New Jersey Pit Bull attack leads to debate on breed specific ban legislation

After a recent Pit Bull scalping of a 12 year old boy in West New York, I was interviewed last night on UPN 9 News about whether or not New Jersey should have a specific breed ban law on Pit Bulls. Also present at the interview for lively debate was Victor Amato, Chief of the Monmouth County SPCA.  Please click here to watch a video clip of the  UPN 9, WOR TV, “Take it On” segment.

The fact is that Pit Bulls specifically, the American Pit Bull Terrier can be extremely powerful, dangerous and aggressive dogs but I believe that the genesis of their violent attacks stem from two reasons. First, unethical breeders known as “puppy mills” or “backyard breeders”, are driven my the money and may breed the dogs to be fighting dogs, attack  or guard dogs.  These unscrupulous breeders are not concerned with their dog’s temperament in fact they may even promote the fact that their dogs are extremely aggressive.  They are likely to repeatedly interbreed between the dog’s immediate offspring and compromise the gene pool.  This can produce dire and deadly consequences for the family taking care of this dog as well as the community at large.

Secondly, irresponsible and abusive owners that actually desire that the temperament of their dogs be vicious and extremely dangerous for fighting purposes or because they think that they themselves will be viewed by their peers as “tough” and “cool”.  With only anecdotal evidence to back this up, I have witnessed this phenomenon taking place mostly in urbanized lower socio-economic neighborhoods.  It seems to be almost a right of passage in these neighborhoods to own one or more aggressive pit bulls often seen sporting a large metal studs collar and hopefully on a secure short leash.  It is these two scenarios that have led to hundreds of fatalities and thousands of severe bone crushing injuries, deep puncture wounds and lacerations and scarring.  As well as deep emotional scarring often in the form of PTSD, “Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome”.  Additionally, these dogs raised in this environment and in this manner often cause the same type of physical injuries to other dogs in unprovoked attacks.

I believe that this is the crux of the problem and Pit Bulls have a terrible reputation due to these unethical breeders and ignorant owners.  I acknowledge that responsible loving and caring dog owners who have done their homework and research before owning a Pit Bull may have a safe dog with a terrific temperament.  If we accept my theory, then the question becomes what should sate and local governments do to protect the community and root out the fundamental serious problems too often surrounding Pit Bulls?

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