Federal law leashes pit bull restrictions

Municipal governments from New York City to Miami, and from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Denver, have responded to fear of pit bulls and similar breeds of dogs, by severely restricting their ownership or banning them entirely from their jurisdictions.  Now, thanks to a rule issued recently by the U.S. Department of Justice, such actions are subject to being struck down.  Jurisdictions now considering such overreactions, such as Douglasville, Georgia, would be well-advised to review the Justice Department’s opinion before proceeding.

Dog owners and humane societies have long-opposed such arbitrary and overly broad laws that penalize thousands of pit bull owners who maintain their canine companions properly and without incident, because of a small number who fail to properly train and control the dogs.  Courts generally have permitted such ordinances to stand, based on deference to the so-called “police power” of local governments to protect the public “safety and welfare.” 

The 20-year old, federal Americans With Disabilities Act (”ADA”), however, may put a stop to such “breed-specific legislation.”  The ADA protects measures designed to help persons with disabilities, which includes dogs used by disabled persons for assistance.  Laws that outlaw ownership of entire breeds, including those that might be used for assistive purposes, would limit the ability of persons with disabilities to use such pets, and would therefore violate the ADA and be deemed by the Justice Department to be unlawful.

In what some might consider a rare example of the federal government recognizing that laws can be overly broad and therefore harmful to individual liberty, the Justice Department’s opinion on breed-specific legislation noted that such laws sweep too broadly; and that it is inappropriate to outlaw an entire breed of dogs because a small number cause problems.  Such problems are the result of owners not restraining their dogs properly or inadequately training them, rather than the result of a particular breed’s disposition, and can be addressed by more narrowly-crafted legislation.

Unfortunately, there are still those, like the mayor of Douglasville, Georgia, who favor overly restrictive measures.  The mayor recently noted in support of the city’s proposed pit bull ordinance, that he had no problem singling out pit bulls, because he sees them “on TV” causing “incidents.”    One would hope that local government officials might on their own possess some understanding of limited government and individual liberty; but if the Justice Department at least in this instance will ensure that they do so by way of a federal law, then the feds are serving as an important check on excessive government power.

402 comments Add your comment

Mike Vicks

September 29th, 2010
12:35 pm

Hey Bob,

You know my history. no introduction is necessary. Look a here boys and girls.

Dem pits are the sweetest dogs in the world. They will not harm any living creature. Trust me I know about pit bulls. They are gentle and meek dogs.

The DOJ is simply trying to keep lawyers employed. Think about it, it is similar to having good schools in the inner city and rural areas. The criminal justice system would come to a halt if inner city kids and rural kids are properly educated.

When was the last time an ugly pit won the wesminster kennel competition? :)

Bob who cares about the DOJ? come on man, did you bump your head this morning?

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
12:40 pm

Rep and you never go out of your way to find people who got bite… there is a term called ambulance chaser. True or false… there is a breed called a pit bull? How many breeds are called a pit bull ?

I have owned as many as 3 pit bull type dogs… my neigbors never have complained in fact they complement me on my dogs behavior.. but I am not an A hole about owning them. They have all been to a professional trainer, I have a 6 ft fence and when I am at work they are indoors.
Nothing wrong with the breed.. just a few irresponsible owners that spoil it for the majority of pit bull owners.. kind of like the Department of Justice pointed out.

AmVet

September 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

“We just need less government.”

Sure, even though in the past two years alone, we’ve endured two enormous disasters – one economic, the other environmental – due to that very non-conservative thinking.

The attempted corporate of capitalism that culminated in that hemorrhaging meltdown of Sept. 2008, which we are stillsuffering from today, and the Deepwater Horizon fisasco.

Both completely avoidable, but for some proper oversight and somebody keeping an eye on the foxes guarding the American hen house.

But apparently criminals are coddled today, as long as they are white-collared.

And yet the faithful in the Anti-Law & Order party want to take even more cops off of the beat..

