On breed bans and emotion
Right now, in Saginaw, MI, breed-specific legislation is a hot topic. The city council is considering an ordinance that would ban pit bulls, Alaskan malamutes and huskies, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, presa canarios, German shepherds, Great Danes, chow chows, and St. Bernards.
It’s wrong. We know it’s wrong. We know it’s ill-informed and reactionary. We know that breed bans do nothing to decrease the numbers of dog bites, and we know that breed bans are virtually unenforceable. And we know that these laws rip family pets from loving homes.
As responsible dog owners, it falls on us to keep an eye on these proposals and to write polite, respectful letters to our city councilmen and women. It’s our responsibility to stand up for our dogs.
In Saginaw, MI, though, the attention has turned from the debate to a threatening letter received by one of the city councilmen.
I understand that there is a debate raging as to whether or not the letter was actually threatening or if the councilman is using it to fan the BSL flames.
But it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that logical, clear-headed discourse will not happen now. The council members are soured, and rightfully so. Threats – whether overt or perceived – are serious business. And so that letter writer has turned the tables of debate away from the actual bill to the old standby of BSL proponents: “Those pit bull owners are as rabid as their dogs.”
I understand that emotions run high. This is a very emotional topic. I look at Emmett and Cooper, and I can not imagine anyone trying to take them away from me. And I can’t imagine any circumstance in which I would allow that to happen.
But that’s why it’s so, so important to be level-headed, to be polite, to be respectful.
I’m angry with this letter writer. That councilman – and likely the other council members – are no longer open to discussion. Any little window that was open for education or advocacy is now shut and probably locked.
We all need to take responsibility in our towns and cities. When this type of ban is discussed, we must write to city council members, governors, legislators. But it’s our responsibility, too, to focus on education. We need to be polite and kind or else we lose the battle for ourselves.
Okay. Rant over.
What do you think? Do you think the woman’s letter was right on or crossed the line?