Dangerous Dogs and Breed Specific Legislation

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  • Topic: Dog, Dog breed, Breed-specific legislation
  • Pages : 9 (2999 words )
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  • Published : December 11, 2005
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Dangerous Dogs and Breed Specific Legislation
Laws are currently in place designed to protect the public from dangerous dogs. Unfortunately, these laws are not strict enough and are not enforced consistently. As a result, dangerous dogs have been an increasing problem for several years. Some municipalities are pushing for specific breed banning through breed specific legislation. These community leaders feel breed specific laws would better protect the public against dangerous dog attacks. However, lawmakers are just that, they are lawmakers; they have no expertise in dog behavior and, therefore, have no business trying to correct a problem about which they know nothing. Separating dogs into the "good breeds" and "bad breeds" or banning specific breeds are not feasible solutions in eliminating the problem. Animal activist groups, veterinarians, and canine organizations are among the first to stand up and say that something must be done to protect people against dog attacks. They feel strictly enforced dog control laws which hold all dog owners accountable for their animals' behaviors are important in controlling dangerous dogs (Weiss). On the other hand, many animal activist groups believe government officials should not write these laws until they have been properly educated in the following: The impact of dogs' ancestral lineage on their behavior, which dogs are potentially more dangerous and why, the reasons breed specific legislation should not be implemented, and solutions for solving the problems. Studies suggest that the dogs known and loved today are descendants of the wolf (Zgurski). The wolf is an animal renowned for its ruthless predatory nature. It has an amazing ability to use aggressive tactics in protecting itself, obtaining vital resources, competing for pack status, and defending its territory (Price). Wolves are pack animals and organize themselves into ranks by age, strength, and ability, forming a pack hierarchy. The hierarchy of the pack begins with the

alpha pair. The alpha pair is the strongest in the pack and all others are subservient to them. They maintain their positions in the pack by showing confident aggressive body language. Often, only a simple display of aggression is needed in maintaining the alpha position (Donnelly). Today, domesticated dogs continue to exhibit wolf-like behaviors. Wolves demonstrate a high degree of loyalty to their mates and the rest of the pack members. They are very territorial animals and mark the boundaries of their territory by urination and defecation. Howling is a form of communication which helps them find one another and excites the pack getting ready to hunt. Playing is another form of communication which aids in developing strength, hunting skills, and maintaining the pack hierarchy. Wolves play with each other by chasing, ambushing, and mock fighting (wolf sanctuary:wolf pack). Many researchers consider domesticated dogs to be paedeomorphic wolves. This means that adult dogs retain those characteristics typical of juvenile wolves. For example, floppy ears are considered one characteristic of paedeomorphism. Adult wolves have erect ears while their young are born with floppy ears. Today, most domesticated dogs are not only born with floppy ears but also retain them throughout their adult life. Interestingly, a few breeds show even more wolf-like characteristics such as German shepherds and Huskies; their young are also born with floppy ears while adults' ears stand erect (Zgurski). Animal behaviorists say that some dogs today are still born with wolf-like, rather than pet-like, temperaments. They say that dogs are incapable of grasping human morals, operating solely on instincts which seem logical to them at the time (Price). Dogs, like wolves are also very territorial and can have easily triggered aggressive reactions. When they feel their territory has been invaded, whether by another animal or a...
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