specific pet policies, which hold the owner accountable for the pet’s behavior.

Because there is no accurate way to determine a breed, the policy can’t be enforced. Military animal control officers and game wardens have told me they don’t support breed bans because they can’t enforce them. Communities are lifting breed-specific policies because they know there’s no scientific way to identify a breed. The policy unfairly punishes breeds of well-behaved dogs.

But it’s not just about the breed bans. It’s about having a pet policy that is consistent no matter what you move and what housing you’re in. If these breed bans were so effective, it would be the exact breeds from duty station to duty station, but it isn’t. That practice undermines the premise of the rule. Breed labels have no scientific basis, are not supported by any animal experts and must be abolished. In partnership with not-for-profit Dogs on Deployment, we have launched this petition. We plan to take this to our military leadership and share with them these concerns and we need your help.

Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/standardize-military-pet-policies

Like the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/StandardizeMilitaryPetPolicies

Theresa Donnelly is an active-duty Navy Lieutenant with 16 years of military service, having done 10 years enlisted with multiple overseas deployments. She is the owner of Hawaii Military Pets, an online pet resource for military families living in Hawaii. The blog and Facebook page provide information on moving with pets in the military, boarding information, pet policies in state and federal governments, and overall ways to celebrate the human-animal bond. She routinely partners with local and national animal nonprofits that place special emphasis on military and their companion animals, such as Dogs on Deployment and Pets for Patriots. Follow her on Twitter @tdonnelly76.

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  • mel

    Strict enforcement of pet policies and action against those who violate humane treatment of their pets would be extremely helpful. About 9 years ago, when I was living on base, I observed the maltreatment of the two dogs who lived behind me. They were left tied in the backyard all day and night with no shade, even in the heat of the North Carolina summer. The owner rarely came out to interact with them and when I did go over to pet them I began to notice that they were not being fed regularly because the tipped over bowls would be in the same place as the previous time I visited them. Also, they did not always have water available. I called PMO to report the neglect and they stopped by and checked on them and left because they apparently didn’t look in bad enough shape. They did speak to the owner about caring properly for them, but she continued the neglect. cont.

    • mel

      I began giving them water daily. One other neighbor, who thought she was being helpful, shaved one on the dogs to rid him of hair mats. Unfortunately, the dog didn’t have shade and got very sunburned. I persisted in notifying PMO about them and after a month of multiple phone calls they finally came and removed the dogs. By that time the dogs were underweight, covered in flea bites, and suffered from sun and heat exposure. They were good dogs who loved getting attention and they did not deserve their fate. If strict guidelines were in place for humane treatment and the resulting enforcement of those policies were upheld, those 2 dogs wouldn’t have been abused for so long.

      • mel

        So, to answer the initial question, I would support the end of breed bans if I was confident in the swift enforcement of humane treatment. People won’t report abuses when they believe nothing will be done and consequences for abuse can’t come into play unless someone makes that first report of maltreatment.

        • Mel, I completely agree. Here in Hawaii, we do everything we can to ensure that the animal control on base responds swiftly to complaints. When we have problems like this, we’ll contact the base public affairs office. We’ve even had people in the past write the base commander. This is a must. We have all the policies we need, but sometimes they are not enforced. And, I feel the military as a whole would benefit by making pet resources easy to find, like at Family Service Centers. So, you bring up an excellent point and it’s part of the solution to end breed bans. We must have strict enforcement and education on dangerous dog policies.

        • And thank you for your compassion helping those poor dogs. It’s sad how heartless people are. In Hawaii, we try very hard to ensure all animal welfare complaints are acted upon quickly. How sad that this isn’t the case everywhere.

  • Yes, strict enforcement of responsible pet owner policies must happen and if it doesn’t, we have to take that concern to a higher level. The problem with breed bans is that there is no way to correctly label a breed. And, since the breeds are not the same, it undermines the entire premise that this policy makes people safe. A few tragic incidents mean people need help training and understanding dog behavior. You can never enforce this policy in a fair way and yes, in some circumstances you can live off base, but the policy is damaging in other ways too. First, the numerical limits are not the same, so you could live in one housing with three and then be forced to move to another with two. There are people that must live on base in certain duty stations. And, because animal control or housing has no way to identify a breed, there’s no way to “prove” someone owns a banned breed. And yes, they are everywhere, but slowly leaders are getting it and lifting BSL. It happened in Ohio and in Maryland, a task force studied the issue after a recent court ruling and came to the conclusion that breed ban are ineffective. So, it’s a broken fix to a larger problem.

  • Agree that there is many issues concerning military families that we need to focus our efforts. The point of the post is to have consistent pet policies that don’t change when we move. There are many troops who for whatever reasons, have to live on base. The point is that the solution is not effective or simple. Banning the breed causes more people to leave pets behind for fear they are mislabeled and what about shelter animals? What happens if a neighbor has a pet issue with someone and tries to use breed as a way to fix the problem? The animal winds up in a shelter (maybe put down) and nothing was done to fix the problem that caused the breed ban to begin with. I think we agree for the most part. The point of the post was to bring about a change that would lead to less military animals in shelters, left behind and more pets staying in the military family. Having more pet education, access to pet resources and a consistent pet policy keeps pets in the military family. It also means that we are a better community partner too. Blanketing the issue causes more problems. I still hear of people’s pets getting killed or hurt on base. Any breed can be dangerous.