You’re doing a heckuva job connies…

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
12:45 pm

Hey Mike Vicks… as the saying goes… break a leg.. Donavan going to kick your behind Sunday.. and I hope a dog loving line backer sees that you never walk again or earn a dime playing football again..

ohmy

September 29th, 2010
12:47 pm

why buy a car that goes dangerously fast, why buy a house that’s too big, why spend more than you make…why be a foster parent for troubled youth, why be a missionary, why join the armed forces, why rescue a dog–even a pit bull, why take any responsibility for anything whatsoever because there might be a risk

Wild Thang

September 29th, 2010
12:48 pm

Some animals aren’t meant to be domesticated, I believe pitbulls to be among them. To me, it’s no different than domesticating a wolf. Which some idiots have surely done.

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
12:49 pm

Tell Me Why.. that is me.. retired Navy Supply Corp Officer, MBA, employed same civilian job for 15 years..animal shelter volunteer..
sounds like your typical pit bull type dog owner.. ever hear of the word sterotype..people with limited IQ have it.

Al gore

September 29th, 2010
12:52 pm

Lets all give it up for BullyBob for being such a tremendous advocate for the pit bull terrier….the cuddly wuddly family pet. Hooray for Bullybob and his dogs!!!! I nominate him for the Michael Vick Dog Lover of the Year award. Arf arf BullyBob!!!!!

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
12:55 pm

Al.. well a dumb A like George Bush didnt kick my behind.. go out and drive your hummer around.. dont forget to turn out the lights in your million dollar mansion..loser

AmVet

September 29th, 2010
12:56 pm

“…ever hear of the word sterotype..people with limited IQ have it.”

Though technically true, it is NOT a function of intelligence, so your premise is fallacious. Or at least incomplete.

MANY highly intelligent people also stereotype.

From the loathed wiki:

Sociologists believe that mental categorizing (or labelling) is necessary and inescapable.[citation needed] One perspective the stereotyping process is the concepts of ingroups and outgroups. Ingroups are viewed as normal and superior, and are generally the group that one[clarification needed] associates with or aspires to join. An outgroup is simply all the other groups. They are seen as lesser or inferior than the in-groups.

A second perspective is that of automatic and explicit or subconscious and conscious. Automatic or subconscious stereotyping is that which everyone does without noticing. Automatic stereotyping is quickly preceded by an explicit or conscious check which permits time for any needed corrections. Automatic stereotyping is affected by explicit stereotyping because frequent conscious thoughts will quickly develop into subconscious stereotypes.

A third method to categorizing stereotypes is general types and sub-types. Stereotypes consist of hierarchical systems consisting of broad and specific groups being the general types and sub-types respectively. A general type could be defined as a broad stereotype typically known among many people and usually widely accepted, whereas the sub-group would be one of the several groups making up the general group. These would be more specific, and opinions of these groups would vary according to differing perspectives.

Mike Vicks

September 29th, 2010
12:58 pm

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
12:45 pm
Hey Mike Vicks… as the saying goes… break a leg.. Donavan going to kick your behind Sunday.. and I hope a dog loving line backer sees that you never walk again or earn a dime playing football again..
—-
you sound like you do a whole lot more to your dog than just petting it. those type of relations could get you thrown in the slammer and infected with various types of diseases.

ohmy

September 29th, 2010
12:58 pm

man i hate cut and paste

Service Dog Trainer

September 29th, 2010
1:04 pm

There are no bad dogs, there are bad owners. Any dog, including a golden or a lab, can bite and kill. Many animal owners have no idea what they are doing or how to handle their dogs. They misinterpret signals. They use the wrong collars (choke collars and prong collars should be prohibited, as well as those retracable leashes that encourage pulling).

That being said, the simple fact is that almost any dog can be trained as a service dog and there are many types of service assisting animals. Pit bulls (as a generic label) can be trained to be service animals. They are not trained generally because of the perception of the public.

