One of the common arguments used by anti-pitbull activists and organizations to promote discriminatory breed-specific legislation (BSL) is claiming that “because we can't prevent irresponsible ownership, certain dogs should be banned”. If this same logic is applied to cars (because of the fact that we can't prevent irresponsible drivers), then all cars would be banned. Below, we examine the logic of the "irresponsible owner" argument and use cars as an analogy to show that the argument is a fallacy.
The "irresponsible owner" argument goes like this:
Keeping in mind that:
So, using cars as an analogy - the "irresponsible driver" argument would go like this:
Does banning cars sound ridiculous? That's because it is. Not only does banning cars assign blame to the car (instead of to the driver), but banning cars also punishes all other responsible drivers. The same is true for dogs - banning certain dogs assigns blame to the dog (instead of to the owner) and it punishes all other responsible dog owners.
The bottom line is that the "irresponsible owner" argument is a fallacy because the argument's logic fails when applied to almost all other elements of modern society that carry risk - cars, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, sports, and too many more to list. It's an irrational argument that isn't based on logic, science, or risk - but instead, based on long debunked myths and stereotypes about pitbull-type dogs.
A few public safety stats - on average every year in the U.S. there are:
The reality is that it’s impossible to completely eliminate all risk in society and the risk associated with dogs, including the millions of pitbull-type dogs and their mixes in the U.S., is already one of the lowest levels of risk in society (the risk of a fatal lighting strike is almost 2x higher than the risk of a fatal dog attack). For cars, effective laws and regulations that reduce risk apply to all drivers and their behavior - regardless of the type or model of the vehicle that they own. The same is true for dogs, effective laws and regulations should apply to all owners and their behavior - regardless of the type or breed of dog that they own. This is why breed-neutral regulations, which enforce and promote the responsible ownership of all dogs regardless of breed, are the widely preferred standard in the U.S. for public safety (less than 3% of cities and towns have BSL enacted). The objective of any canine legislation should be to promote and enforce the responsible ownership of all dogs, regardless of breed - and not ineffective and discriminatory bans that punish great dogs and responsible dog owners.
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