  • fccstump

    I was in the service for 24 years and lived in Housing, as I remember there was always a size restriction for dogs. So if people followed the rules on dogs in housing there would not be any problem.

  • BD Cooper

    Yeah one of your so called companian animals tried to rip my 3 year olds face off a few months back so dont expect an help from me.

    You refuse to acknowledge that many breeds were bred to enhance aggressive behaviors so have a natural tendency to express them. Then you let a bunch of immature people own them and the result is vicious dogs attacking people and other pets. Since you cant get people to behave respnsibly you have to elliminate the dog from the mix. No one says ou cant have “a dog”. Just that you cant own certain breeds. The rules have been in place or a long time so deal ith it. If you dont like the ban on vicious animals then get out of the service or dont join! The military is not a democracy so deal with it. This is no different than baing the use of illegal drugs. You cant smoke pot but you can smoke a cigarette.

    • LoveMyMSgt

      BSL is not what causes pits to be put to death. It’s thugs who breed these things indiscriminately and owners who won’t get their d*mn dogs fixed. Pits don’t end up in shelters just because of BSL; they end up there because there are literally thousands upon thousands of them and simply not enough homes to take them all. And the reason people started breeding them is because of a New York Times expose by Wayne King, characterizing the dogs as “maneaters” in 1974. Between 1975 and 1979 thugs and drug dealers started breeding these “toughest dogs on the block”. This is called the “leakage period.” After that, starting in 1980, pit pull attacks started making headlines in newspapers. Now we’re inundated with them, and thus the attacks have increased, and for some reason the less logical amongst us have volunteered to do PR for these dogs.

      People need to stop breeding these animals, end of story, and the way to make that happen is to require licensing, steep fines for unlicensed animals, and mandatory spay and neuter laws. Any dog attacking humans or other pets should be immediately euthanized. The maneaters weren’t culled back in the days of dogfighting, so it needs to be done now.

      “If a human attacked, you would have THAT human, but not all humans, correct? Same goes for dogs.”

      Stop comparing your dogs to humans. They aren’t humans, they don’t have civil rights and aren’t about to get any, and we can stereotype them all we want, and we should if we know what’s good for us. Your so-called “loveable” dog has violent blood in it. We deliberately bred them to attack. They bite, hold on, and roll like a f’n alligator and have to have a special stick to get their jaws off their victims. You may be in denial about the origins of your cur and how it should logically be expected to act, but please don’t expect everyone else to be taken in by it’s current temperament and so-called cuteness. The only thing these dogs can be predicted to do is attack. Period. Just like we can expect a border collie to herd, or a pointer to point, or a coonhound to tree a raccoon. They were not bred to be “amazing” family dogs, they were bred to kill other dogs. Those of us who know that are not surprised by all of the stories in the news. One wonders about people who ARE.

      • Aundria

        NO, MY DOG DOES NOT HAVE VIOLENT BLOOD IN IT! You are ridiculous. You are the reason Pit Bulls get murdered. YOU ARE! Go get some education! How can anyone, in this day and age, still be so hateful and mean and moronic? And by the way, a Pits jaws DO NOT LOCK! Go do your research on “nanny dogs” and you’ll see THERE what Pits have been used for. Just recently, TWO LABS on TWO OCCASIONS killed two children. How about we euthanize the criminals who are fighting these dogs? They only learned what they were taught. Have you ANY idea how MANY Pit Bulls are in homes today? And that over 99% of them will never attack? Did you know a Jack Russell and a Golden Retriever have killed people? And that statistically, the breed MOST likely to attack isn’t the Pitbull or Staffordshire, but the HUSKY AND MALAMUTES? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  • BD Cooper

    BTW There is nothing I can legaly do to the ownwer of the dog that tried to kill my daughter. I cant even get the dog to destroyed. I live in NJ and the state vicious dog laws states I can only kill it if it attacks ME or harrasses my livestock and then it has to be done in a human manner! If I had been there when the event happened and killed the dog with a baseball bat I would be charged with 2 feloney counts of animal abuse. The first for killing a dog that was not attacking me (just my defenseless 3 year old) and the second for killing the dog in an inhuman manner. Its evident you people hold the lives of vicious dogs in a higher regard than you do our children. You should be deeply ashamed of yourselves.

    • Wally56

      I recommend spending some time reading your state laws more carefully or just move out of NJ. I would be surprised if you would be charged with a crime if you intervened to stop a dog attack, especially if the dog was in the process of biting your child. Any state that does not allow an adult to protect a child from an animal attack by neutralizing the threatening animal is not worth living in. I don’t know what the definition of inhumane is (check your spelling BD) but when responding to a life threatening situation, a baseball bat does not seem inhumane to me. In fat, is seems like underkill. However, you do live in one of the most socialist states in the country so you probably don’t own a gun, which would be eminently more useful in this situation than a bat.

    • Sarah

      I have an australian shepherd/german shepherd/lab mix and she has horrible anxiety. She has nearly bitten several children because she is scared to death when they run at her and try to pet her without asking me. Of course no parents to be found. And that’s my fault? She is always on a leash and she is on medication to control it but she is terrified of screaming children. But it would 100% be my fault if some kid gets bit by her for running at her and screaming” LET ME PET YOUR DOG!” No. Any dog can be frightened into defending itself, just like a person can. It is unfortuante your child got hurt by an animal but it does happen. Does that mean we get rid of dogs? How about we get rid of cars because people get hit by them? Let’s throw out alcohol, cigarettes and guns then make a law ensuring everyone wear sunscreen is they plan to go outside as well. It doesnt matter what the breed is people need to practice responsible ownership. And btw when kids ask me I tell them no, they can not pet her, and I also tell them they need to stop running toward animals they don’t know and ask them where their parents are.

