No, I’m not going to run out and buy a gun. Yes, I will continue to be ill-at-ease about guns. But, god damn if Say Uncle doesn’t remind me of the importance of… well, fuck me, boys, I don’t even know what you call yourselves… guns-rights-advocates (?) and the necessity of throwing props their way every once in a while.
Why, you may ask, am I moved to cheer for guns-rights-advocates? Because when it comes to the silliness and offensiveness of trying to shame people into “proper” behavior, they get it.
The “proper” behavior in question? Apparently, if you’re a pitbull owner in Commerce City, Colorado, you should be harassed and intimidated into giving up your dog.
Yes, dog owners who are complying with a stupid ordinance are still being singled out by the local paper and their addresses published because Kathy McIntyre, an editor that paper, believes she knows best for the community.
Anyway, one doesn’t have to be a great genius to see the offensiveness of this. So, let’s follow the link that SayUncle gives and take a look at the ordinance that deals with pitbulls in the first place.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know my immediate “What the Fuck?” to this ordinance. If you haven’t, here’s the specific problem (I have a far greater general problem with breed-specific legislation and don’t even get me started on how racist it is). It doesn’t define what a pit bull is. How in the world are you supposed to know if the dog you have is one of the forbidden dogs?
As I said in February*:
Much of the confusion about what is a pitbull and what isn’t comes down to this: the word “pitbull” is used to describe a specific breed of dog, a type of dog, and a dog that has a certain, inhumane, job.
The specific breed of dog is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is not recognized by the AKC (though it was at one point), but is recognized by other kennel clubs. The American Pit Bull Terrier is very closely related to the American Staffordshire Terrier, but there are differences. I’m no expert, but to my eye, the American Pit Bull Terrier often has a lankier appearance and the look of the dog varies a lot more than the look of the AmStaff in terms of acceptable weights and sizes.
The type of dog is any bull dog that lacks the affable charm of the English Bulldog, including the ones recognized by the AKC–the AmStaff, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and sometimes the Bull Mastiff–and ones that aren’t, like the American Bulldog and the American Pit Bull Terrier. All of these dogs come under the umbrella term “pitbull,” though they vary greatly in size and appearance. That’s why both the dog in the Target commercials and the Our Gang shorts are called pitbulls, even though they don’t look a thing alike.
Then there’s the dog that has the terrible job
I’ve seen a few of these dogs and, to me, they look very different than Mrs. Wigglebottom (though this site suggests I’m imagining the differences). In fact, I’ve had a number of people familiar with fighting dogs who insist that Mrs. Wigglebottom must be part boxer because she’s much too big to be a pitbull. In general, my experience is that fighting dogs are smaller than she is. Their faces more resemble the Staffordshire Terrier than her. They often don’t have ears at all. Also, if you look at them face on, their necks seem situated lower on their chests than Mrs. Wigglebottom, and their chests aren’t as deep. This gives them the appearance of having longer legs in proportion to their bodies.
But fighting dogs aren’t a breed of dog the way the AKC thinks of it. If someone wanted a fighting dog that was a little bigger, he’d find an AmStaff and breed it into his dogs for size. If he found a really vicious Lab (if there is such a dog), he’s use that as breeding stock. The dog fighter isn’t as interested in “breed standards” as he is in dogs that can win. He’s actually a lot like those folks on Animal Planet, in that, he knows a fighting dog when he sees it.
So any kind of breed specific legislation that isn’t actually specific about which breed you can own or not own is not only a gross-overstepping of government into the private lives of citizens, but also incredibly stupid.
*Is it pompous-jackass-y to link to one’s self? Probably. Well, what can you do?