Monday, November 13, 2006

Careful, Don't Trip on My Soapbox

Banning breeds is stupid.

There are a lot of communities in the US trying to ban particular breeds of dogs. Mostly it's pit bulls because they say that pitties are dangerous, loose canons just waiting to go off.

That's bullshit.

Pits have a couple of traits that made me decide not to get one. They are very high energy and need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They do also have the locking jaw thing. Once they've bitten into something their jaws can lock down and you can't pry them apart. You have to surprise them into releasing on their own. Common techniques include throwing water on the dogs, grabbing the dog's balls or sticking a finger up his or her ass. Delightful, but effective. I walk a lot but I'm not a runner and I don't hike for hours or head out to the park to play games all day on a weekend. I'm not an ideal pit owner so I'm not going to do it. Most of the pits I've met, though, are hilariously lovey to humans, and often love to have other dogs around to play with.

I was waiting for the bus the other day and a young woman was walking a smallish grey-blue pit who was full of life. The puppy pulled herself and her girl over to me. The dog nuzzled me and I leaned down and pet her. The girl panicked, "Oh, OH!" and she half heartedly tugged at the leash. The dog stretched up to get near my face, finally crawling up the wall behind me so she could get nearer to my face without being rude and jumping up on me. I scritched her ears and leaned down so she could lick my cheek and the increasingly nervous girl squeaked, "Do you like dogs?"

Right there is why banning breeds won't do you any good. It's not about the breed it's about the owners. This girl didn't know a a damn thing about owning a dog or caring for it and she owns a high maintenance dog.

I'm the first to admit that I didn't know shit about dogs and less than that about my breed of dog before I got Emily. But I learned. I know some now and I know where I made mistakes and I got lucky and I took responsibility for my mistakes, too.

Pits aren't the only dogs I know aren't for me.

Small fluffy dogs - High pitched and effusive barking. It wouldn't be long before I stepped on the sucker.

Greyhounds - They look like dinosaurs and it freaks my shit out to wake up to a prehistoric being staring down at me. Also, they're nervous and picky in general and it's just not a good idea for me to have a dog who's more nervous and picky than me. It's already a close call with Em, she's pretty nervous. And they get lonely, they hate to be alone for too long and I have to be out of the house a lot, it'd be cruel.

Border Collies - Not going to have a dog with a stronger work ethic than me. Can't take the guilt.

Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers et. al. - Too much upkeep, I'm way too lazy. My dog doesn't like baths and I don't like giving them, we're a perfect pair.

Cocker Spaniels - Too much pee.

It's probably borderline for me to have the dogs that attract me - German Shepherds, Rottweilers, even the occasional Doberman. They're working dogs and I probably don't work as much as I ought to for that. They're protective which can be a blessing and a curse but is a good thing if they're properly socialized. Yet we know how good I am at socializing. I don't think getting the dog her own blog counts. But I'm willing to work hard at all this because I love the breed and I love the dogs and I love the way they love me back more than anything.

If they start banning breeds "my" breeds won't be far behind. Then the list will go on, as the inexperienced owners get different breeds those breeds will be added. Eventually they'll get to my first choice, Yorkies. If you're going to ban a breed start there. Yappy, arrogant, and pointy little teeth! (I was bitten by a yorkie as a toddler. In the yorkie's defense I was covering his eyes and yanking a bone out of his mouth but they still give me the heebie jeebies.)

If there's a bill like this in your area I urge you to vote against. If nothing else because it won't solve the problem and someone will only be asking for your money again later for a program that will (hopefully) actually get to the root of the issue.


  1. Can I put my soapbox on top of yours? We'll be able to yell louder from up there.

    If everyone chose the right dog for the right reasons, the breed banning discussion would be pointless. Take the time to learn about the creature you're planning to share your life with.

    I used to know a woman who worked with a Pointer Rescue Society. They had a woman call them to surrender her pointer, because... it didn't get along with her pheasant.

  2. Anonymous2:49 PM

    re your post: Way too true!

    re the pinter and the pheasant: jrh ... you're making that up right?

  3. Anonymous2:21 PM

    There's a man with 5 dobermans who I see in Prospect Park every now and then when I go early for my bird walk. It's a beautiful sight to see them bounding down the meadow.

    I hope he has a large lawn. (God knows where that would be in Bklyn, but...)