      • LoveMyMSgt

        So your dog is clearly unsocialized and nearly bitten several children and is terrified of them, but you live on a military installation where there are children all over the place.

        Makes perfect sense.

        I only wonder if, or when, your dog loses it on one of these free-range children, if you plan on blaming the victim. Until that day, I hope you keep your poor dog under lock and key, for its and your safety.

        • Sarah

          OR parents could teach their kids not to run at animals they dont know without asking the obviously present owner. I only live on base because there is nowhere else to live in this place. Trust me, I NEVER WILL AGAIN because there is nothing worse to me than the sound of screaming children. And she is fine with adults, has never bitten ANYONE and I hope if we ever meet she pees on your foot.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            “OR parents could teach their kids not to run at animals they dont know without asking the obviously present owner.”

            They could, but your dog is your responsibility, not theirs. There is no such thing as negligence in a court of law against a mother who failed to teach her child about YOUR dog’s issues. People should not approach strange dogs, but this is small comfort when you’re sitting in civil court facing a lawsuit when your dog has damaged someone.

            “I only live on base because there is nowhere else to live in this place. Trust me, I NEVER WILL AGAIN because there is nothing worse to me than the sound of screaming children.”

            I too hate the sound and will never live on a base. But a dog with anxiety is a dangerous dog. Any dog expert knows that. Ergo you should probably either get rid of it or move.

            “And she is fine with adults, has never bitten ANYONE”

            What are you going to do when it does??

            “and I hope if we ever meet she pees on your foot.”

            If you wonder why there are issues with BSL, it’s because so many of the owners have this kind of anti-social attitude. No bad dogs, just bad owners, right? I’m sure you think this doesn’t include you.

            “And children shouldnt be “free range”.

            We keep DOGS on leashes here, not children.

        • Sarah

          And children shouldnt be “free range”. That is part of the problem. Get your kid away from me. I am not obligated to like or enjoy children because my husband is in the military. If your kid bit me I bet you wouldn’t think it would be a big deal.

    • Aundria

      Again, I don’t hold the lives of VICIOUS DOGS over that of my children. I’m just not so close-minded or cold-hearted to think any specific breed should be punished for what just one did. Otherwise, I would hate every person alive since I’ve been hurt, physically, by another human. But people with common sense know that not every person is horrible because one person violated you. Same with dogs. Blame the DEED, not the BREED. Get educated.

      • LoveMyMSgt

        “I’m just not so close-minded or cold-hearted to think any specific breed should be punished for what just one did.”

        You apparently don’t understand the first thing about dog breeding. If border collies were bred to herd sheep, and you see some herding sheep, and farmers tell you border collies make excellent herding dogs and that they use them to herd sheep all the time, would it be a fair conclusion to expect the majority of border collies to have a herding instinct? Do you think if you kept one it could be expected to herd things?

        If you travel to the Ozarks and encounter some hunters with packs of redbones or blueticks, and the hunters tell you the redbones and blueticks make excellent hunting dogs and they use them all the time for hunting, could you logically expect that redbones and blueticks hunt well? Do you think if you kept one it could be expected to bay loudly and try to tree the neighborhood small animals?

        Now if Michael Vick tells you that his pit bulls are excellent fighters, they attack every other dog in sight, and rip their throats out with gusto and will go after any other small animal in sight, and Vick’s dogfighting friends say the same of their pit bulls, would you expect pit bulls would be the preferred dog of dogfighters because they must be mighty good at fighting? Do you think if you kept one it might bite someone or something?

        Your cluephone is ringing, feel free to pick it up at any time.

        • Aundria

          Michael Vick is scum. And most of his dogs were actually SAVED. Rehabilitated. And the ones who couldn’t be are alive now because of Dogtown USA, and that is where they will live out there lives with no more fear or violence. You really must just hate dogs. You don’t like a Pit Bull, then you take your CLUELESS and heartless and uneducated self away from them. Don’t have any dogs, ever, though, because you may end up one of the rare victims of an attack by a Jack Russell or a Basset Hound. Or maybe a cat will claw out your eyes. Or a parrot might take a finger.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            “And most of his dogs were actually SAVED. Rehabilitated.”

            No, MOST of the dogs went to an animal “sanctuary” in Utah called Best Friends. BF received 22 of Vick’s dogs, only three of which have been adopted out to families (each of which came with an $18,000 dowry due to the deal struck in United States v. Vick) in 35 months. Since then, there have been several incidents at BF involving the dogs (which makes great fund raising opportunities, BTW) that resulted in their deaths. One dog, Tug, got loose and killed another dog, Beans, in its run. Tug then broke into another Vick dog’s run, Denzel, a fight resulted in Denzel being rushed to the dog hospital with life threatening injuries.

            Two Vick dogs were adopted out that were killed by cars, Jasmine and Lucky Seven. Lucky Seven jumped its fence immediately after adoption, was at large, and was then run over.

            Several other of the dogs have succumbed to illness or post surgery complications.

