Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Bluefield City Board’s decision to ban “pit bull type” dogs has set up the community for a number of unwanted consequences (“Ordinance to ban future pit bulls from Bluefield passed 4-0,” April 23, Bluefield Daily Telegraph). Pet owners have only 10 days from passage to register their dogs or face confiscation and potential euthanasia of their family’s best friend. The ordinance can be devastating not only for the dogs themselves, but also for many animal rescuers who must now brace for an expected influx of dogs and Bluefield families who are now at risk of losing their dogs.
This is an unnecessary ordinance, and impossible to effectively enforce. It requires animal control officers to identify a pit bull dog at a glance, when it is widely accepted that there is no such breed as a “pit bull.” Controlled studies demonstrate that even trained professionals fail to accurately identify such dogs. All sorts of dogs will be swept up by this canine profiling, and prolonged court cases to determine “proof of pit bull” will waste valuable taxpayer dollars that could be better spent on the enforcement of current city and state laws which regulate spaying and neutering and proper care and containment of animals.
Breed-specific legislation is most often passed subjectively or in response to isolated events — events which rarely reflect the true composition of pets in a community. The true risk for dog bites involves factors such as socialization, the dog’s living conditions and the owner’s behavior.
West Virginia state director
The Humane Society of the United States