Is your dog welcome in your neighborhood?
If you move to Denver, you had better not bring your pit bull with you. And if you bring your Rottweiler, expect to be denied a homeowner’s insurance policy or to have to pay a hefty premium because of your dog.
Of course your next door neighbor’s cocker spaniel is statistically much more likely to bite than either a Rottweiler or a pit bull, but that hasn’t stopped many communities from enacting bans on ownership of certain breeds. While the statistics are clear, fears are fueled by the degree of harm that can be caused by an aggressive dog—an attack by a Rottweiler, pit bull, German Shepherd or Akita is going to result in much more harm to the victim than an attack from a Bichon Frise. These are the dog bites that make the sensational press, while bites from smaller dogs mostly go unreported.
What is the solution to discrimination against an entire breed of dogs? Can these fears be overcome to allow us to enjoy the companionship dogs of all shapes and sizes? The answer is a resounding “YES.” Many states have passed laws prohibiting the discrimination of a particular breed of dog in lawmaking, and in providing homeowner’s insurance policies. Responsible guardianship is the key in demonstrating that all dog breeds are deserving of our respect.
Good neighbors ensure that their dogs are properly fed and sheltered, well trained, secure within their homes and yards, and adequately socialized with friends, neighbors and other dogs. Spaying or neutering your dogs will help reduce aggression (and the overpopulation of unwanted dogs in shelters). There is a catch-phrase, “it’s the deed, not the breed,” that is used to combat efforts to link dangerous dog laws with a specific breed. But the deed isn’t always the deed of the dog. Sometimes it’s the deeds of the guardians that make the most difference.