Ripon, Wisconsin to Look at Banning “Pit Bulls” in July 2013

According to the Ripon Press in Ripon, Wisconsin, the city will be considering a possible “pit bull” ban as soon as July 2013.   Ripon’s current ordinance already incorrectly deems that non-existent “breed” “pit bull” “dangerous.”   In other words, Ripon already has breed-specific legislation (BSL) that’s not working.   Indeed, people often mislabel a free-roaming dog problem as a “pit bull” problem, and so, of course, BSL is not going to curb a free-roaming dog problem.   Actually, BSL is ineffective in reducing dog bites, dog attacks, free-roaming dogs, or any of the behaviors it is meant to curb because it is looking at the behavior of dogs, when legislation should be looking to deter irresponsible human behavior.  

As we so often say, breed-specific legislation is looking at the wrong end of the leash.   It is wrong to point to animal behavior as the problem, when it is up to their human owners to train them in proper behavior.   Dogs dont subscribe to our human moral code of right and wrong behavior; they must be taught.

So, before Ripon considers a “pit bull” ban, I would suggest Ripon residents use this time to not only educate their Common Council about the inefficacy of breed bans — that they are ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional — but also to work on replacing the existing breed-specific dangerous dog law which is likewise archaic.   To put that another way, Ripon already has breed-specific legislation (BSL) that’s not working.   The solution to ineffective BSL isn’t more BSL; it’s to have adequate Animal Control to enforce the same set of rules — leash laws, escalating fines and penalties — for all dogs and all dog owners equally.

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