What cities are missing when they enact these laws is that there is another option. If you truly believe that certain breeds are bad, then owners could be required to be licensed for ownership to assure that the dogs are properly trained. Better yet, why not require all owners to demonstrate they can properly handle an animal and require them to be licensed.

Drifter

September 29th, 2010
1:10 pm

If you’ve got a drug house in your neighborhood, then you probably have at least 3 pit bulls in your neighborhood too. Ask any cop who goes into these places on a regular basis. It’s a thug dog for thugs, wannabe thugs and people trying to compensate for other shortcomings. Do your neighborhood a favor and get a ‘tough guy’ tattoo instead.

Tell Me Why

September 29th, 2010
1:15 pm

BullyBob – Did I ask for your resume? And no – I never heard of the word “sterotype” “Stereotype” maybe, but not “sterotype” Did you keep the receipt for your MBA?

ohmy

September 29th, 2010
1:15 pm

so sad to be limited by one’s prejudices

Beware Dog Owners Who Don't Use Leashes

September 29th, 2010
1:26 pm

I love animals but if a dog (any breed) attacks my little girl I WILL beat it to death, rip out its throat, put a leash around its neck and deliver it to its owner.

Good day

DevsAd

September 29th, 2010
1:31 pm

What would you have done to your little girl if she attacked someone someday?

Do the Math

September 29th, 2010
1:43 pm

Require ID chips, annual license fees for all pet ownership and fine those that don’t comply.

Too many pet owners are irresponsible people (some criminally). All pets should be licensed/taxed so that 1) animal cruelty ends 2) no one will want 15 cats under 1 roof, and 3) pay off public debt.

•Of the 1,000 shelters that replied to the National Council’s survey, 4.3 million animals were handled.
•In 1997, roughly 64 percent of the total number of animals that entered shelters were euthanized — approximately 2.7 million animals in just these 1,000 shelters. These animals may have been euthanized due to overcrowding, but may also have been sick, aggressive, injured or suffering from something else.
•56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. More cats are euthanized than dogs because they are more likely to enter a shelter without any owner identification.
•Only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners.
•25 percent of dogs and 24 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are adopted.

I understand that there are approximately 4,000 animal shelters in the U.S. so it is possible that 10,000,000 pets were destroyed in 1997 alone.

Beware Dog Owners Who Don't Use Leashes

September 29th, 2010
1:44 pm

DevsAd @ 1:31pm

Well, clearly comparing dogs to humans makes the most sense. ***Hand to face, sigh***

DevsAd

September 29th, 2010
1:54 pm

And the answer is?

xyz

September 29th, 2010
1:56 pm

I would like to know if anyone at the justice department been chased/attacked by a pit bull. I have! Pits need to be outlawed.

ohmy

September 29th, 2010
1:58 pm

dogs are far more predictable than humans

Kevin

September 29th, 2010
2:02 pm

You flat-earthers can second guess the statistics all you want, but it doesn’t change my most basic question:

When was the last time you heard of a poodle or a Chocolate Lab killing someone?

Pits are inherently dangerous and need to be outlawed.

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
2:13 pm

Kevin…here you go

Isabelle Dinoire came from Valenciennes in northern France. She had no memory of the dog attack. She overdosed on sleeping pills and spent quality time floating somewhere in the fifth dimension while her face was being eaten by a Labrador dog.

Cekker

September 29th, 2010
2:25 pm

Bhully finds one instance where a lab injures it’s owner (who suicidally ingested pills and was out for who knows how long while her poor dog was probably starved and confused as all get out) and he thinks that pit bulls are vindicated somehow.

Meanwhile, we’re all still waiting on the killer poodle, basset hound and chihuahua statistics.

