1. If you were the sheriff in your town and you learned that Toyotas were disproportionally involved in more accidents than any other model, would you:
(a) ban Toyotas and confiscate the Toyota of anyone caught driving one, or (b) arrest the drivers responsible for those accidents?
2. Which course of action in Question 1 do you think would: (a) inconvenience the fewest number of people, (b) be the more efficient use of taxpayer dollars, and (c) be more effective in preventing future accidents involving Toyotas?
3. If your answer to Question 1 was (a) -- ban Toyotas -- and the sheriff's department learned that, by a statistical quirk, drivers of confiscated Toyotas were perpetrating further accidents by driving, say, Hondas, would you then ban Hondas? If not, why not?
4. If your answer to Question 3 was, "Ban Hondas, too, dammit, something HAS to be done," then would you propose a ban on ALL car models with names ending in "a," such as Kias and Mazdas, reasoning that all these brands are pretty much bred for the same purpose? If not, why not? If so, how would you deal with car brands that end in the SOUND of "a," such as Chevrolet?
5. Are you beginning to understand (a) that because most of the tens of millions of pet dogs are NOT registered, "breed" cannot be defined in a meaningful way; (b) that miscreants employ pit bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Akitas, Great Danes -- that is, whichever dog is handy --as personal tools of terrorism; (c) that law enforcement authorities could waste inordinate amounts of time (and, therefore, taxpayer dollars) policing a breed ban, adding to their jobs a task perhaps even more meaningless than enforcing jaywalking laws; (d) that the people most likely affected by a breed ban --- that is, those inconvenienced, harrassed and likely to suffer damage -- are the 99.9% majority of utterly innocent dogs and people; and (e), most important, that breed bans do ESSENTIALLY NOTHING to address the real problem: Human scumbags who abuse animals?
Key: If your answer to any part of Question 5 is "no," I'm afraid you have flunked. Please go back and reconsider your responses. Hint: The answer to the question, "What shall we do about the bank robber who got away on a bicycle?" is not: Ban bicycles.
Real answer: If your dog hurts someone, you -- not the dog -- should be responsible. Anti-cruelty and anti-dog-fighting laws already exist. Tell your mayor, and city or county or provincial council to up the current penalties, and insist that judges enforce those penalties against lawbreakers.
Test created by Paul Glassner, San Francisco SPCA
Permission to reprint is granted by North Carolina Responsible Animal Owners Alliance
This article was created by Paul Glassner of the San Francisco SPCA.
Please keep his name attached to any reprints.