A Philosopher's Blog

Dog Hero and Pit Bull Bans

Posted in Ethics, Law by Michael LaBossiere on May 2, 2007

A brave Jack Russel Terrier died saving children from marauding pit bulls. The terrier, named George, held off the two pit bulls thus allowing five children to escape. George survived the attack but was so badly mauled that he was put down.

This incident shows that good dogs are truly our best friends-they are willing to die for us. It also shows that people create some very bad dogs and do not take responsibility for their pets. That is both sad and morally wrong.

I’ve had mixed experiences with pitbulls myself. I’ve been attacked by a pit bull while running (no injuries on my part, beyond some scrapes I received from sticking a fallen tree into the dog’s mouth), Isis has been attacked by pit bulls in the dog park and I’ve seen plenty of pit bull fights. But, I’ve also known some very nice pit bulls who are proper dogs.

In all these cases the main factor has been the owner. People who chose dogs from lines that have been “bred mean” and then encourage that tendency (I’ve seen people slapping their pits to make them mad enough to fight other dogs) are making the greatest contribution to the pit bull problem.

Because of these bad owners many places have imposed bans on pit bulls. For example, some dog parks not allow them and even some areas of the US ban them completely.

Because of my own bad pit bull experiences, I am very sympathetic to such bans. When I’m sitting in the dog park watching some genius slapping his pit bull puppy and trying to get it to fight other dogs, I think that such bans might not be a bad idea.

But, from one moral standpoint, pit bull bans could be seen as wrong because they restrict all pit bulls based on the poor choices and actions of some pit bull breeders and owners.

Of course, the ban could be justified on utilitarian grounds-although some good pits and their owners would suffer, the harms prevented by banning pits in general could outweigh this suffering.

At this time, I’m still divided on pit bull bans. My inclination is that it is probably better to deal with matters individually. For example, particular individuals could be banned from dog parks, etc. because their dogs are known to be vicious. Of course, if there are many bad pit bulls, dealing with individuals might be too costly in terms of time and resources. In that case, areas rife with bad pits might require sweeping bans to protect the many from the misdeeds of the few…at the expense of some innocents

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5 Responses

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  1. g alby said, on May 2, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    You are a dumb ignorant jack ass we should put you down for being a stupid bitch. I would protect my pup and choose her over any of you fucking retards. Go to hell you nappy headed hos.

  2. mlabossi said, on May 2, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    G alby, you should probably read a post carefully before responding. You might have noticed that I’m generally opposed to sweeping bans and think that good dogs and good owners should be free to go where they wish to go.

    Also, you need to work on your gender concepts. I’m a male, so I can’t be a bitch, stupid or otherwise. Neither can I be a ‘ho’, given the standard usage of that sexist term.

    I do appreciate the death threat, but I have no plans to die soon. Nor do I plan to go to hell.

  3. Lori V. said, on May 3, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Mike, I agree wholeheartedly with your post. This is a very well-articulated point that needs to be made.

    The first commenter, if I were to guess, is one of the owners that encourage meanness, and would, therefore, be part of the ban.

  4. zerog said, on May 25, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    And should I add, you’ve been overly democratic and gentle with the first commentator (who apparently is so well with his/her dog that doesn’t need relate properly with humans).

    Anyway. A post about pit bulls might attract some but that’s no reason for not publishing it. (Yet, it’d justify selective comment moderation).

    Btw, I’m a cat lover myself so I don’t really sympathize with dog owners and their problems (*) but I have to admit that your post is (as usual) exceptional.

    I owe most part of this attitude of mine to mean dog owners that breed mean dogs and even more mean dog owners who abandon their dogs at first chance. It is for the later reason that Athens is full of strays.

  5. Crystal said, on November 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    My only comment is if you ban one breed another will take its place. What about spending the money on education for all dog owners about responsible ownership? If you don’t educate people the cycle continues no matter what the breed of the dog. As a pit bull owner I know that they are not the breed for everyone. They are stubburn and strong. I know enough to keep my dogs on leashes at all times. I have to walk by poodles loose in the street. Hey its ok because they aren’t pitbulls, right? All dog owners should follow the same rules of ownership. If my dog gets in a fight with a dog that is loose and he is on a leash. Who’s fault is it? I guarantee my dog will be blamed even though he had no way to escape the other dog. Let’s all follow the golden rule and life will be much easier.


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