Carol

September 29th, 2010
2:26 pm

In the 70s it was Doberman Pinschers; in the 80s it was Rottweillers. Now the idiot-thugs who want a macho dog to threaten the neighborhood with have pit-type dogs. If pits are banned, the same idiot owners will get Akitas, or Presas, or Rottweillers, or maybe GSDs or Airedale Terriers, or maybe they’ll find some obscure breed that hardly anyone has ever heard of yet, or maybe they’ll just breed really bad-tempered Labrador Retrievers, but whatever breed it is, the same people whose “pit bulls” you’re scared of now will breed and raise and fail to manage their new dogs, too, making them as dangerous as possible, and then we’ll have to outlaw that breed. Here’s a novel idea: how about instead of new laws, we give animal enforcement departments the resources needed to enforce the dangerous animal laws that already exist?

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
2:29 pm

Ogden » About 18 months ago, Sandra Leavitt adopted a full-bred pit bull from the Ogden Animal Shelter. Leavitt, who battles epilepsy, considers her now-constant canine companion, Nikki, to be her lifesaver.

Nikki, now 3, underwent yearlong service training to become Leavitt’s seizure-alert dog.

ohmy

September 29th, 2010
2:37 pm

Pit Bull

September 29th, 2010
2:38 pm

I love my BullyBob. He understands what it is like to be a despised breed and treats me real nice. He knows everything about our kind. We love you BullyBob

[...] dogs but they would be under strict regulations. According to the AJC, the owners would …Federal law leashes pit bull restrictionsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Topeka changes pit bull rules, starts cat programNTVGreat Blog [...]

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
2:50 pm

Carol, that is a great idea.. its not new but I have always sd. that if the existing laws were enforced there would never be a need for BSL.

I never have complained about paying for dog registration where I live and with a pack of dogs it runs me a little over 55 a year. But hey its another form of identification if my dog should ever get loose.

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
2:54 pm

Here you go Checker:
Pomeranian Kills 6-Week-Old GirlLOS ANGELES (AP) – A small Pomeranian dog killed a 6-week-old baby while the infant’s caretaker briefly left the child unattended to

I know its not a poodle…but I can tell you our poodle when growing up bite my sister right in the mouth.. so all dogs bite and can kill.

Pit-mix owner

September 29th, 2010
3:01 pm

All of you that want to ban any kind of breed are idiots. Do you think that is even possible? I’ve got news for you – a majority of the mixes in Atlanta have pit in them. If you don’t believe that, you’re just lying to yourself. I own a pit/boxer mix that is the sweetest dog in the world. It’s the owners, not the breed you idiots. I could own a lab or a corgi and train or treat it in a way that would make it attack anybody that came in my house. It’s a shame that there’s so much ignorance in this world.

David S

September 29th, 2010
3:05 pm

Trust me, if the jerks that infest Washington DC could outlaw Afghan hounds or Persian cats, they would find a way. Can you say “freedom fries?”

This action certainly doesn’t make up for everything else the Dept. of Injustice is doing every other minute of the day. But it is still a positive gesture.

Presbo

September 29th, 2010
3:08 pm

I would like to announce my selection of BullyBob to be the head of the National Agency of Pit Bulls. This selection is based on his advocacy of the Pit Bull, his superior knowledge of the Pit Bull breed and his ability to think like a dog.

Tricky

September 29th, 2010
3:16 pm

All dogs can bite and are very territorial, however most cannot do the type of damage that most American Pit Bulls and the American Staffordshire Terrier can do. These dogs are quite powerful and aggressive especially around other dogs that they do not know. Most dogs are territorial but again most dogs can’t do the same type of damage, and don’t even get me started on the Perro de Presa Canario. These dogs can absolutely destroy a person. Now having said all of that and after having owned these breeds without any incidents to report, I can absolutely say that it is the owner. If you train a dog to be mean, it will be mean. My wife’s Schnauzer is as mean as they come and absolutely bullies my American Pit, and because dogs don’t really understand “size”, she never backs down, but my pit always does, because he is not a mean dog, however is very protective. When company comes over, it is the Schnauzer we have to put up. And yes, it learned to be mean from my wife.

