Tails are wagging in Washington this week.
Not only did the Obama family introduce Sunny the puppy to her adoring country, but the White House also came out against breed-specific legislation — regulations and laws that restrict ownership of dogs by breed, pit bulls being the most common target.
Groups like the American Bar Association have said for years that these sorts of restrictions do harm — to families, to dogs, to due process and to the economy — without actually improving public safety.
Based on a statement that the White House put out about a week ago, it would seem that Obama agrees. “Breed-Specific Legislation Is a Bad Idea” begins the White House’s official response to an online petition, signed by more than 30,000 people,asking for laws that target dogs by breed to be outlawed at a federal level.
Obama’s statement doesn’t speak to federal legislative efforts. But, the White House does adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s community-based ideas for better methods of improving public safety:
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources…As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.
Lisa LaFontaine, who is president of the Washington Humane Society (which received a donation from the Obamas in honor of Sunny the puppy) and a longtime opponent of breed-specific legislation, told The Huffington Post she thinks this statement will provide a big boost.