Great news in Ohio: The city of Rocky River, OH has successfully repealed their obsolete ban on "pitbull-type" dogs in favor of more effective breed-neutral policies that are based on modern best-practices for preventing and reducing serious dog bite-related incidents. On November 26, the Rocky River City Council repealed the ban in a unanimous 6-0 vote and ended the ineffective and discriminatory policy that banned dogs based only on their appearance or breed. The ban, or breed specific legislation (BSL), is being replaced with breed-neutral regulations that are more effective and more equitable because they address all potentially dangerous dogs, all irresponsible dog owners, and all unsafe dog-related situations - regardless of a dog's appearance or breed. Congratulations to the City Council and the residents of Rocky River for improving public safety by repealing BSL - Rocky River joins a list of 10+ cities that have repealed BSL in 2018 and are taking a decisive stand against ineffective policies and long-debunked myths and stereotypes about pitbull-type dogs.
Source: The link to the City Council's meeting minutes (PDF) is here (see page 4).
Several key reasons why the national trend against BSL is strong and enjoys robust public support:
Regardless of any personal opinions about specific breeds (or types) of dogs, multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded that BSL is an ineffective public safety policy and that any risk associated with pitbull-type dogs is fully in-line with other strong breed dogs of similar sizes and strengths - therefore, breed-specific policies are scientifically baseless and not grounded in facts, expert information, or science. So it's really no surprise that when BSL is challenged by informed citizens and public officials, BSL is often repealed and replaced with stronger and more effective breed-neutral regulations that address all dangerous dogs, all irresponsible owners, and all risky dog-related situations - regardless of a dog's appearance or breed. A big congratulations to Rocky River and the 10+ cities and towns that have repealed BSL this year!
Fortunately, more people and their elected officials are learning why breed bans don’t make sense, and BSL is on the decline. In recent years, 20 states have passed laws prohibiting BSL on the local level and over 100 municipalities have replaced BSL with breed-neutral policies. Repealing BSL has not resulted in more dog bites in these communities. In fact, after Ohio repealed its statewide breed-based law, State Farm Insurance reported a decrease in dog-related claims in the state.
There are a number of myths about dogs classified as "pitbull-type" dogs including myths about their bites. These myths claim that they have "locking jaws", the "most severe" bite, and that they are prone to "snap" or bite without warning. Not only are these myths scientifically baseless but they are also physically erroneous. Below, we summarize the facts and the peer-reviewed studies that fully debunk these myths and prove that they are 100% false.
Bite severity and injury (risk):
Biting without warning (aggression/snapping):
Disputed medical studies on the severity of dog bites:
Characterization of bites by "pitbull-type" dogs:
Facts and scientific studies have fully debunked the myth that bites by pitbull-type dogs are somehow "different" or "more severe" than bites by other dogs of similar sizes and strengths. This is of course not comparing the bites of pitbull-type dogs to the bites of smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas or Dachshunds - but instead, to the bites of other strong breed dogs such as Dogo-Argentinos, Cane-Corsos, Bullmastiffs, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and many other strong breeds. Can bites by pitbull-type dogs cause injuries? Of course they can, but so can the bites of many other strong breed dogs - bites by pitbull-type dogs are not more severe or different in any way. The fact is that the bite severity of any dog is related to its overall size, strength, and energy - and not to its breed.
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