            Of the 51 dogs seized from Bad Newz Kennels, 47 went to rescue sanctuaries, not families.

            As for fighting dog rehabilitation, an article in the Jackson, MS Clarion-Ledger cites two experts who deny that fighting dogs can be rehabilitated. The article can be seen here: http://mypitbullpro.com/forum/archive/index.php/t

            “Known for their strength and stamina, pit bulls that have fought or are trained and bred to fight are virtually impossible to rehabilitate, said Georgia Lynn, director of the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society.

            ‘They are wired genetically different from every animal we have,’ Lynn said. Breeding has altered them.

            ‘Pit bulls fight to the death.’

            Debra Boswell, director of the Jackson-based Mississippi Animal Rescue League, points to a 2000 study showing pit bulls were at the top of the list for fatal attacks from 1979-1998.

            The report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed Rottweilers second.

            Boswell said she doesn’t believe rescued pit bulls are adoptable.”

            “You really must just hate dogs. ”

            No, I really like dogs. It’s their stupid owners that get under my skin. Especially the bad ones who either mistakenly think “My dog would never do that” or KNOW that their dog is indeed capable of doing that and that’s why they own it in the first place.

            But don’t blame me – blame the owners ;-)

      • LoveMyMSgt

        “But people with common sense know that not every person is horrible because one person violated you. Same with dogs.”

        YOUR DOG IS NOT A PERSON, LADY. It’s a DOG. It’s “feelings” are not hurt by “discrimination.” We deliberately breed them to either appear a certain way or behave a certain way. Through the science of genetics and deliberate selection, dogs have become tools. We use them to do jobs or as personal companions, but they aren’t fuzzy wuzzy human beings who need a Doggie Civil Rights Act.

        And if you were going to anthropomorphize a dog, the least you could do is pick a breed that deserves the distinction, like a flattie. Sheesh.

        • Seabee

          It appears to me from your comments that you have no love for ANY dog, if you did you would know they do have feelings and feel fear and love and loyalty. I also see from your comments that there is no arguement made that would sway your opinion. Animals DO have rights as living beings, you in your arrogance as a human DO NOT have the right to dictate life and death of other living beings because of your narrow-minded view of dogs being nothing more than a geneticaly engineered tool for humans to use or dispose of as they see fit.
          My dogs are now and have always been members of my family. I have owned Golden retreivers, terriers, pitbull mixes, elkhounds, huskies and several others I can tell you that the terrier breeds are much more aggressive than any other breed I have owned yet I never hear someone “banning” them. Owners need to treat their dogs with love, train them responsibly and know their mannerism in certain situations to head off confrontations before they happen. It’s called being a responsible owner.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            “It appears to me from your comments that you have no love for ANY dog”

            Nope, I like dogs, it’s stupid people I can’t stand.

            “if you did you would know they do have feelings and feel fear and love and loyalty.”

            I do know that, I just don’t care. I hardly think the feelings of an inbred cur should have any impact whasoever in a discussion of what policy should be on public safety.

  • SemperSteen

    I’ll just say that I think breed bans are complete crap. They accomplish nothing but ensuring a lot of great animals are separated from their families and/or destroyed. They are based in ignorance and laziness.

  • Because there is no way to determine a breed, you can never enforce this policy. Animal control officers working on base have told me they hate breed bans because they can’t enforce them. Cities around the nation are lifting breed bans because they found that you could never tell for sure what a breed is. The policy unfairly punishes breeds and it’s not just about the breeds, it’s about having a policy that is consistent no matter what you move and what housing you’re in. If these breed bans were so effective, it would be the exact breeds from duty station to duty station, but it isn’t. That practice undermines the premise of the rule. Sometimes it’s about money and housing insurance claims. Breed labels have no scientific basis and must be abolished. Please sign this petition on Change.org. We plan to take this to our military leadership and share with them these concerns.

    Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/standardize-milit

    Like the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/StandardizeMilitaryPet

    • StopBreedBanning

      The State of North Carolina is trying to ban “Bully Breeds” as well. Multiple counties have bans on them as well, so it’s a huge problem off post as well. The whole thing is really frustrating. Thank you for this article and for your support in abolishing Breed Bans!!!

      • You forgot Countries also have breed bans…

        • StopBreedBanning

          3 days later and my blood is still boiling over this issue. How is it that people can smoke at a public park ON POST, (tossing their cigarette butts on the ground for little kids to pick up) around my kids and myself, exposing us to second hand smoke, but my loveable pit bull puppies were considered dangerous?
          (not a jab at smokers, I just don’t want my kids and I to be exposed to the smoke).

          I am very passionate about this subject. I could come up with tons of examples of how other people are far more dangerous to the rest of us than a few breeds of dogs. Especially on post.

          At any given moment, you could die because of a million different causes, yet we still continue to drive cars, smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, fly on planes, go swimming, going hiking, riding motorcycles, owning guns, etc…my point is, of all the “dangers” we’re exposed to every day, whether we see the consequences tomorrow or 20 years from now, it doesn’t stop us from living our lives, leaving our homes, and doing the things we love most.

          It’s frustrating to me that breeds are being banned out of fear and ignorance. Far more people are a danger to themselves and their own children because of their laziness and lack of proper parenting. I think Pit Bulls are the least of our worries.

