Stupid is as Stupid Does: Center, Missouri Passes Breed Ban Based on Wildly Inaccurate Information
On June 2, 2010, the Center, Missouri City Council passed a vicious dog law which simultaneously banned “pit bulls” from the city limits. “Pit bull” owners were given 30 days to remove their dogs with no grandfather clause (or what is often mistakenly called a grandfather clause). While recognizing in their own ordinance that the slang term “pit bull” comprises many breeds of dog and their mixes, it seemed to escape city officials’ notice that statistics on “pit bulls” are therefore vastly skewed and meaningless. Indeed, if you define “pit bull” as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, their mixes, and any dog resembling those breeds, which could be countless breeds, does it not follow that statistics on this “breed” “pit bull” might be incredibly inaccurate??? Even the article about Center’s breed-specific ordinance in the Quincy Herald Whig acknowledges that “Pit bulls do not constitute a single dog breed in themselves.”
The article goes on to quote Center City Council member John Lake, who had a hand in creating the ordinance, who said,
“The whole issue is the way the jaws lock on the dog…You actually can’t pry them off. That’s what you run into with a pit bull dog.”
Those prejudiced against specific breeds have, since the 1980s, told this urban myth as if it were fact, embarrassing themselves and exposing their denseness since this “pit bull” mythology has long since been debunked.
In the face of such ignorance like that displayed by Councilman Lake, we are so often forced to cite the following expert testimony from Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D. — who is a Senior Research Scientist at the Savanna River Ecology Laboratory and an expert in training, handling, behavior and the anatomy of bully breeds — if only to once again debunk the lock-jaw mythology that is so conspicuously wrong it borders on stupidity:
…pit bulls do not have locking jaws. Based on actual dog dissections and measurement of their skulls, the evidence demonstrated that pit bull jaw muscles and bone structure are the same as other similarly sized dogs. No evidence was presented to demonstrate that a pit bull’s bite is any stronger than other dogs of its size and build…[C]ontrary to information relied upon and perpetuated by earlier case law…and law review articles…assertions that a pit bull can bite with a ‘force of 2,000 pounds per square inch’ have absolutely no basis in fact or scientific proof.
Councilman Brannon, picking up the ignorance where Councilman Lake left off, also went on to offer an apologetic for the prejudicial breed ban stating that the ordinance is,
…”fairly consistent with some of the other municipalities that have passed such ordinances,” including large cities like Denver and Kansas City. “We didn’t recreate the wheel.”
I think he means to say he didn’t recreate the flat tire, as Denver’s and Kansas City’s ordinances have both proven to be dismal failures.
A terrible form of oppression (one not aligned with this country’s constitutional foundations) is born when politicians believe that legislation can solve all of society’s ills. How does it escape elected officials’ notice that before a breed ban is passed that people were already not abiding by the law by irresponsibly allowing their dogs to be off-leash or to free-roam, etc.? Why, then, would such irresponsible people suddenly start abiding by a breed ban? And worse still, breed bans punish the law-abiding and turn perfectly peaceable citizens into a would-be criminal class. So, does breed-specific legislation not represent the most irresponsible of governance?
We allow that there may still be some small towns and communities that don’t understand that breed bans are biased, unconstitutional, and ineffective legislation, but that window of allowance is getting smaller considering the internet is full of information showing that BSL is prejudicial and impotent legislation. For those of us who have been fighting bad animal legislation for 10, 20, and even 30 years, we can all too easily recognize the radical animal rights faction behind BSL; a faction that clandestinely pushes BSL — and other forms of prohibitive legislation concerning animals which is meant as a stepping stone to end animal ownership — in the arrogant belief that no one should own domesticated animals, including even agricultural animals. But in the aftermath of the incredibly irresponsible piece of legislation that Center has passed, which has already put the city in a negative national spotlight, it is incumbent upon the elected officials of Center to do what they should have done prior: research breed bans and breed-specific legislation and learn the facts that it is expensive, unenforceable, ineffective, and worst of all, unconstitutional legislation.