Our government should not be in the business of breed bans, period. Aside from state and local officials passing ordinances and other nonsense BSL laws in many regions, the government has also enacted widespread breed bans applying to military housing. Besides the simple fact that breed bans are antiquated and ineffective, forcing enlisted men and women to give up their family pets is pretty terrible policy, across the board.
In 2009, the Pentagon approved a pet policy that banned Pit Bulls (American Staffordshire Bull Terriers or English Staffordshire Bull Terriers), Rottweilers, Dobermans, Chows, and wolf hybrids from military housing. A number of Air Force and Navy bases followed. Then, soon after, the Marine Corps issued a worldwide policy banning pit bull-type dogs, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids and any dogs with “dominant traits of aggression” from all bases and housing facilities.
Military personnel have every right to the companionship of their pets. To ban specific breeds from military housing forces many enlisted individuals to surrender their beloved animals to shelters. These bans are based on isolated incidents of “pit bulls” biting children or other individuals. As usual, hysteria ensues on such occasions and irrational decisions are made. In reality, dogs should be judged on a case by case basis – and owners held responsible for the behavior of their animals.
While No Kill naysayers continue to rail against the “irresponsible public”, situations like these are perfect examples of the government’s own culpability in the killing. If a pit bull is banned from a military base, and a soldier has no choice but to surrender him, and the dog is later killed by the shelter … who’s to blame? The soldier? Hardly. The shelter? Absolutely. The government who implemented the breed ban? Absolutely.
A New Mexico news station reports that at their local shelter, “Nearly half the animals on death row come from military families that had to surrender their pets because of deployment or breed bans on base.
‘So now all of the military families who are serving their country, and possibly losing their lives, are also losing their dogs.’”
These ridiculous stereotypes against particular breeds weren’t always a characteristic of our nation’s armed forces. Ever heard of Sargeant Stubby? The most decorated war dog of all time – and the only dog to rise to the rank of Sargeant through combat? He was none other than a pit-bull type dog – a category of breeds the US military has seen fit to outlaw from their bases. How ironic.
These baseless, cruel restrictions need to be overturned. As American citizens, it should be OUR decision whether these bans are in place. Only we can stand together to end them, once and for all. There was an outcry when these breed bans were first implemented, but the commotion has died down in the past two years. It’s time to bring back the outrage. I recommend sending a note to President Obama on this issue, as well as to the Pentagon. It may not be their first priority, but at least dog lovers nationwide can make our voices heard.
As they say: “Punish the deed, not the breed.”