Spay/neuter, don’t ban |

Spay/neuter, don’t ban

Dear Editor:In December, media outlets in Colorado reported that Judge Jason Javanovich, presiding over a dog-mauling trial in Garfield County Court, said, “I wouldn’t hesitate to order them [pit bulls] all killed if I could.” He further commented, “I think they should be as illegal as owning a lion, and they belong in zoos.”The American Humane Association finds these comments to be wildly inappropriate blanket statements, especially by a person in a position of civic authority. Making statements against a certain breed is overly simplistic and neglects the real threats to society. It also demonstrates a bias on the judge’s part – a bias that can affect the outcome of future cases.We’ve seen over the last few decades that, as certain breeds rise in popularity, bite incidents also rise. When laws are enacted to eradicate the breed, popularity simply shifts to another – still legal – breed and the cycle begins again. In the ’70s it was the Doberman pinscher, in the ’90s it was the Rottweiler, and now it’s the pit bull. If breed bans worked, why are we still dealing with the same issue?Unfortunately, breed-specific bans have done little to protect citizens from dangerous dogs, but they have played to public fears – even perpetuated them. Historically, where breeds have been banned, the bans do little to reduce the number of dog bites, and they unnecessarily penalize responsible owners who train, socialize and supervise their pets.American Humane supports legislation that recognizes that all dog breeds can potentially be dangerous, and which places responsibility for their actions on their owners, rather than profiling animals based solely upon their breed. American Humane encourages individuals to help by supporting spay/neuter laws in their community.According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control, an intact dog is 2.6 times more likely to bite than an altered dog. Individuals can also support funding and resources for their local animal control agency, which would help support enforcing laws already in place.Marie Belew Wheatleypresident and chief executive officerAmerican Humane AssociationEnglewood