It may be a radical idea, but on Joshua Paul‘s radio show last night, he – as a Jew himself – described an analogy between the The Holocaust imposed upon and suffered by the Jews during Hitler and the Nazi’s reign, and the current pet overpopulation situation. In particular, the show was focusing on the discrimination involved with the current trend toward proposals for breed-specific legislation.
From Wikipedia: The Holocaust was “the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored extermination by Nazi Germany. Two-thirds of the population of nine million who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust were killed.”
When you stop and think about it, he has a valid point. You appear a certain way, you must go. That was the essence of what happened to the Jews. Even those who were mistaken as Jewish, simply because of appearance or misguided information, ended up in the camps. And why were the Jews targeted? The sick, twisted idea about not being blonde-haired and blue-eyed, Hitler’s dream of an ultimate race. In essence, ignorance and distrust abounded regarding this group of people, thanks to the propaganda promoted.
There was – and still is – absolutely no sane, logical foundation for the attempted extermination of an entire race.
Enter breed-specific legislation. A dog that looks like a “pit bull” (there is no such breed) will be deemed “vicious”, sentenced at the very least to the pound. Any dog that appears to be of a certain specified breed, whether or not it in fact is, may face eviction from home and family. Banished to a place that must accept it, the dog will have no future.
We will wipe out not only the breed assumed, we may very well wipe out more. Yet this won’t matter, because the ignorance and distrust that abounds about any dog that might appear a certain way will rule the day.
For every pet that might fall under the category of “vicious dog”, the probability of state-sponsored premature death is great. Within shelters and pounds, there is a maximum capacity rule of thumb. There are only so many spaces, and once intake exceeds those, the excess number has to go. For animals that would be deemed unadoptable, thanks to such laws, there would only be one option – euthanasia, as it is so gently referred to. An end to the life of what was once a loving, loyal pet. Because of the way it looks.
To better describe this idea about appearance, take the test. How did you score? How well do you think authorities (not to mention suspicious, nosy neighbors) would score with these dogs? Herein lies a fatal flaw with the already-defective foundation of breed-specific legislation. How would we ensure that only the breed specified would be targeted? We currently have no means of accurately testing for breeds; it’s a matter of appearance.
Add this to what we do know about breeds; within each and every single breed, there is individuality, just as there occurs with people. You can no more predict the behavior of a dog based on its breed than you can a human based on their ethnicity. Are there generalities? Yes. And they are exactly just that – generalities.
To target one specific group, based on breed or ethnicity – doesn’t matter which – is simply discriminatory, racist, ignorant…and dangerously foolish.
Just listen to what Josh has to say – what are your thoughts?
The Joshua Paul Show, Pit Bulls, a Dog That is Unfairly Stereotyped