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Don't blame dog for owners' behavior
By Stacy Fosler
(December 7, 2006) â€” In the response to the Nov. 20 essay by Andrew Dunning suggesting that all pit bulls in the city should be spayed or neutered, I must respond, "punish the owner, not the dog." The solution to the issue is not in restricting the breed.
Before creating new restrictions on dogs, how about enforcing some of the existing laws? Of all the dogs who attacked, how many were leashed? How many were licensed? Let's start with these first.
Spaying or neutering a dog will not necessarily prevent a dog from being involved in a fight, but being owned by a responsible owner will. The irresponsible owners will simply move to another breed. Even a pack of unsocialized, abused Chihuahuas can be dangerous.
In considering shelter or rescue dogs that should not be bred, why not spay or neuter them prior to adoption and factor the cost into the adoption fee instead of trusting that the adopter will alter the dog. Many groups now perform this as young as 8 weeks old. Many years ago, it was the German shepherds, then Dobermans and Rottweilers who were in favor for the "tough guys." Now it is the poor pit bull. Worse yet, many dogs identified as pit bulls really are not. It may be a white boxer, an American bulldog or a bullmastiff.
If a dog is involved in an unprovoked attack, require restrictions on that dog and owner regardless of the breed.
What about the responsible owners? Should those who compete in dog shows with dogs that have not been spayed or neutered be forced to move outside the city limits? What about those who are registered service dogs, or part of a therapy dog team bringing joy to those in hospitals and nursing homes?
Eighty-five percent of pit bulls put through a temperament test by the American Temperament Test Society have passed. There is a reason why the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets is not breed-specific â€” the breed of dog is not the issue.
Please address the issue where it really lies.
Fosler is a Rottweiler owner and the secretary of the Greater Rochester Rottweiler Club. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.