          • Peka

            “At any given moment, you could die because of a million different causes, yet we still continue to drive cars, smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, fly on planes, go swimming, going hiking, riding motorcycles, owning guns, etc…my point is, of all the “dangers” we’re exposed to every day, whether we see the consequences tomorrow or 20 years from now, it doesn’t stop us from living our lives, leaving our homes, and doing the things we love most. ”

            You are absolutely right in this statement. But the one place it goes wrong in this debate is that all of those things you listed are choices that people can make for themselves. I can choose to get in my car and speed or text; I can choose to eat junk food and wind up getting diabetes from it; I can choose to smoke and wind up getting cancer from it… but those are all choices I make fully aware of what the consequences might be.

            However, if YOU choose to let YOUR dog run freely through base housing, or YOU neglect to keep YOUR yard secure and YOUR dog gets loose and bites me or attacks my child… that is not my choice. Just as BRASS said, no one has a right to endanger my family and if your chosen breed isn’t allowed on base (or in your case even off base) then if your dogs mean that much to you, YOU have yet another choice to make. It is all about priorities.

            I will again say, I have no issue with bully breeds (we own a bulldog) and I do think that it is more about the owners than the breeds, but, again, if a particular breed is prone to aggression and/or has been shown to be involved in a majority of the cases considered in the decision making process, then a breed ban will happen. And again, case by case is simply too costly which is why they blanket instead.

          • Peka

            Just a note to StopBreedBanning… all the “YOUR”s I used above aren’t directed at you personally. I don’t know you and from the information you have shared here, you sound like a more than responsible pet owner! I simply used “your” and “my” in place of what would have wound up being a much wordier post if I had to repeatedly use “the pet owner’s” and “the victim’s” in place of the pronouns. :)

          • Sarah

            the one place it goes wrong in this debate is that all of those things you listed are choices that people can make for themselves. I can choose to get in my car and speed or text; I can choose to eat junk food and wind up getting diabetes from it; I can choose to smoke and wind up getting cancer from it… but those are all choices I make fully aware of what the consequences might be.

            My issue with this comment is that every time a chid runs at my dog or ventures into my backyard and sticks their hand in my fence is that their parent either isnt around paying attention, or is sitting on their front porch on the phone smoking a cigarette drinking a beer barely paying attention. Then they have nasty things to say to me about not controlling my dog. Then they pick up their kid, blow the cigarette smoke in their face and go inside. Yes as adults we can make the choice to drink or smoke or text and drive but those decisions have consequences. Just like being an irresponsible pet owner does as well as letting your child run at a dog they don’t know. We can’t get rid of stupid kids or stupid parents so I am not getting rid of my dog trying to protect herself.

          • Peka

            Sarah, that is a very good point on people not controlling their children and something I too see all the time in my neighborhood. My suggestion to you on that matter is to call housing or the MPs, whichever is more suitable in the situation. I have called the MPs to keep neighboring children who frequently played in my yard (they live a few houses down the street but for some reason like to play in my yard, it’s not like they are even my adjacent neighbors or from across the street). They would tear up the yard and garden areas, leave trash, write on my walls, just all around a general nuisance. The MPs took care of it. Also, look at your lease, there are general rules stated in every housing areas policies as to what age children must be to be unattended outside (in my area they must be at least 12, which of course I see children as young as 4 and 5 outside alone). Again, call housing or the MPs. Young children shouldn’t be outside unattended and even if they “are” (i.e. mom on the porch smoking and talking on her cell) it can still be addressed if they are being unruly or coming into your yard. I would also suggest reading your pet policy to see if you would be at fault for leaving your dog unattended in your yard however. In my neighborhood, the pet policy states that animals cannot be tethered or left unattended in the yard for extended periods of time (so basically if they are out there any longer than it takes to do their “business”, I have to be with them, but considering that it is also considered “negligence” if there are more than 3 piles of poo at any given point, I am typically out there when my dog is going anyway because I have to pick up the poo).

            It’s really all about reading and following the rules and if more people would do that with their pets, children and just all around neighborhood in general wise, our communities would be much safer, more pleasant, etc etc… And it’s not fair that it becomes a personal responsibility to rat out your neighbors for not following the rules but if someone doesn’t rat them out then how will anyone know and eventually address and help change their behavior? They get away with crap like that because everyone lets them. If you don’t say something to your neighbor about their kids sticking their hands in your fence, then you are at fault as well because you don’t hold them accountable. You can still be friendly and neighborly without being a pushover. Believe me, I do it all the time.

            And until you can change the thinking of these irresponsible people overall, again… what the higher powers deem to be aggressive breeds will continue to be banned because it is easier than knocking on doors to make people sign up for mandatory parenting and pet owning classes. They have to look out for the well being of the community as a whole.

          • Sarah

            I was told by housing they can’t do anything about it, kids or unattended pets, unless they see it and it is neglect. Since they are too busy to acctualy patrol neighborhoods it never happens where anyone gets anywhere with it. Also, I have the MP’s several times about loud neighbors or kids playing in streets without being watched and they say they can get to it when they have time. Nothing gets done. I myself have said something to children and their parents but that normally just results in feeling awkward on my own front porch. Finally, my dogs are never left alone or unattended. Especially in this heat. And I would NEVER tether any animal.

