Pit Bull Ban in DC?
Today's Post includes an article on Council member Jim Graham's push to ban pit bulls in the District (present pets would be exempted from the ban, but would have to be sterilized). It seems that Graham's past efforts in this area were repeatedly squashed by former Council member Sandy Allen. It isn't clear that the measure will pass, but several members have offered at least reserved support. Council member Marion Barry wants to add rottweilers to the ban. Certainly these are not the only breeds of dogs that can and do seriously injure people. Based on a rather unfortunate interaction with a german shepard, I can tell you they can be pretty aggressive, and I think we all know that a presa canaria can inflict some serious damage. Other council members objected that a breed specific ban would be ineffective. My view is that if you choose to live in the District, you choose to surrender the right to possess/use certain items deemed hazardous. This category includes items like fireworks and handguns (where was it the other day that I heard/saw statistics about what a large portion of guns recovered during drugs busts were shot guns?), but I'm not sure if it should include dogs that have not previously been violent (although when they are violent the cost can be inexcusably high). The question is really about whether we want treat dogs with certain physical characteristics as high risk weapons (we may ban assault rifles, but regard shotguns as acceptable). Certainly the prosecution has treated them that way in some high profile cases (like this and this). Here is a column that The Slate ran a while back on the issue of violent dogs. From The Slate article:
Contrary to stereotype, retrievers, poodles, and other popular breeds are much more likely to bite people than pit bulls or rottweilers. They also, as a rule, do less damage.