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White House responds to online petition, opposes breed-specific dog legislation

Jim Karczewski~Sun-Times Media

The White House has responded to a petition on its “We The People” website that is sure to leave pit bull lovers delighted. The Obama administration has come out in opposition to breed-specific legislation, citing CDC statistics showing it is “virtually impossible” to calculate attacks on a breed-by-breed basis.

Here is their official response (emphasis mine) –

Thanks for your petition.

We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.

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.

Pit bulls and their owners everywhere are sure to be rejoicing that the Dog Lover-in-Chief has voiced opposition to breed-specific legislation, though they still face an uphill battle. The New York Times ran a deep profile earlier this year on some of the problems pit bull owners face.

[Via Huffington Post]