          • Hi Sarah, my next blog for Spouse Buzz is going to cover some of the ways we can ensure our bases are enforcing animal law. I am hearing a lot about the lack of enforcement, which is what causes the breed bans in the first place. If you don’t hold people accountable for dangerous dogs, you can never truly fix the root cause of this problem. I just read a graduate paper from another military blogger about numerous cases of animal cruelty in military housing that went unpunished or ignored until the media got involved. I understand that many might think officials have better things to do than worry about our dogs, but for many of us, our pets are family members. And, as family members, we must feel safe in our neighborhoods. To feel safe, we need pet policies enforced. It’s that simple.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            “If you don’t hold people accountable for dangerous dogs, you can never truly fix the root cause of this problem.”

            So, exactly how do you propose we hold pit owners accountable when their dog escapes the backyard and rips a child’s scalp off? Should they be sued for the child’s medical bills and call it good? What if the owner has no money? Most people do not have the kind of money on hand to pay for expensive medical bills, ER stays, life saving surgery, reconstruction, rehabilitation, etc.

            Should we demand pit owners carry insurance policies? Good luck finding a policy, there’s a reason most vendors won’t insure these animals, it’s a higher risk you know.

            An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and for the same reason a base may ban a pet alligator, it may ban a dog that bites like one.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            “My issue with this comment is that every time a chid runs at my dog or ventures into my backyard and sticks their hand in my fence is that their parent either isnt around paying attention, or is sitting on their front porch on the phone smoking a cigarette drinking a beer barely paying attention. Then they have nasty things to say to me about not controlling my dog.”

            It really does not matter what other people and their children are doing. You have already admitted that you are aware your dog is hostile and aggressive towards humans. Therefore you cannot argue that you did not know your dog would bite someone. YOU KNOW it is going to bite someone at some point in the future as you say it has *already* tried to bite several children. So it’s only a matter of time before someone is harmed since you haven’t, as a responsible adult should do, removed the dog from the environment.

            If your dog bites someone, you are liable whether you think you should be or not, at which point you can face as many as five different courts – civil, criminal, military, and ‘dog court.’ The victim can sue you at which point you may end up in bankruptcy court. Your dog can be taken away and euthanized. If it does bite someone, it will be branded as vicious and will receive no further reprieves.

            Keeping a dog on base where there are tons of children when you already know that dog is unpredictable and aggressive around children is called negligence. Knowing that children can get their hands in your fence and yet you keep a vicious dog on the other side of said fence is also negligence. In every jurisdiction you are liable for the outcomes of your dog’s behavior. The risk in your case is forseeable and preventable. Your specific scenario also still places you as liable because legally speaking small children cannot be held as negligent. You are also violating base animal control laws banning aggressive dogs regardless of breed from military bases which implicates you even further. An examaple from Vandenberg: http://www.vandenbergfamilyhousing.com/communityf

            Ramstein: http://www.housing.af.mil/Ramstein/
            Moron, Osan, McConnell, Ellsworth, JBLM, Ft. Drum, and however many other ones you want me to look up ALL BAN AGGRESSIVE DOGS FROM BASE HOUSING REGARDLESS OF BREED.

            Your dog does not belong on base.

            Tort law states that ‘A possessor of a domestic animal that he knows or has reason to know has dangerous propensities abnormal to its class, is subject to liability for harm done by the animal to another, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent it from doing the harm.’ You haven’t even exercised the utmost care by keeping a child-aggressive dog in an unreinforced fence or better yet, removing the dog from base when it’s not even supposed to be there to begin with.

            I’m surprised your neighbors haven’t reported you for violating base animal control laws – probably only due to the fact that they are ignorant about it. But a lawyer won’t be.

            You owe a duty of care to your neighbors to not keep an unpredictable, dangerous dog in their neighborhood, and you owe a duty of care to the dog to not expose it to situations that aggravate it. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t completely prevent the entire possibility of a child being bitten by removing yourself and your dog from base entirely and moving to a quiet neighborhood with fewer children, and instead assert YOUR rights to keep an unsocialized dog on family base housing at the risk of some child’s physical health when there is no such right. You don’t have a legal or ethical leg to stand on if you think the military would be perfectly fine with you keeping a dangerous mongrel in FAMILY base housing.

            Perhaps you didn’t know that the law holds YOU accountable even though you think the children and their parents are at fault – their degree of fault only determines their compensation, not your level of liability.

            So now you know. Rover has got to go, whether you go with it or not. If it doesn’t, you and an innocent child will pay a steep price. Do you think it will be worth it if your cur bites some mama bear’s cub on base?

          • Aundria

            My dog belongs anyplace my family is, because my dog is family. And for anyone dealing with ridiculous unlawful breed bans, here is a tip. And it’s VERY easy to do. And most veterinarians are on board with it. Ask your vet to write up a statement of breed. Simply getting a vet to put in writing that your dog is a “terrier” and you’ll be good to go with having your Pit Bull on post. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, there, LoveMyMSgt.

          • LoveMyMSgt

            It does not matter what the breed is. Bases ban AGGRESSIVE dogs REGARDLESS of breed. If your dog is aggressive and it attacks someone, you are liable whether you like it or not, especially if you knew about it beforehand. This is called negligence. Ask any attorney.

    • LoveMyMSgt

      “Animal control officers working on base have told me they hate breed bans because they can’t enforce them.”

      That’s funny because 22+ other countries worldwide seem to have figured out how.

      “The policy unfairly punishes breeds”

      Is that like an accusation of racism or something? Hello, it’s a DOG.

