Service, Freedom & Pit Bulls

May 27, 2011  

A veteran speaks out against breed-discriminatory laws


By Joseph Myers

I first learned about breed-discriminatory laws a couple years ago when my wife and I got invited to a cousin’s wedding in the Midwest. I rented a van so that my mother-in-law and our two adopted pit bull mixes could all go along for the trip. We live in Southern California, so the journey was going to be more than 2,000 miles. My wife immediately got on the Internet and started to look up the breed-specific laws of different cities and states.

I was a bit naïve on subject. She informed me that pit bull-type dogs are banned in hundreds of cities and counties across the country and that taking our dogs into these areas could be illegal. Our dogs could even be seized.

I never would have thought that breed profiling existed in the United States and would infringe on my freedom and the freedom of my loved ones.

They say that those of us who serve in the military protect our freedom here at home. It upsets me that I don’t have the freedom to travel with my family (which includes my dogs) or to live in many parts of this country simply because of how my dogs look.

My family, including myself, have served this country all the way back to the American Revolution. I had ancestors that died in the Civil War. My great-grandfather got a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor while wounded during the Philippine Insurrection. Both my grandfathers served during World War II. One served in the North Atlantic in the Navy. He suffered from shrapnel wounds. My dad served during Vietnam. I served during Desert Storm.

I love our country, and because I love it so much, I feel the need to speak out against things I believe are wrong.

I find it ludicrous that in many cities and counties our government is telling us what types of dogs we can bring into our families. I can’t even take my dogs to Colorado, where my mom lives. The irony of all this is that breed-specific laws have been proven ineffective at making cities safer, so they aren’t accomplishing anything and are causing a great deal of hardship.

My wife has trained our dog, Omega, to be a therapy dog for the elderly. This is the most loving dog I’ve ever had. Breed profiling is not based on behavior, it is based on hatred and fear!

Dogs are a reflection of their owners, and generalizations about breeds don’t work. If we continue down this road of regulating breeds rather than irresponsible owners, what breed is next to be banned? Our leaders should make laws based on what will be most effective—what will truly make a community a better and safer place—not based on fear and prejudice.

I may no longer be serving in our Armed Forces, but I plan on continuing to fight for the American ideals of freedom by being an advocate for the breed once known as America’s dog.

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Comments

16 Responses to “Service, Freedom & Pit Bulls”
  1. Anne says:

    Way to go, Joe! I appreciate how you weave our freedoms from the war front to personal choices that can limit our travel opportunities and impact us on a day-to-day basis. A perfect read for the Memorial Day weekend!

  2. dutch71 says:

    As an owner of two German Shepherds, another breed regularly maligned, your article resonates deeply. Greta is more sensitive and loving than 90% of the human population; Fritz, more happy and well-adjusted, and he came to us from highly questionable circumstances at 10.5 months. Indeed, dogs can be a reflection of the imprint left on them by humans; no breed is naturally “bad.” Funnily enough, most dogs who come into loving homes from unfortunate circumstances imposed on them are smart enough to recognize the shift in their fortunes. Thank you for speaking your mind…and the truth.

  3. dutch71 says:

    And, of course, I and my family are grateful for the freedoms for which you and your family fought.

  4. EvaLagudi-Devereux says:

    Well said!- As the owner of a beautiful and loving pit, it saddens me when people look at me as if I must have a rabid animal on my hands or leave when I enter the dog park. My girl is well behaved and very loving! I do understand the implications of my dogs strength and I am very understanding that people may not want their young children around etc, but the ignorance is outstanding. My dog may have the capabilities to inflict more damage if something was to happen as opposed to a regular dog bite, however that does not make my dog more aggressive, unbalanced or angry than any other breed.

  5. StubbyDog says:

    @Anne We thought so, thanks for commenting.

  6. StubbyDog says:

    @dutch71 Thank you for sharing that about your two shepherds.

  7. StubbyDog says:

    @EvaLagudi-Devereux Thanks for your comments, hopefully your dog and other like her will set an example and help change perceptions, one encounter at a time.

  8. ShawnLowe says:

    Wonderfully said!

  9. StubbyDog says:

    @ShawnLowe Thank you Shawn!

  10. m&minwa says:

    I think if your dog is a service dog, they can’t ban you from bringing it into Colorado. I believe there was a law suit against banning service dogs. Check it out.

    So happy to hear you will continue this fight. It’s ignorance and the media to blame. The trick may be to educate people about this gently, loyal, intelligent, loving breed. The “nanny dog”

    Also, the dogs on the Little Rascals, was a pit bull. All those years, and never a problem..

  11. micaela says:

    Our dog Omega, the dog Joe mentions in his article, is a therapy dog, which is a little different than a service dog. But you are right that service animals are not supposed to be discriminated against based on breed. However, Denver has discriminated against pit bull therapy dogs, and several law suits are pending.

    Thank you for reading the article and for commenting.

  12. mspixieriot says:

    I just had to pop in and say that these dogs are lucky to have your support! I’m “mom” to a pit bull cross who was a bait dog before we adopted him, and he’s the sweetest little sucker for attention! He’ll let you carry him around under one arm like a rag doll, or squeeze him like a teddy bear while you sleep, and the few times that HE has been attacked by another dog (always ones who seemed untrained and whose owners had no control) he just lies down and waits for me to rescue him, with no instinct to fight back. So, the short version is: pits are great. The end. 😉 Thanks for fighting for their freedom!

  13. StubbyDog says:

    @mspixieriot Thank for sharing your story. It sounds like your dog is very lucky and I’m sure you feel the same way.

  14. KI4MYN says:

    It bothers me the way some of our vets are being treated due to lack of proper ADA Education. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUcWD8hEvr8 I made a video to try to explain and complain about these kinds of violations that is starting to happen across the country. Also see http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-our-service-animals/102534303138248 I got a letter Saturday June 4th 2011 from the USDOJ that they have passed along my complaint to the FBI. 😉

  15. StubbyDog says:

    @KI4MYN Hopefully the tide is turning when it comes to dogs in the military and certainly to all service animals.