Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to petition against Maryland’s law to identify “Pit Bulls” as a dangerous breed of dog. Six months ago, almost to the day, my best friend and her new puppy were attacked. She was dog sitting her grandmother’s Mastiff, whom at the time had no previous violent history. She kept the Mastiff and her puppy in separate rooms in order to make sure there were no problems, but that wasn’t enough. One day, out of nowhere, the Mastiff broke down the door separating them and went on a full-fledged attack toward the puppy.
My friend tried to make it out of the door of the house, but to no avail. The Mastiff bit her by the arm and dragged her to the ground forcing the puppy from her arms. He then proceeded to viciously rip apart her puppy right in front of her with her unable to do anything about the attack. Because this dog had no previous history of being violent, he was only quarantined for a short time period. But if this dog had been a Pit Bull, he would have been euthanized immediately whether there was a prior history or not.
According to my audience analysis 87% of the class does not believe that there is such thing as a breed of dog that is born naturally violent and dangerous, but for the 13% of the class that does, when asked to name that breed, did not identify only a single breed. Working at a vet hospital, I see all different breeds of dogs and their temperaments. Although there are some nervous Pit Bulls that come in, there are also very sweet and gentle ones as well.
On the other hand, I see many dogs of different breeds that are more on edge and prone to bite; Huskies, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Mastiffs. So what makes one breed any more dangerous than another? Today I am here to talk to you about the discriminating, Maryland law that states the dog breed, Pit Bulls, based on the court ruling reported in the Baltimore Sun by Ian Duncan, are deemed “inherently dangerous” (Duncan) . I will discuss with you about the law itself, the consequences, and the actions you can take to help.
Let’s start by looking at the Maryland law itself Maryland has laws on both rulings against just Pit Bulls and the concept of ‘dangerous dogs’. First we will focus primarily on Maryland’s law against Pit Bulls. Aaron C. Davis, a reporter for the Washington Post, states that “Maryland’s highest court ruled in March [of 2012] that pit bulls…are more dangerous than other breeds” (Davis). Even the media today is biased against Pit Bulls based on the immensely smaller number of media articles reported on non-Pit Bulls versus Pit Bulls.
The ASPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, shows that a “quantitative study by the National Canine Research Council of dog-bite reportage in a four-day period proves that anti-pit bull bias in the media is more than just a theory—it’s a fact” (ASPCA). Under Maryland law as well, there are specific rulings on what deems a dog as a ‘dangerous dog’. Stated in West’s Annotated Code of Maryland, “‘Dangerous dog’ means a dog that: (i) Without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person” (West). This could relay onto any breed of dog depending on the situation and environment.
Because of the Maryland law on Pit Bulls, many Maryland families are facing distress. The law now holds both the owner and landlords accountable for just the one specific breed of dog creating complications for many families and many animal shelters. Families are being torn apart under this new law causing them to have to make tough decisions. Tami Santelli, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, gave a statement to reporter Emily Hatton of the Washington Times saying, “Making landlords liable for the actions of a tenant’s dog will force renters to choose between their pet and their home” (Hatton).
Because many families are having to choose between their pet and having a place to live, many Pit Bulls are ending up in animal shelters, which are becoming more and more over populated every day. Now that we understand the Maryland law against Pit Bulls and its consequences, let’s take a look at the actions that can be taken to prevent this injustice. Together or separately we can all do something to help against this discrimination toward Pit Bulls.
Betsy McFarland, vice president of The Humane Society of the United States’ companion animals department, encourages “advocates to call their state legislators to respectfully voice their concerns, and urge them to work with advocates on legislation in the next session that provides rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state” (HSUS). You can also help out by signing the petition on the Humane Society website or by even donating money to a shelter nearby. Shelters could also benefit with volunteer help in taking care of the large amounts of now homeless animals making their way in every day.
Although Pit Bulls are known to be a dangerous breed, which was the reasoning for the new law, so are many other dog breeds who haven’t been singled out. Any breed of dog has the capability to be dangerous considering training, situation, and environment. Today I have informed you on Maryland’s law discerning against Pit Bulls, the consequences that are following, and the ways in which you can take a stand against such law. So help me by taking a stand against this corrupt ruling toward Pit Bulls in the state of Maryland; they deserve a loving home and family just as much as any other breed of dog.