Tell me, what is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a Pit Bull? I can't speak for everyone, but most of you didn't think of some cute, cuddly, playful puppy. Most of you envisioned a savage, snarling, devil dog, chained to post in an abandoned yard totally focused on tearing you to shreds. Such stereotypes are created and amplified by scandalous media reports which contribute greatly to societies' growing fear of these dogs. Fear implores a responsibility for the government to protect its people. So, Pit Bulls are being killed as a result of ignorance and fear, while dog bite related injuries and fatalities continue to rise because the true cause, irresponsible owners, is overlooked.
The public has been manipulated to believe all Pit Bulls are vicious. The medias' eagerness to report the latest stories, and gain viewer interest ratings, provides us with stories fabricated with inaccurately identified breeds and false facts using exaggeration and unexamined evidence such as: Cortland Pit Bull Mauling Death WBNG.com (Channel 12) Dec. 9, 2002 [The victim died from blunt force injury. It was later revealed that the victim was beaten to death by an acquaintance over a drug debt.]
and doesn't fully investigate, or purposely ignores, critical contributing factors specific to the attack (The Breed Issue 3). Sensationalizing individual incidents of dog attacks has generated an
unfortunate and inaccurate public and political perception as to the dangerousness and predictability of Pit Bull type dogs (Fatal 1). Ultimately, this misperception calls for disaster by initiating breed discriminatory laws while failing to address owner irresponsibility as the foundation attacks, therefore allowing for the continuance of dog bites and fatalities to occur.
In response the government adopted Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). This statute is directed toward one or more specific breeds and calls for the restriction or prohibition of these breeds. It identifies a dog as "dangerous" solely based on identity, regardless of the individual dogs' past and present behavior. Pit Bulls and breeds commonly referred to as Pit Bulls are frequently singled out and discriminated against in application of different forms of BSL (BSL in the US 1-4). In Ohio, although Pit Bulls are not completely banned, the state meticulously restricts them and automatically deems "vicious", all dogs belonging to any breed commonly referred to as a Pit Bull, their mixes, and dogs bearing resemblance. Owners of these breeds are required to carry a $100,000 liability insurance policy on the dogs, and must keep them properly confined when on the owners' property and muzzled, caged, or on a six-foot leash when in public. In Toledo, one Pit Bull per household is permitted and it must me muzzled and restrained or confined in public. Lucas County Dog Warden, Tom Skeldon, has confiscated and euthanized 690 Pit Bulls simply based on identity with no consideration of the dogs past or present behavior (Constitutional Dogfight 2). Ohio's interpretation of Breed Specific Legislation poses a ban on a breed that technically does not exist. It attempts to ban all Pit Bull type dogs, using a broad implied definition without specifying exactly what breeds are affected.
It is essential to understand that a Pit Bull is NOT a breed. It is a nickname given to a mix of breeds, irresponsibly cross-bred for the purpose of spectator fighting, and may show aggressive tendencies. The term, Pit Bull, is commonly mistaken and used as reference to registered breeds including the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier which were all bred for their companionship and loyalty (Pit Bull Press 1). Due to the difficulty in accurately identifying which dogs are Pit Bulls and which are actual breeds, all guilty of resemblance are automatically, inherently dangerous to society....