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Tag: breed bans

Amendment would bar breed bans in Md.

Delegate Cheryl Glenn will introduce an amendment to the state’s proposed dangerous dog law this week that would prohibit municipalities from banning or regulating dogs based on their breed.

Pushed by the Maryland Dog Federation, the proposed amendment to House Bill 1314, aimed at strengthening the state’s dangerous dog law,  reads:

“Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prevent a municipality from adopting or enforcing its own more stringent program for the control of dangerous dogs provided, however, that no such program shall ban, regulate or address dogs in a manner which is specific as to breed.”

The federation says the amendment will prohibit laws thats discriminate against particular breeds of dogs. Similar measures have been passed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and eight other states.

If approved the proposed amendment would void the current breed ban in Prince George’s County, where about 900 pit bulls and pit bull mixes are euthanized a year, according to the federation.

“The seizing of innocent family pets simply because of their appearance is unconscionable. Responsible dog guardians should be allowed to own whatever breed they want. Reckless owners should be prohibited from owning any dog,” the federation said.

The federation is encouraging those who support the amendment to write Delegate Cheryl Glenn (cheryl.glenn@house.state.md.us); and to attend the March 18 hearing of the Judiciary Committee (at 1 p.m. in Room 100 of the House Office Building in Annapolis).

Does Denver know a pit bull when it sees one?

pitornotThe city of Denver’s faulty logic just got proven even faultier.

As if  the city’s ban on pit bulls, which has led to hundreds of dogs being put to death, weren’t ill-advised enough, there’s this: Apparently even experts can’t correctly identify a pit bull visually.

Denver Post columnist Bill Johnson took part in experiment this week , along with about two dozen animal-shelter directors, volunteers, dog trainers and others. They viewed 20 dogs on videotape and were asked to identify each one — whether it was purebred or mixed and, if the latter, what it was a mixture of.

Johnson got the breed correct one time, and the professionals didn’t fare much better.

The breed identification study was administered by Victoria L. Voith, a professor of animal behavior in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University in Pomona in California.

Shelter workers, she explained, are generally 75 percent wrong when they guess the breed of a dog — and most do just guess. The only sure-fire way of knowing, she said, is DNA testing, which most shelters don’t use.

“Visual identification simply is not in high agreement with DNA analysis,” Voith said. “Dogs in Denver may be dying needlessly,” she said.

Marine Corps institutes blanket breed ban

Rottweiler-Puppy-PhotosThe U.S. Marine Corps –which had outlawed pit bulls, wolf hybrids, Rottweilers and any other dog with “dominant traits of aggression” at several of its bases — has now instituted a blanket, worldwide breed ban for all of its bases.

Stars and Stripes reports that the policy was approved in August.

The policy allows Marines and families currently living in base housing to keep their pets if they apply for a waiver by Oct. 10 and if their dogs pass a behavior test. That waiver will last only as long as the family remains at the same base or until Sept. 30, 2012.

By that date, under the policy, all Marine housing and Marine-controlled housing should be free of any full or mixed breeds considered pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf hybrids.

Daisy Okas, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club in New York, told Stars and Stripes that the policy comes as more local governments and public housing facilities are instituting similar bans.

 ”We’re seeing breed-specific bans pretty regularly,” she said. “We’re very against it. We look at how a dog behaves. It’s a frustrating topic.”

Tests may save dogs from Marine breed ban

Marine and Army bases that have banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other “dangerous dogs” — and with all due respect, sir, we’d suggest they review the previous post about Ella — are in some cases permitting owners of those breeds to apply for waivers allowing their pets to continue living on base.

The Marines Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina has agreed to allow animal behavior experts from the ASPCA to give temperament tests next week to more than 100 dogs. Dogs who pass get a waiver to stay on base until 2012.

The assessment includes testing the dog’s comfort level around strangers and children and how it behaves around its food and toys, according to an ASPCA press release.

Read more »

NYC bans pits, large dogs from public housing

New York’s Housing Authority has managed to discriminate against dogs and poor people — all in one vast, over-reaching swoop.

Effective today, pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers are banned from all city housing projects. 

