Opinion: BSL is bull and pit bulls deserve more love in their communities

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Pit bulls are labeled as aggressive dogs, but this photo shoot campaign, "Pit Bull Flower Power" shows the softer side of the breed. Photo courtesy of Sophie Gamand, creator and photographer of "Pit Bull Flower Power."

In Weld County, the dog breed pit bull is listed on the Breed Specific Legislation because of their reputation of being aggressive toward people.

BSL is a law which bans or regulates specific dog breeds in an effort to stop dogs from attacking people and animals. 

There are some residents in Weld County who have been impacted by BSL and because of the legislation, some residents have moved to a different state where pit bulls are not viewed as a threat toward the community. Former Greeley resident Debra-Frefield-Griffiths moved to Monroe, Georgia three years ago because of how the community felt threatened because of her pit bull Daisy. 

Although the community of Monroe are being nice toward Frefield-Griffiths and Daisy, an incident with law enforcement happened on Thanksgiving. During the afternoon, Daisy escaped from her backyard and went to a neighbor’s front yard. The neighbor called the police and when a police officer pulled up to the house, the officer put his hand on his gun because he felt threatened when he saw Daisy walking toward him.

Frefield-Griffiths’s husband Ken is a retired police officer and he rescued Daisy from a potentially dangerous situation and a few minutes later, a deputy sheriff requested to see the body camera footage because he wanted to see if Daisy was acting aggressively toward the officer. The footage ruled in Daisy’s favor because she did not show any signs of aggression.

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After the scary incident, Frefield-Griffiths’s stance on pit bulls is still the same because the incident proved how people view pit bulls as a threat regardless of how happy the animal is.

“Pit bulls have a bad reputation based on what man is doing to them which is using them to breed and fight,” Frefield-Griffiths said. “They are naturally loving animals who want to be loved and they are not born to be vicious attack dogs.” 

The scary incident showed how uneducated people act toward pit bulls and they need to realize how owners should be punished for allowing the dogs to become aggressive. For example, in 2007, former National Football League star Michael Vick did illegally have a dog fighting ring in his backyard and if one of the pit bulls did become weak after a fight, he would intentionally hurt or kill them. When the police found the dog fighting ring, Vick was banned from the NFL, went to prison for 23 months and the judge did order him to pay $928,073 for the abuse of the animals.

If Vick’s actions have not convinced you to think about how people’s actions can cause pit bulls to become aggressive, I challenge you to look up last years’ statistics on dog attacks in Colorado. According to an article from dogbite website, last year 23 residents died from being attacked by dogs, but only 21 percent of those dogs were pit bulls  Also, if you read the article, you will find out the dog breed rottweiler has the highest percentage for injuring people.

BSL is complicated because there are two sides on this issue from residents who have different views on pit bulls. There are residents who are against BSL, but there are other residents who are in favor of the legislation because their views are entirely different. Perhaps the reason why some residents are in favor of BSL is because some of them did have a scary experience with pit bulls or they have heard how aggressive the dog breed can be to our county.

If there is a way to ease some of the worries,I think the solution would be educating the residents about dog behavior because I believe if residents learn about the behavior of dogs, I think they will know how to respond to an aggressive or happy dog. For example,  my dog Smokie is a keeshond and despite the fact her breed isn’t aggressive, she will only attack if someone is provoking her. Smokie does have different body posture when she is guarding or playing with me and it is my job to observe her posture because I know how to handle her regardless of what the situation is.

For those who have heard false information about pit bulls I challenge you to pick up a dog breed book titled “Dog Bible” and look up all the breeds who are pit bulls because you will not find the word “aggressive” but instead you will find a description mentioning how pit bulls are wonderful family dogs.

Regardless of the different views toward BSL, I think pit bulls are beautiful dogs and I believe the ban should be lifted because pit bulls deserve the right to have a beautiful life. 

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