Heavens to murgatroid, what is becoming of this country? On the one hand we have very power-drunk nanny-staters who push overly-bureaucratic legislation like breed bans, and on the other hand we have racist podunkers who pass the same breed-specific legislation only with a racist bent. The former, the nanny-staters, we lobby against every day because they are so busy pushing impotent breed-specific legislation it’s enough to keep a body quite busy. But in a disturbing recent trend, we’re starting to see a lot more blatantly racist legislation involving pets too.
For instance, Hollister, California was looking to adopt a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for “pit bulls” and Chihuahuas claiming an “overcrowding” of Chihuahuas and “pit bulls” (and “pit bull” is not a breed, mind you). Hmm, wonder which ethnic groups that ordinance might be directed at? The Chihuahua Club of America issued a notice to the City of Hollister last week informing Hollister City Attorney Stephanie Atigh that the Chihuahua Club’s breed standards were not to be used to uphold a breed-specific ordinance against Chihuahuas; that breed standards are copyright protected. Atigh’s inexplicable response was, “It’s hogwash…We can use it in the way we are.” Uh, no ya can’t Ms. Atigh and any attorney worth her salt should know why. Indeed, the use, or misuse, of a breed club’s breed standards for the purposes of upholding what is obviously a ridiculous and prejudicial ordinance will be shot down by any sound court of law because it is indeed a copyright infringement. Gee, shouldn’t a lawyer, like, know that or something???
And will Hollister howl in protest and say that their mandatory spay/neuter ordinance proposal isn’t racial profiling in disguise? Heck, even this commenter to the article knew it was racial profiling when he added his own prejudiced two-cents:
“Mexicans should stop thinking that pit bulls make them look macho – they just look stupid with those ugly dogs. A mean dog does not make the man.”
Beyond this individual’s glaring misinformation about “pit bulls,” whatever those are, even he appears to know that this ordinance would potentially racially profile Latinos (and African-Americans). That’s funny. They used to say only gang-bangers, drug dealers, and dog fighters owned “pit bulls” — and we all know which minorities those comments are aimed at — but now they’re adding the Taco Bell dog into the mix. (You know, those dogs that originate in Chihuahua, Mexico?) It seems that we have confirmation: Breed-specific legislation profiles specific breeds of dog and their minority owners.
Like I said, we’ve seen this before. For example, look at this now infamous quote from Chicago Alderman Ed Burke who told the Sun-Times in 2009,
“‘When you drive down the street and see a gang banger with all kinds of gang regalia walking along with two or three pit bulls, its pretty simple for the policeman to raise the dogs tail and see whether or not its spayed or neutered. If its not, the gang member is in violation,’ Burke said, noting that street gangs operate dog-fighting rings.”
These comments were made in support of Burke’s now failed mandatory spay/neuter proposal. Still, at the time, minorities knew full well the implication of those comments; that the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, if passed in Chicago, would mean even more racial profiling for them. It was also quite an embarrassment for the city of Chicago. Folks wondered why the city of Chicago needed a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance to crack down on gangs.
It’s things like these that make me conclude this post with the flabbergastedness I started it with. Like others, I have no explanation for this irrationality. It’s very scary to me, however, that folks like those that proposed this mandatory spay/neuter ordinance in Hollister hold political positions. Really? These are the folks entrusted by us, the voting public, to pass reasonable and sensible laws? It should also be alarming to those folks who think they’re safe from breed-specific legislation because they own a small-breed dog like Chihuahuas or other breeds not among the list of most often banned or restricted breeds. As folks opposed to breed-specific legislation have been saying all along, no dog owner is safe from this kind of idiocy, because with elected officials like these, who needs enemies?