      • Aundria

        Yep, exactly right! It IS a form of unlawful discrimination. By the way, do you also have any idea how many times a dog that has attacked is MISIDENTIFIED as a Pit Bull….when it is NOT a Pit Bull!?!? And because nearly every single vet in practice right now can TELL YOU that there is NO WAY to accurately or correctly identify or pinpoint the exact breed of any dog that is not AKC or other certified pure breed.

        • LoveMyMSgt

          “It IS a form of unlawful discrimination.”

          It is not unlawful to discriminate against a dog.

          “By the way, do you also have any idea how many times a dog that has attacked is MISIDENTIFIED as a Pit Bull”

          If a dog mauls a person or causes an attack-related fatality, and if it can possibly be mistaken for a pit bull, and someone is laying in the hospital bleeding out, we at that point know the dog is not fit to live with humans end of story. I mean, this was never a problem with Lassie. We don’t have these arguments about collies. We don’t have an epidemic of packs of Lassies chasing down people’s livestock and killing off dozens at a time in some mad frenzy. We don’t have Lassies tearing out the throats of the elderly unprovoked and then people looking all confused about how it MIGHT not be a collie. It’s a pit bull if it ACTS like one. Behavior is a great identifying tool with dogs.
          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/pit

  • mjm

    I agree with the policy.

  • pacificsunn

    banning certain breed doesn’t solve any problems. if the root of the problem is the owner and lack of training then maybe we should look at solving that problem- making obedience training mandatory and affordable!

    • LoveMyMSgt

      Obedience training, huh. Here’s a story of a pit bull who not only went through obedience training but was being used as a “companion dog” to the elderly at senior centers (what folly). The dog, inexplicably of course as pits are wont to be, snapped and attacked a police horse, which then had to be retired at great cost to the city. The horse dumped its rider, resulting in injuries to the human police officer who had to spend time in the hospital with back injuries.
      http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Pit-bull-in

      The dog was tested repeatedly for behavioral issues, once by Animal Care and Control and once by the SPCA. It supposedly had “references” by almost a dozen people and was trained to do animal assisted therapy and to lead training classes.

      The dog had to be shot during the incident to keep it from further puncturing the horse’s back legs. The horse, AAA Andy, had to be retired because of the incident.

      There are dozens and dozens of stories about this. Now if you replaced the dog in the story with a Cavalier King Charles, would this story have been printed? How many Pekingese do you know like to viciously attack HORSES?

      • Aundria

        I know a Pekingese that scarred a little girls face. Badly. Oh no, let’s ban Pekingese dogs now too!

        • LoveMyMSgt

          “Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.”
          –Annals of Surgery April 2011 – Volume 253 – Issue 4 – p 791–797 http://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Abstract/

  • The problem is that while any dog can bite or become aggressive, the breeds that are generally banned are breeds that do more damage when they DO bite or become aggressive. It doesn’t matter how perfectly socialized your dog is; that dog is still an animal and if the situation warrants it, they WILL resort to their animal nature and be aggressive. Now maybe they would only attack if some teenager was harassing them; the teenager shouldn’t be harassing them, obviously, but a pit bull who is provoked to attack is going to do far more physical damage to the person they attack. That’s not a matter of socialization or temperament; that has to do with the physical characteristics of the breed. A rottweiler is more likely to cause serious permanent harm to a child (broken bones, severe crush injuries, etc.) than a Lab simply because the rottie’s jaws are designed in a way that allows them to do damage whereas Labs are bred specifically to have a “soft mouth” – their jaws don’t have the same leverage as many of these breeds that are banned.

    • Aundria

      As previously stated, here recently two towns over, on two separate occasions, two separate labs killed two separate children. It can happen. How about people tell their kids to not touch strange dogs, never pet without owner permission. That is a start. But ANY dog can hurt, maim or kill. ANY. Even the little ones.

  • While I would say that some dogs are stronger than others, there has been no scientific studies that can prove the bites on “banned breeds” are more dangerous than other dogs. It wasn’t until I started exploring the history behind BSL and how different dogs throughout history have been targeted that I really started understanding how wrong this policy really is. It’s never going to solve the root issue, which is an owner who fails to train and control an animal. You’ll never be able to prove a dog breed either, making the policy unenforcable. A great resouce for me is the National Canine Resource Council. There are some really great links there that have helped me with understanding this issue.

    • LoveMyMSgt

      “It’s never going to solve the root issue, which is an owner who fails to train and control an animal.”

      What are you, Siegfried and Roy? Trying to train an inherently vicious animal not to be vicious didn’t work for them, and it won’t work for you. The problem with pit owners is their almost universal lion-tamer complex (that and pit owners are ten times as likely to be criminals according to studies). They believe they’re superior dog owners. Some even seek out dogs that have already attacked people or other animals for “rehabilitation.” “I can fix it because I’m the next Cesar Millan!” Either that or because that pit puppy is so cute and has so far done nothing wrong, you think it’s trustworthy, and insist everyone else should trust it too, despite it’s genetic tendencies. A San Francisco police horse has a longer memory than you.

      If you have a problem identifying what is and is not a pit bull, go to your local animal shelter. They’ll be packed with pits as long as they don’t have issues with liability because thugs and meth lab bikers like to breed them at every opportunity. For every 1 pit bull adopted out, 600 are killed. Go to petfinder, you’ll see they have more pit bulls and their various euphemisms than any other breed. Every time, EVERY TIME, I see a pit in public it’s unneutered. When the animal shelters are packed with pits, you would think owners would agree to fix their animals. So you can’t argue that these roaming uncut mongrels are breeding stock. It’s just that their owners are morons.