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
3:21 pm

Presbo… arf arf.. where is a fire hydrant I need to take a leak

Cekker

September 29th, 2010
3:23 pm

Bhully, I mentioned that Pomeranian at 12:21. Took a while to find something eh? Now google ‘pit bull kills.’

No one said other dogs don’t bite or kill. Again, pit bulls just do it with much greater ferocity and regularity.

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
3:24 pm

Perro de Presa Canario… is this a Canary Island fighting dog ? I saw one on Animal Planet…its me or the dog.. now that is a big dog.. like a giant pit bull of steriods. I am not sure what you call the thing that protects a persons arm when training a dog to attack.. but this one was made of steel and the dog literally tore it off the handlers arm and crushed it like a beer can.

David S

September 29th, 2010
3:30 pm

Nothing is quite as destructive of human life as the congress and the president of the united states. Pit bulls are nothing compared to the suffering and misery that these folks can cause.

Tricky

September 29th, 2010
3:32 pm

Yes, BullyBob, they are one and the same. Also very good dogs, but they need an owner that can control them.

[...] Read the comments and see the original article here [...]

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
3:34 pm

Checker and there are a lot more pit bull type dogs in the US than other breeds.. there are several breeds that people will call a pit bull.. which is a breed that does not exist but a slang term.
I do not recall saying you should not be careful around a pit bull type dog. I for one cross the street with mine when I see a pedestrian coming or another dog. Ive owned them for over 12 years and broken up 3 fights which I think is a good ratio..the fights I have to admit are something else.. but if you are a good dog handler/manager breaking a fight up is not that difficult. And before you ask.. I do own a break stick. Which is legal.. in fact I gave one to the ACO officer when she was at the shelter one day.. she wanted to know how to break up a pit bull fight.. so I showed her.. not an actual fight but how to grab the dog and use the stick.
But I do think they are very predicatable if you look at the language.. ears perked up, tail high and hair raised on the back.. look out. A wagging tail doesnt mean anything..one of my dogs which I lost used to wag her tail before she was going to kill a rabbit. (a wild rabbit)

BullyBob

September 29th, 2010
3:39 pm

Ticky I just took “Jack” to reactive rovers class… the trainer had a Rotti French Mastiff Mix which I thought was a big dog.. but I think the Perro de Presa Canario has to be one of the biggest dogs I have ever seen and I never meet one in person.. The people that had it on Me or the Dog and wanted it for protection but Victoria talked them out of it once they saw it attack.. they decided to train it to be a family pet.. but anyone in their right mind would never fool with a family that owned a dog like that.. I was very impressed my the strength of this dog.

Cekker

September 29th, 2010
3:40 pm

NEWS FLASH…

…if you have to take your dog across the street when you see a pedestrian or another dog coming, you admit your dog is dangerous.

…if an ACO officer needs you to show her how to break up a pit bull fight, you admit that breed is dangerous.

…if you need a break stick to be around a certain breed of dog, you admit that breed is dangerous.

Cekker

September 29th, 2010
3:56 pm

And quit telling me there is no such thing as a pit bull because that is a slang term. You call your own dog a pit bull so knock that junk off.

wes

September 29th, 2010
4:20 pm

@Cekker – If an ACO officer needs somebody to show them how to break up a dog-fight, they don’t need to have that job. And don’t say pit bull fight because any dog breed can get in a fight you idiot. So, with your logic, if any dog is in a fight, that breed is dangerous. You should think about what you type before putting it on a public forum, jackass!

Cekker

September 29th, 2010
4:33 pm

Welcome Wes…new to this are you?

Read the post I was responding to before jumping in like a half-wit. Bully was talking specifically about a PIT BULL FIGHT.

Now go back to bed…your pacifier misses you.

Jefferson

September 29th, 2010
5:11 pm

Pit Bulls/Muslims very simular in treatment and actions.