Best Friends Blog

The absurdity (and tragedy) of breed-discriminatory laws

A woman in Hazel Park, Michigan, was saved (literally) by her pit bull terrier from an abusive, drunken boyfriend while he was slamming her head into a wall. The dog grabbed the guy’s leg and scared him off.

The “behavior correction” administered by the hero dog required 30 stitches, something that most regular folks (and everyone I know) would applaud.

The woman, Jamie Kraczkowski, said this about her dog, Isis, whom she calls Ice: “She was done with him abusing me, and abusing her.”

In a gesture of leniency, and I suppose some sort of compassion, Hazel Park police told Jamie that, considering her situation, Isis won’t be euthanized. However, pit bulls are banned within the city, so she had five days to find somewhere to place her devoted lifesaving pet.

It’s important to note that the police are just doing their job and should not be the focus of anyone’s displeasure. This is what happens when uninformed people manage to get elected to office. Scale up this type of stupidity, and you get the kind of circus that we are obliged to endure with the goings-on in our nation’s capital, and which provides renewed insight into the words of Mark Twain: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”

If only Isis had allowed the boyfriend to beat Jamie to a pulp rather than interfering! If she had just hidden under the bed, then Jamie wouldn’t be facing the prospect of having to move or get rid of her beloved dog.

Thankfully, Isis did what any friend would do — and what you certainly hope your dog would do. She jumped in to protect Jamie. We say shame on the local lawmakers who bought into the dumbed-down idea that the wholesale banning of specific dog breeds enhances public safety.

Here are a few truths about dogs, dog bites and related laws:

  1. All dogs are individuals and they all have teeth.
  2. All dogs can bite, and the bigger the dog, the worse their bite may be. There is a greater variance of temperament within the same breed of dog than between different dog breeds.
  3. Pit bull terriers routinely do better on temperament tests than do golden retrievers.
  4. European countries that have banned or restricted breeds saw no decrease in dog bites and, in fact, some studies actually showed an increase.
  5. Laws that actually do serve the interest of public safety focus on the behaviors of both dog and owner. Many cities are enacting ordinances preventing reckless owners from owning pets, and many states have passed or are considering passing laws that ban breed-discriminatory ordinances altogether.
  6. Without DNA testing, the breed or breed mix of dogs is incorrectly identified by shelter workers 75 percent of the time.

Advocates were out in force at last night’s Hazel Park city council meeting, which is good news for that community. But Hazel Park is not alone in having this type of costly, regressive law on the books. That is why Best Friends has been successfully working to outlaw breed discrimination. In fact, 19 states across the country now have provisions that outlaw breed discrimination by municipalities. But clearly, there is still a long way to go.

That’s why we’re actively working to pass a statewide law in Michigan right now, and we need your help.

If you live in Michigan, please click here to easily and quickly send your state lawmakers a message urging them to act and pass a bill banning breed discrimination.

If you’re not in Michigan, but still want to get active to help save lives, please click here to sign up for our legislative action network. When adding your voice to a local discussion is critical, we’ll let you know so you can take action.

Thank you. Together, we can Save Them All.

Love reading the Best Friends Blog? Make sure you never miss a post by clicking here to subscribe and receive every post right in your inbox.

Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

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  • Arual Brewer

    Had the same thing happen to me, but it was a Doberman that saved me. I think it’s great that some dogs have the ability too pick up on abuse and that it’s wrong. He was also very gentle had his own kitten that he took care of. He would bathe it, and gently carry it around by its scruff. Miss that dog.

  • gina whitcomb

    In Utah they have outlawed breed discrimination but stickler landlords get around it by saying their homeowners insurance doesn’t cover it. I feel if they allow animals then they should allow all animals and responsible renter can get renters insurance to cover the dog and that sould be good enough but in Ogden Utah they need to get their stuff straight becausthey’re the only ones that aren’t allowing pitbulls in a state that doesn’t have breedr discrimination

  • Bkeys

    There are reports that some people who spoke against the ban at the Hazel Park council meeting have been retaliated against by police visiting their houses and telling them to get rid of their dogs. Like a nearly bankrupt city doesn’t have better things to do.

  • migdalia

    we been force to take our pitt bull out of the house just because my dog saw the new tenant smoking out side and he ran to see who was the new intruder. She complaint to the landlord and just because she pay him 6 months in advance of her rent, he decide to make us take the dogs out after 3 years the dog being in the house. Im sick and tired of this stupid laws against our dogs that the only thing they do is to protect us. When it comes to a danger dog, any dog can be dangerous, it all depends of the owner.

    • Cecilia

      Check with renters rights office. Contact city, state, county offices. Just Google renters rights and your city state and county. Unless stated in lease dog stays. Even if stated in lease if you can prove landlord knew you had dog the clause not binding.

  • sabrinskegley

    I don’t think they should band the pittbull.If they are going to do that it needs to be all dogs. All dogs are protect ing family why are they being punished for that.