Obama administration takes sides on breed restriction laws
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
Eight counties in Alabama have banned specific dog breeds; several more in Alabama and Georgia have enacted ordinances that classify certain breeds as dangerous or vicious, according to www.dogsbite.org.
Man's best friend has been the topic of heated arguments and passionate debates for years as some seek to pass laws that ban specific breeds from certain areas.
Pit bulls are consistently banned from neighborhoods throughout the country.
"I've never had one of my dogs bit anybody or be aggressive in a mean manner to anyone," says pit bull owner Jerome Drew.
Drew says he and his son love to play in his front yard with their two pit bulls "Kali" and "Boss". Unlike hundreds of cities across the country, the Drew family can own any type of dog they'd like.
"Columbus does not have any restriction specific to breed. If we take a dog, we take a dog because of its behavior not because of what particular breed it might be," says Columbus Director of Public Services Pat Biegler.
A petition posted on We The People has more than 30,000 signatures from people all over the country wanting to abolish breed restriction laws.
"We don't support breed-specific legislation," responded the Obama administration. "Research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources."
The statement also cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which reports, "it's virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds."
Like many of our viewers, Drew says it's not the dogs but the owners.
"The dog doesn't know any better, they're going off what they're told and shown. It's just like when you raise your kids," explains Drew. "Getting aggressive dogs off the streets is a good idea but that's any breed."
The CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites not B-S-L.
Drew says he looks at his pets like they are part of his family.
"I'm really emotional about it," Drew says. "Because I love these dogs to death and I wouldn't want anybody to be able to take the dogs from me. Especially when I'm raising them right."