If you’re a dog lover, then it’s hard to imagine what’s going down in Moreauville, Louisiana.
The village has voted on a “vicious dog” ban, which means residents can no longer own pit bulls or Rottweilers. That in and of itself seems a bit draconian, but the ban also requires families that currently own those breeds to surrender their pets.
Yes, you read that right. Doesn’t matter how loyal or beloved your pet, if Fido is a Rottie or a pit, to the pound (or worse) they go by Dec. 1.
Sadly this isn’t the first time a neighborhood or town has put restrictions on certain breeds, but the practice is widely criticized: Even the White House explicitly denounced breed-specific regulation in 2013.
The situation in Moreauville is being met with a similar outcry. One family has been in the news for creating a petition against the ban in a desperate attempt to keep their family pit bull, Zeus. Joanna Armand told CNN Zeus is an irreplaceable part of the family and helps comfort and chaperone her daughter, O’Hara, who has special physical needs. If their situation is not found to be in exception of the rule, or if the rule is allowed to stand, Zeus will need to be removed from their house in days.
This heartbreaking situation is a perfect if not unnecessary example of why rules like this are unfair to dog owners. Village ombudsmen have said the rule is to ensure the safety of residents, but is breed exclusion the best way to go about this? Are pit bulls and Rottweilers the only breeds that can get aggressive, that have the potential to injure or frighten?
It is a huge debate among dog owners and animal lovers as to whether breeds like pit bulls are actually prone to aggression or whether it is a case of conditioning. Either way, one cannot ignore that some breeds are built for physicality — pit bulls have wide, powerful heads that make it easy to hold onto prey. German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are favored by law enforcement and the military for training, a lot of which can include attack training.
Should that mean these breeds should be banned? The same breeds that countless owners have found to be gentle, loving and unfailingly loyal? If towns and neighborhoods are going to do something about a dog problem, then take the owners to task. Ensure they are properly leashing their dogs and respecting boundaries and aren’t engaging in dangerous activities with their pets. Don’t take a dog away from a family just because of what breed it is.