Although President Obama recently stirred up controversy among animal lovers by opting not to adopt his new family dog Sunny, it seems that he is making an effort to make amends. In addition to a donation to the Washington Humane Society in Sunny’s honor, the President is also speaking up against breed-specific legislation, including laws and regulations that discriminate against dog ownership by breed.
Breed-specific laws have long been in place against dogs that society labels “dangerous,” especially the misunderstood pit bull. Adding special laws to pit bull ownership has had a devastating effect on the dogs and their owners as pit bulls are more likely to be fined, removed from their families and discriminated against.
After receiving a petition signed by 30,000 people asking for breed-specific laws to be outlawed at a federal level, the White House issued a statement agreeing that “breed-specific legislation is a bad idea” and supporting the stance taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, “research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources… As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.”
Although the White House’s support of ending breed-specific legislation is a step in the right direction, there are still many changes that need to take place before pit bull discrimination can end. For example, pit bulls are still banned from U.S. military housing and other installations.
Lisa LaFontaine, president of the Washington Humane Society, said “I really, really hope that the military takes note that the Commander in Chief has made this statement about there being no place for breed-specific legislation.” There is “nothing more difficult,” she says, than seeing families have to part with their beloved pets when situations change and they need to move into housing that bans a certain type of dog.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock