We are finally getting the course righted, but still have a long way to go in the realm of misunderstanding about dog behavior and the scourge that is breed-specific legislation. People, in spite of too much common rhetoric, do not actually have conflict with breeds of dog, they have problems with individual animals (most often the fault of individual owners/trainers). Pit Bulls are no more inclined to attack unprovoked than other breeds. Dobermans won’t rip out your jugular. German Shepherds don’t run babies down and dismember them in the streets. Jack Russell Terriers don’t corner people and refuse to let them move. Each of these things may happen with individual combinations of certain dogs and people, but it’s not the breed that does it. Breed characteristics can include color and head shape and gait and tail length and coat and sometimes a propensity toward certain health problems, but breed characteristics do not include ability to bond, niceness, playfulness, fighting skill, viciousness, or trainability. That’s all part of the human influence. Dogs, of every breed, that are well cared for are well behaved.
In response to a breed being unfairly targeted in 2009, The Lexus Project was formed. Lexus was a Greyhound, sitting on death row in Rhode Island, scheduled to be executed after a fight in a dog park that resulted in the death of a Pomeranian pup. The dog was neither vicious nor a threat to society, just not appropriately handled (not her fault), but a judge declared she had to be destroyed. In response, after hearing about the case, activists and attorneys filed papers protesting the decision, to save Lexus since her owner was not represented in the original trial, and negotiated her release and moved her out of state. Since then, the organization has taken on legal protection, originally just for Greyhounds, but now for all breeds. Dogs being represented by pro bono lawyers and volunteers include pitties, Greyhounds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Shepherds, and a whole bunch of mixed breed love bugs. There are large breeds, small dogs, young, old, even a cat they have rescued.
You can volunteer to help support the rescue and protection of these animals: volunteer attorneys and clerks help them get a fair shake, foster families sometimes house animals until they’ve finished proceedings, and, of course, donors keep the ball rolling. There’s even a fantastic affiliated volunteer program they work with, Pilots N Paws made up of volunteer pilots that fly animals out of emergency situations to adoption groups that await them. Good dogs need your help.