Just say no!

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To the Editor:

On April 16, 2013 representatives Rodney Moore and Larry Pittman from North Carolina filled a bill that would make it very difficult to own dogs of certain breeds.

If this bill passes, anyone who owns a Pitt Bull (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier), Rottweiler, Mastiff (can include Great Dane and St. Bernard),  Chow, Perro de Presa Canario, Wold Hybrid (can include German Shepherd, Husky, and Malamute) or a mix of these animals will be required to do ALL of the following:

Pass a background check performed by the Sheriff of the County of residence. This check will include Special Bureau of Investigations (SBI), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and local courts.

Take a class that is at least four hours long about ‘Aggressive Breeds’ that must be approved by the Department of Insurance. You may have to travel for this class. You must get certification from this class in order to own the dog.

You must have homeowners or renters insurance and that insurance must be told of your specific breed and allow you to have the breed. You will then pay insurance based on the dog breed.

Apply to the Department of Insurance for a special permit to have a dog of the breed. The permit will be at least $25. Many permits must be renewed each year.

If you do not pass every step of this process or if any of the organizations involved believe you should not own this dog, you will not receive a permit to have the animal. You can then appeal to the Chief District Court and pay court fees.

Owning one of these dog breeds without doing the above will result in a $50 fine and a Class 3 misdemeanor charge. We assume the animal will also be confiscated, but the bill does not say.

If you outlaw these breeds, only outlaws will have these breeds, which is the LAST thing they need. People will begin to hide these animals, which is much more dangerous. The animals will not get proper health care or socialization. Every dog, despite the breed, is as safe and as dangerous as a gun. When you mistreat an animal you put bullets in that gun.

Your dog could be discriminated against because of the way it looks even if it is not one of these breeds. What will stop the House of Representatives from adding more breeds to this list? I work in a shelter and a pet clinic and the top 10 meanest dogs I have met didn’t even belong to this breed list. Many of them are dogs you would never expect to fear.

This bill will not only be irritating to people that own these breeds, but it will prevent these breeds from being adopted from shelters. More animals will be put to sleep simply because of this bill. What we really need is harsher punishment for animal abuse. Many people abusing animals today will have that animal taken away only to pay a fine and go get another animal. THIS is what we need to be concerned with, not making innocent animal owners jump through hoops to prove they deserve their dog. We need a bill to punish those that abuse ANY animal and prevent them from getting more animals.

Visit www.change.org and search for 956 for more information. This website is also where you can sign a petition against this bill. Signing is safe, free, and simple. Please say no to 956 and give every animal a chance.

Candace Matthews