“Finally someone is realizing that these potentially dangerous animals have no place in a confined urban space,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens), who has unsuccessfully lobbied state legislators to ban the dogs.

The new Housing Authority regulations also bar residents from owning any dog over 25 pounds; previously the limit was 40 pounds. (Housing Authority residents who already have the breeds will be able to keep them as long as they register by today.)

City housing officials said residents urged them to ban the dogs because they are vicious and threatening, the New York Daily News reports. But dog lovers who have pit bulls and the other targeted pooches are upset.

“He’s my baby,” Jose Hernandez, 32, who lives in the Lillian Wald Houses on the lower East Side, said of his 6-year-old pit bull, Chopper. “These are not bad dogs.”

The ASPCA and other groups opposed to the ban have been working with the city housing agency to ease some of the restrictions. “We are opposed to breed-specific bans,” said Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA senior manager of advocacy and campaigns. “And we find the weight restriction is too oppressive.”

Pits bulls banned from pay-to-play dog park

A brand new, a 50,000-square-foot indoor dog park has opened in Dallas — but the play area has been closed to pit bulls.

Unleashed, a multi-service dog center, complete with café and grooming services, says its insurance provider requested the ban on pit bulls.

“It’s not our call,” said co-owner Cody Acree. “I’d much rather take every animal and customer.”

Pit bulls were banned after a customer was bitten by his own dog during the park’s first day of operation, according to an article in the Dallas Morning News.

John Boeglin, 49, went to Unleashed with his three rescue dogs — including a pit bull mix. When his pit bull mix, Pinta, met another pit bull, the dogs began to fight and Boeglin was bit when he tried to separate them.

The incident has led to additional restrictions at the park. Dogs now have their temperament observed when they check in, and vaccination and veterinary record must be preented to verify breed.

“Its unfortunate, but we’d much rather the remaining customers have an experience that’s pleasant,” he said.

Acree said that pit bulls are still welcomed in the supply and grooming centers at the facility — just not the park area.

Mixed up dog — one last dance with DNA

What do these four breeds have in common — besides getting labeled as vicious from time to time?

All four (Rottweiler, Akita, chow and Staffordshire terrier, aka pit bull) are in my dog Ace, according to yet another DNA test (last one, I promise). The best guess now is that one of Ace’s parents was a Rottweiler, the other a combination of Akita, Chow and pit bull.

Together, they formed this creature:

How the product of four “feared” breeds could be such a gentle giant might be explained several ways.

For starters, they aren’t vicious breeds — just breeds that, due to the acts of a few members, have seen themselves smeared as a whole. Secondly, we would contend, when you start mixing up breeds, though some purebred purists might be offended by it, some wonderful things can happen. Third, maybe, just maybe, nurture is more important than nature.

Then again, maybe DNA testing — scientifically solid as it may be — isn’t always the full and final answer.

After all this was our third test, and our third different diagnosis.

The first DNA analysis was performed in connection with the Baltimore Sun series, “Hey Mister What Kind of Dog is That?” The Canine Heritage test from Metamorphix, using a cheek swab taken from Ace, determined he was Rottweiler and Chow. At the time, the test checked for 38 breeds.

The second came after Mars Veterinary offered us a free Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis kit, which can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. This one required a visit from a vet to take Ace’s blood, and the results showed he was 50 percent Rottweiler, 25 percent Akita, and 25 percent other unknown breeds.

While we were waiting for our results on that one, Canine Heritage got back in touch to let us know the newer version of their  test — still using a cheek swab — could now detect 100 breeds. They offered us a free re-test, so we swabbed Ace’s mouth again.

The results of that one arrived in the mail last week.

Makers of the tests say it helps dog owners better understand their pets’ behavior, and better be on the lookout for potential medical problems, many of which are prevalent among certain breeds. In that regard, testing a dog’s DNA can serve a useful purpose. But there’s a potential for misusing them as well — if, for instance, they ever become a tool for enforcing breed bans.

In that case, Ace, with his components, would be Public Enemy No. 1. Should that ever come to pass, none of this ever happened, and Ace is actually a, uh … Portuguese water dog/Labradoodle mix.