Aberdeen, South Dakota May Consider “Pit Bull” Ban

March 1, 2011 update: Looks like, according to this article, a breed ban is off the table in Aberdeen.   Bravo to Aberdeen for choosing instead to step up enforcement of their leash and animals-at-large laws.

Editor’s note:   A hint at that age-old urban mythology about “pit bulls” supposedly having locking jaws, etc. is not what you want to see from an Animal Control officer. (Nor does any dog attack “unprovoked.”)   You expect them to know better.   This type of ignorance is all the more reason that ACOs should receive ongoing training.   For instance, in a course taught by the National Animal Control Association, a national organization that trains Animal Control officers, Daniel Estep, Ph.D., instructs that “One breed is not more likely to bite than another breed.”

So, is Aberdeen really seeing more so-called “pit bulls” — though “pit bull” is not a breed — or is the ACO just mislabeling them as such? (Maybe there’s a “breed” bias there.)   We see this a lot.   Animal Control, nor law enforcement, nor victims of dog bites, nor even the owners of the dogs themselves can always tell what breed a dog is.   So we see a lot of people mislabeling a dog as a “pit bull” because reports about them are so prevalent in the media.   Bites from so-called “pit bulls” garner more attention for the victims and are more newsworthy, certainly, but labeling a dog a “pit bull” as if “pit bull” were an actual breed is a misnomer.   Aberdeen doesn’t appear to have a “pit bull” problem, probably just an increase in population which comes with more dogs per capita.   The more dogs you have, the more bites you will have just as a matter of course.

Please contact the Aberdeen Mayor and City Council here and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation has worldwide proven ineffective, unenforceable, and in this country, unconstitutional.

From Keloland.com:

It’s not every day you’ll see standing room only in Aberdeen’s city council chamber. But a requested pit bull ban drew in a large crowd Monday.

Police are asking the city council to pass a law banning the breed but allowing those already in the city to stay. It held a meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of such a law.    

Aberdeen’s animal control officer John Weaver says pit bull attacks in the city went up from two in 2009 to eight in 2010. Police are asking for a ban to prevent that number from getting any higher.

“How many bites by a pit bull can the city tolerate when they do such damage and have such potential for injury,” Weaver said.

Weaver says seven of those eight attacks were unprovoked and something needs to be done.

But councilman Clint Rux questioned if banning the breed is right, citing a study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It does not identify specific breeds most likely to bite or kill and thus is not appropriate for policy making decisions,” councilman Clint Rux read.

But Weaver argues, in Aberdeen, pit bulls are the breed that have been causing problems. He told the council all the dog attacks that caused serious injury in Aberdeen last year were caused by pit bulls.

Read this article in its entirety here.

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