Breed Bans are Bad! Pinky's Letter Proves It
After yesterday’s post on Pinky’s tumor and the value of fine needle aspirates in veterinary medicine, PetMD received this message:
I would like to know what happened to the pit bull, Pinky, and Dr. Patty Khuly described as having in a pit bull ban area and was planning to make into a fake service dog to circumvent the ban. I'd like to know if anything has been done about her illegal and fraudulent actions.
It was not addressed to me, but to my employer. Explicit in this missive is the demand that my alleged wrongdoing receive legal redress. Implicit is the expectation that my employer should do something about it. Caught in the middle is one innocent Pinky dog.
Here’s my reply:
Thank you for asking. My foster dog, Pinky, is still looking for a home.
Since you're inquiring, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few points:
- Pinky has not been classified as a pit bull. In fact, she looks much more like a Viszla crossed with a Jack Russell or Boston terrier than she does an American pit bull terrier. Sure, I certainly think she looks "pitty" but she’s by no means purebred.
- One judge in Miami-Dade Conty has already deemed the pit bull ban too vague and arbitrary to be enforceable. After all, how much pit bull is too much pit bull? Half? One-quarter? A tenth? And who gets to decide? More on this here.
- Neither is Pinky being fraudulently presented as a service dog to avoid Miami-Dade County's ban on owning a pit bull. She’s simply a young, highly adoptable dog who’s having trouble finding a permanent home. I’ve been nothing but perfectly open and up front about this to all who care to read about it so they can help me find her a perfect forever home. If I once considered having her trained to achieve service dog status so she could remain in the county, let that be a lesson to the devotion dogs can inspire.
- Pit bulls have been used successfully as service dogs all over the U.S. There is no reason that a dog as mild-mannered, intelligent, loving and loyal as Pinky could not be trained to undertake this kind of training. Please reference Jim Gorant's new book on Michael Vick’s rehabilitated pit bulls,The Lost Dogs, for more inspiration with respect to the potential we all have to be better than what the world expects us to be.
The reality of Pinky's situation is that her physical appearance may be considered suspect for belonging to a banned breed in the municipality in which I reside. It’s for that reason I would not want her to live in a place where she and her future owner might have to suffer threats and further persecution.
Unfortunately, as you might have gleaned from yesterday's post, Pinky's health has been something of a concern. Although she is on the mend, this setback has put her transition to a new home — as yet unidentified — on hold until she heals.
Yet because of your letter — which after close reading I've come to interpret as a potential concern to her welfare in my house and my family’s peace of mind — I feel compelled to move her to another location.
I sincerely hope you take into consideration the effect your simple words can have on the quality of life of one needy dog. After all the years I've been blogging (almost six) I've never felt like I had to worry for my animals because of something I’ve written. I'm sorry to see that my lucky streak has come to an end. I guess it was inevitable.
The only consolation I can take from this unfortunate experience is that I can cite this as one more perfect illustration of why breed bans are bad. They’re not only indisputably ineffective and cause needless suffering to the blameless, they also turn neighbors against neighbors.
Dr. Patty Khuly