A new proposal is being presented to the L.A. Board of Animal Services by two of its commissioners, and it could be a major turning point for bully breeds, especially Pit Bulls. For decades, these dogs suffered due to the stereotype that they are inherently vicious or aggressive dogs. Sadly, this myth is the result of the abusive dog fighting industry, where dogs are habitually starved and only rewarded for harming one another. Thanks to this stigma against Pit Bulls, these dogs are some of the hardest to adopt out of shelters.
The proposal is to remove breed labels from shelter kennel cards, forcing adopters to base their decisions on more important factors like the dog’s personality, size, and training. This action has garnered some negative feedback stating that removing the breed label would be a safety issue, deceiving the public, and put the city at risk of liability. Other public concerns surrounding not knowing breeds, in general, pertain to how it would affect peoples allergies and insurance.
Regardless of the concerns, the idea has had far more positive feedback. The Best Friends Animal Shelter has already been trying out the concept with a pilot program. According to Michelle Sathe who works at the shelter, the response has been neutral, which is actually good news. It means people are accepting and open to the idea, which in turn will get more deserving dogs adopted.
Each year more than a half a million bully breed dogs are euthanized in shelters. By simply having the “Pit Bull” label, a dog’s chances of adoption are slim A study by Animal People reported a 93 percent euthanasia rate for pit bull breeds, with only one in 600 pitties finding a forever home. The sad part is “Pit Bull” is actually not a breed at all, but rather a blanket term used for any dog that has a square face and bulky body. Oftentimes dogs are mislabeled as Pit Bulls, as in the case of Diggy, and consequently subject to wrongful breed-specific legislation and other forms of discrimination. In light of this, the new proposal would literally be life-saving.
There has yet to be a vote on the proposal, but we certainly hope that this action in L.A. leads other municipalities to consider similar measures.
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