The "Pit Bull Problem"
"The Washington Humane Society picks up over 2,000 pit bulls each year. All but a few have been abused, fought, neglected, and mistreated. Many have clearly been bred and trained for aggression and are dangerous. The problems and threats posed by pit bulls in our city cannot be solved by enforcing existing laws on a case-by-case basis or through education. If education or stricter enforcement could work, WHS would already have solved the pit bull problem, or least be making progress. Something else has to be done."
Those who want an end to this problem must remember that dedicated dog owners who care for animals and who are responsible can take an abused Pitbull dog and turn his behavior around in six months. I have done so twice, with dogs which were abused in their former environments. This does not mean that it is possible to find individuals who are responsible enough to rescue each of the Pitbull dogs from all the abusive situations existing in DC. Of course, that avenue is impossible. Rescue is a limited option in any animal abuse situation. The solution must be laws with a guarantee of effectiveness.
Why is it said that it is hard to prove a dog fighting case? This should not be an accepted view of those of us attempting to combat this horrible problem. Dog fighters have patterns, they have known history, they are easily identified and can be watched. Not enough money around to do that, you say? I think that idea is wrong minded also. Make the fines high enough, and your local government will jump for joy at the opportunity to catch a dog fighter in the act, and prosecute them to the max. From that, government will have all the money it needs to hire more competent investigators to catch more dog fighters and abusers of animals, and to improve the services of animal control, and humane organizations. If law enforcment is failing in this effort, it is because of the "wet noodle" sentencing, fine, and punishment phase of the process. Make the punishment stick, make it adequate, and law enforcement will not feel that their efforts are useless.
Banning the breeding of new Pitbull dogs will not be effective until you make the irresponsible breeding of all dogs a violation of law. After all, the breeding of these creatures for profit is widespread, and I can buy a Pit Bull puppy for 90.00 this afternoon from an irresponsible breeder all around your area. He will not ask me if I want him to be a fighter, he will instead tell me how good a fighter he will be. The breeder is pandering to what he thinks the market is. He has no morals.
In Virginia, and in North Carolina, I have seen the puppy mills, and it is ugly. Fifty dogs kept on chains in the dirt, never having any social interaction with humans until a couple of cups of dog food are dumped for them once a day. Minimum shots and health measures are given them by their owners (if they are lucky), the dogs never see a vet. In one case, dogs with tumors were still being bred because of the profit potential. I think cracking down on breeders is necessary, but you will not be successful in targeting one breed. Breeding regulation must be a portion of the solution, not the entire solution.
Breeding any animal for profit should require strict government regulation, to prevent the puppy mills which now exist. That should be addressed in a licensing program for your city, with stiff fines for violation. Without that, and further regulation, abusers will just move to another breed, and you and I know that. These dogs are not even the problem. Don't fool yourself about that, it is easy to lay blame on these creatures, who are the ones who take the abuse from their owners, and who are offered no way to redeem themselves and become what they would prefer to be, which is loyal loving pets in the right hands. There are thousands of them who live with responsible people, play with and protect their children, and, just as any other breed, lay on the couch with their owners at night and warn of any sounds from the darkness.
The problem with Pit Bulls is people. Be sure the legislation is not against the dogs, and legislate against the acts of violence which irresponsible and abusive owners perpetrate on innocent animals. Be sure the results of the effort eliminates the problem without unjustly targeting the animal, which defers to the owner for guidance, and by nature, can do no more.
Campaign to get some guts in your laws, educate your animal control officers and police in the identification of the environment of this crime, and the recognition of the individuals who participate in it. Tell them they will be able to make weapons and drug charges from the same bust. Show them this makes a city safer from all standpoints. Make the fine for fighting dogs $10,000, and $5,000 for spectating, show your judges prosecutors why it must not be pled down. Make the law specifically state that proceeds will go to more enforcement and care for seized animals, and all other breeds of dogs and other animals at animal shelters.
Do not let society put the blame and punishment wrongly, by trying to find solutions that result in the punishment of Pit Bull dogs, or any other animals.