Should the Denver Pit Bull Ban Have Been Lifted?

Pit Bull

Pit Bull is a term that can mean more than one thing. It refers to a kind of dog that is descended from both bulldogs and terriers in the United States. Meanwhile, it can refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier in the United Kingdom as well as other countries. Either way, Pit Bulls have a poor reputation, which has contributed much to Pit Bull bans. One excellent example would be Denver’s Pit Bull ban, though it should be mentioned that the ever-evolving thinking on the matter has caused it to be lifted in recent times. Unsurprisingly, this remains a subject of considerable debate in the city as well as beyond the city.

Why Are Pit Bull Bans So Common?

There are a lot of people out there who have found their Pit Bulls to be wonderful companions. Despite this, these dogs continue to have a poor reputation with much of the general public. Something that can be explained by how Pit Bulls came into existence as well as how Pit Bulls have sometimes been used over the course of their existence. In short, Pit Bulls are descended from the Bull-and-Terrier. For those who are curious, there was mounting pressure to stop both bear-baiting and bull-baiting in England during the first half of the 19th century. As a result, some bloodsports enthusiasts created the Bull-and-Terrier for dogfighting, which was much easier to conceal from the general public than bear-baiting and bull-baiting. From that starting point, these dogs spread to other countries around the world. A lot of the Pit Bull’s iconic characteristics can be traced to this background. For example, it has a powerful build but is nonetheless light on its feet. Similarly, it has a preference for holding and shaking rather than biting and releasing. Even the Pit Bull’s docked ears can be traced to this background. The docking makes for a more intimidating appearance. Moreover, docked ears make for smaller targets than their undocked counterparts.

Having said this, the Pit Bull’s reputed aggressiveness contributes a great deal to their dangerous image as well. This is something of a self-reinforcing phenomenon. Pit Bulls are reputed to be aggressive. Thanks to that, they are a popular choice of dog for the illegal dogfighting that continues to happen in the present. Furthermore, there are people who continue to breed Pit Bulls for aggression as well as other desirable characteristics for dogfighting, which are very much not the same as the desirable characteristics for a general canine companion. Whenever this kind of thing hits the news, the Pit Bull’s reputation falls a little bit lower. The whole thing hasn’t been helped by how a lot of Pit Bulls come from careless breeding, which cares nothing about the temperament of the resulting puppies. Never mind the effects of irresponsible dog ownership. Of course, it isn’t unknown for Pit Bulls to attack humans. Generally speaking, they can be intolerant. However, that intolerance should be directed towards other dogs rather than humans. Still, it is possible for Pit Bulls to attack humans under certain circumstances. Sometimes, they do so because they are feeling threatened, which can be particularly problematic when the people around them can’t recognize the escalating signs that they are feeling threatened. Other times, they might do so because of either food aggression or redirected aggression. Unfortunately, there have been numerous reports of Pit Bull attacks causing either serious injuries or worse. Something that tends to send the fear of these dogs skyrocketing.

Do Pit Bull Bans Work?

There are a lot of places that have passed breed-specific legislation that is meant to make people safer from dog breeds that are perceived to be dangerous. Unsurprisingly, Pit Bulls have often been targeted. However, other dog breeds that have been targeted include but are not limited to Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers. It should come as no surprise to learn that there has been research into the effects of breed-specific legislation. The results have not been encouraging. Summarized, the findings seem to be that there is no evidence that breed-specific legislation makes things better for either dogs or humans. If anything, they are making things even worse because they come with their own costs. For instance, breed-specific legislation causes serious problems for both the dogs in question and the dog owners of the dogs in question, which should come as no surprise when that is the whole point. Some people might not care about that. If so, they should also know that there are good reasons to believe that breed-specific legislation also makes the community as a whole less safe. The enforcement of breed-specific legislation takes up animal control resources that could have gone towards more effective measures such as leash laws, licensing laws, and anti-dogfighting laws. On top of that, it isn’t unknown for people who own banned or restricted dogs to hang onto them by keeping them out-of-sight. That includes putting a stop to veterinary visits. Thanks to that, their dog can get some kind of communicable disease, which can subsequently spread to other dogs in the same community.

Should the Denver Pit Bull Ban Have Been Lifted?

As mentioned earlier, the lifting of the Denver Pit Bull ban remains a subject of considerable debate. This is particularly true because the city’s voters made a decision to override the city mayor’s veto of the city council’s measure. Something that should make it very clear that people feel very strongly about the subject. Based on what has been said about breed-specific legislation, one would think that lifting the Denver Pit Bull ban in preference for focusing on more effective measures would be the right course of action. Even so, the latest statistics make it clear why some people would think otherwise. In 2021, Pit Bulls were responsible for more reported bites in Denver than any other kind of dog with a total of 117. In contrast, Labrador Retrievers were reported to be responsible for 54 bites while German Shepherds were reported to be responsible for 61 bites. Supporters of Pit Bulls have come up with their own responses to this number, with an excellent example being how it is misleading because the bites of not one, not two, but three dog breeds are covered under Pit Bull bites. Still, the studies into the effects of breed-specific legislation aren’t a new thing. As a result, their findings aren’t very controversial, as shown by how their findings have influenced the policies of institutions such as the CDC. As such, while the numbers are concerning, those studies still seem to be the most persuasive for the time being.

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