      You can read all the links you want, they won’t help you if you failed statistics.

      • Aundria

        Hey, I am ALL for MANDATORY spay and neuter programs. ABSOLUTELY! And if I had myself a great big lot of land, I’d go in and save just as many damn Pit Bulls as humanly possible.

  • SVG

    As someone who carries scars on her body from one of the “family friendly” dog breeds, I have a few words that I’d like to share. I do not wear shorts or skirts because part of my right calf is missing. I went through almost a year in bandages because it took 8 reconstructive surgeries to fix my face. A golden retriever did this to me.
    Do I now advocate that all golden retrievers be destroyed because one was not socialized correctly, had crappy owners and got out of his yard? No. I aknowlege that this dog is not representative of all dogs regardless of breed. Also, as an owner of two rotweillers, I live everyday with people judging my dogs based on crappy owners. I would never do that to other good owners.
    Also, just as an added bit of info, the CDC and the University of Pennsylvania did a study a couple of years ago about dog breeds and agression. The result of their research……the most agressive breed was…..wait for it……dashunds followed by chihuahuas, jack russel terriers and great danes. They also found that the breed of dog that sends more children to the emergency room than any other breed…..cocker spaniels.

    • JCA

      true story when I lived at home with my Jack Russell before I got married my parents got denied home insurance because of him. A jack russell. Not a dobie or rott. People have no clue. He is significantly more aggresive than my sisters rott or my brothers dobie.

  • annoyed

    LoveMyMSgt I think you need to find something better to do with your time. Go find a cause you believe in that is worth while and preach about that. It’s like you’re sitting in front of a computer waiting to argue about this with everyone. RELAX.

    • LoveMyMSgt

      Did it ever occur to you that people commenting here might be attack victims and that’s why they believe what they do and that sometimes they work on causes they believe in when the opportunity arises?

      Thank you for your support.

  • Aundria

    Dogs, in fact, DO have feelings. If you think they don’t, it must be because YOU don’t have any.

    • LoveMyMSgt

      “Dogs, in fact, DO have feelings.”

      Who cares???

      I mean what are you going to have a discussion with it or something? “Chainsaw, why did you maul little Timmy while he was playing with his trucks? What were you feeling, at that moment? What was going through your mind?”

      GTFOH!

  • fourleggedfan

    I work at a dog kennel, I have a ton of experience with multiple dog breeds. This year alone, I have been bit by six dogs. Not one of them was a bully breed. Not one. I got bit by two beagles, some rat-dog thing, a lab, a lab mix, and a husky. We have tons of pits come in and out of of the doors daily. I own two dobermans that I take with me to work regularly to play with other dogs that are being kenneled. My husband got PCS’d in Lewis, and we’re going to have to live on base and my two dobermans are probably going to have to be rehommed, or we will have to drop 150K on a house. If you agree with breed bans then you need some educating. There is nothing about these things that works. If I wanted every dog that has bit me, that looks like the ones that bit me, or is a mutt of the ones that has bit me, then you ban damn near half the dogs alive.

    Common sense.

  • Amber

    I don’t think people are doing research before they are opening their traps. There are no bad breed of dog. Yes, there are breeds that have a higher prey drive, but its rare that it is human driven. Pit bulls are a breed with a high prey drive. They do have a tenancy to be dog aggressive, especially if they are not socialized at a very young age. Dog aggressive is a very different thing than human aggressive. Pits may have been bred to fight but they were also bred as farm dogs. Here is why. Even if they were bred to fight other dogs they were specifically bred to not harm humans. When they were first used in dog fighting handlers needed to be able to handle their dogs, which meant they needed to know they would not be bit. I have been around many different breeds of dogs my whole life. Including pit bulls. I own one now. In 31 years I have met one pit bull that I was afraid of. And I wasn’t afraid because she was a pit. I was afraid because her owners neglected her, beat her, tethered her outdoors, and in general treated her like crap. She was skiddish, barked at anything, and growled if you got too close. Needless to say the right people were called and the dog was taken away because she could hurt anyone. I have been bitten by numerous dogs in my life. Not one of them a pit bull, a rottweiler, a doberman, a boxer, a chow, a mastiff, a German shepard, or an akita. I have been bitten numrous times by a pom/chihuahua mix, a dalmation, a lab, and a hound mix. I would never rally to ban those dogs though. People need to get over this fear and do some research. People need to be more proactive as well. We can not expect to keep our beloved animals if other are not willing to step in when they see something wrong. If you see that a dog (any breed) is being treated badly step in and make the phone call to someone. Teach out kids dog safety. And for god sake, when you are trying to find a pet for your family, find a pet that is the right match, not just because its cute or you like that breed. Just because you like that breed doesn’t mean that breed is a good fit for your lifestyle.

  • Lorraine

    A pet is only as violent as the person/people who train it make it. There are too many ignorant, ‘politically-inclined’ bureaucrats (and people, in general!) out there who prefer to generalize any bad press any breed/part-breed gets. Amber’s comments (above) are RIGHT ON! Better to be educated than to blindly believe the emotion-tainted misinformation that pervades our society.