Oklahoma Senator Patrick Anderson in in the dog house after he proposed a bill at the request of a constituent to allow municipalities to ban dogs by breed. Many are wondering how much this single constituent paid to have this bill written, as it seems clear that many more are against such action.
SB 32 would allow governing boards of municipalities to restrict ownership of any breed of dog living in that area, but we all know which breed they’re looking at – pit bulls and bully mixes. Anderson said that with about 2,400 bills filed this legislative session, it is unlikely it will even be heard.
The Republican senator has received some less-than-polite mail in response to the proposal. Among his mail were some suggestions that anyone with the surname Anderson be banned.
“It’s not a priority of the Legislature,” Anderson said. “It’s going nowhere.”
Instead of banning pit bulls, residents just want other laws to be better enforced.
“The thing is they look mean, they look scary and people mistreat them to make them more aggressive,” said Enid, OK SPCA Shelter Director Vickie Grantz. “They’re highly sought after for people with highly undesirable activities in their homes. I think there are other things we can do besides banning breeds. I think there are other avenues we could take along the line of protecting the environment of the dog. You’re going to have a much more mentally healthy dog.”
Pit bulls are not the problem, Grantz says. Owners are.
“If we can find a way to make people responsible pet owners, we wouldn’t need laws to outlaw breeds,” she said. “It’s not the dog, it’s the owner.”
Breed bans are not dissimilar from racial profiling. Raising awareness about pit bulls and distinguishing fact from myth can help curb the discrimination.
An online petition to “Kill Senate Bill 32” has garnered thousands of signatures from peeved OK residents.
Dog owner Nicole Winfield currently has two dogs, and has fostered others. Though she does not have a pit bull, she does have a large-breed dog. She understands the plight of bully breeds and big dogs who are condemned for their size and strength, despite their friendly and gentle demeanor. She thinks the breed bans are unjust.
“It’s not fair to classify dogs because of what breed they are,” she said. “It’s all in how you raise your dog.”
She said if an ordinance is passed that would ban the breed of her dogs, she’s not sure what she would do.
“I think we’d move,” she said. “My dog is my family member.”