HSUS Disappoints on MD Pitbull Ruling

In a letter to the editor of a MD newspaper, the Maryland State Director for HSUS writes about the recent court ruling declaring Pitbulls as inherently dangerous animals:

We encourage Marylanders to call their state legislators to urge them to pass legislation to overturn this ruling.

At first glance, I’m in agreement but the devil is in the details.  For example:

A dog’s propensity to bite is a product of several factors including early socialization, living conditions and the owner’s behavior, not breed alone. For example, chained and non-neutered dogs are much more likely to bite.

Oh hogwash!  Way to promote myths and misinformation HSUS. “Not breed alone” implies that breed is in fact one of the factors that determine a dog’s propensity to bite.  This is wrong, as is the notion that intact dogs are “much more likely” to bite.   The National Canine Research Council sets the record straight in this excellent piece:

There is no individual factor, or combination of factors, that reliably explain which dogs bite. A dog bite is the culmination of dozens of circumstances and variables, both past and present.

Thank you.

HSUS then ramps up the hysteria:

There are already reports of pit bulls being abandoned since this ruling.
Rather than protect public safety, the ruling may force pit bulls who could live safely as beloved family pets to roam Maryland neighborhoods in packs, and force shelters to euthanize them — turning back decades of progress by animal shelters and rescue groups.

You know what turns back progress made by shelters and rescues – of which HSUS is neither?  This kind of crap.  Sweet Pitbulls are already being turned loose in the streets where they will terrorize MD neighborhoods in marauding packs!  Gah!  Oh and of course HSUS can’t miss an opportunity to absolve those who kill pets from responsibility by mentioning how shelters will be forced to kill these dogs.  Cause you know – they’re roving in packs right in our own neighborhoods!  Think of the children!

In closing, HSUS posts a link – not to where Maryland residents can find and contact their legislators (you can do that here) – but to the Facebook page for HSUS Maryland adding that you can “show your support” by submitting photos to that page.  Of course you’d have to “like” the page first which is just another way for HSUS to expand its marketing and fundraising pool.  Eh, what did I expect?

21 thoughts on “HSUS Disappoints on MD Pitbull Ruling

  1. Ok, I have to admit that this is my home town news paper and yes, I’m embarrassed. I sure don’t know how that happened and the person writing this does not live in our area.
    I’m not sure if you have seen my Blog regarding this issue:
    and late last night I released a study regarding Pit Bull breeds which can be found here:
    Last weekend I attended a meeting in Columbia, MD regarding the court ruling. The Meeting itself was interesting, other things surrounding this meeting were not so pleasant.

  2. How awful, to encourage posting photos on Facebook as effective action. Is that the trickle down theory of all talk and no action? Thanks YesBiscuit! and Peter Masloch for providing constructive information and links.

  3. HUMANS ARE FAR MORE DANGEROUS THEN PIT BULLS…They are the ones who train them to fight. So p[it bulls are not the weapons but the humans are the weapons.

  4. Where was HSUS before this law became law. They only appear when it will benefit them and cash in on the sorrow the Maryland Pit Bulls now have to go threw. They could have been there to prevent this becoming law. There are words to describe this organization they are pieces of what I step in, in my yard before I scoop! Sometimes I get so tired of so many people who just don’t have a moral center.

    1. I’m not one to defend HSUS, but there was little to be done in advance to prevent this. It’s not legislation based on the normal process, it is common law that is the result of a court ruling. Everyone was blindsided by it. Thankfully, many Marylanders recognize that this a bad law, and several groups and attorneys are working to fix it. They are suggesting people do things that are a good bit more productive than posting pictures on FB, too.
      Marylanders concerned about this should locate these groups (website & FB) to stay informed http://www.marylandanimallawcenter.org/info/
      Actions being suggested are to write to the Governor, asking that corrective legislation be created during the special session, and/ or asking he issue an executive order to the insurance commission saying that they won’t declare a dog dangerous based on breed.
      We can also write to our other elected officials requesting corrective legislation, but if it doesn’t happen during the special session, that means we will have to live with this until next January. Sample wording for letters will be provided by the MD Dog Federation over the next couple days. See link above.
      The Animal Law Center (link above) is seeking business owners who are negatively impacted by this ruling to join in a lawsuit. The thinking is that since the law was created by the courts, it can be corrected by the courts. If you are a landlord, vet, dog walker/sitter, trainer, shop owner, doggy day care provider, groomer, etc. in MD, who will be impacted, please get in touch with them. If you know anyone in these businesses, please talk to them about this. Make sure they understand the impact, and encourage them to get involved.
      Bmore Dog (link also above) has a rally/protest in the works that people can attend to bring more attention to the matter.

  5. “The National Canine Research Council” is not national, is not research, and is not a council. It is simply a vet tech with an opinion. That is all. I am OK with that, but let’s not try to dress it up.

    1. says someone who has written that there should be laws regulating pit bull ownership… or at least he did until his own son acquired an apparent APBT.

  6. I’m just glad to see others fighting for the rights of Bullies & standing up for them. Too many times the dogs are killed & folks wrongfully think it’s all the right thing to do, because “Pitt Bulls are so evil”. Bull.

  7. For Crimminy Sake, the utter stupidity of folks in MD. First of all, there isn’t a true breed known as a Pitbull. Secondly, is their intentions to KILL everything that looks like a bully breed? Someone needs to enlighten HSUS about the real facts pertaining to these dogs & their true nature… HSUS are Killers also, however, so why go there for help? BUT DO STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS & FOR THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WHO LIVE IN YOUR HOME OR ON YOUR PROPERTY WHETHER THEY BE MAN, WOMAN, CHILD, DOG, HORSE, BIRD OR FISH!!!! It is against the law for a government official, even one with a badge, to harrass anyone for no wrong doing in any form…

    The only difficulty with Bully Breeds is their braun, as they have not a clue to their bulk & strength. Other than that, they are a loving dog full of the desire to please. And they defintiely are a breed who loves to be around humans, including children, but for a few who were abused and fought back, we are allowing this breed, like they tried, but did not succeed in doing, to ban German Shepherds, Dobermans, Chow-Chows, Rotties, to be marked for annihilation without fairness. Even the ones who were abused & defended themselves can be totally rehabbed to live a normal life among human families. The “pitbulls” of Michael Vick, most of them, some were ill and had to be euthanized thought, were rehabbed with some living in foster homes, some had been adopted and several went into becoming “therapy dogs, that went touring to patients in hospitals & other medical facilites. Folks, these were dogs used to killed to the death in a fighting ring & they were saved… Just because some celebrity gets a headline, the dogs get saved, what about the dogs of the common folk?

    There is no way in God Green Acres or otherwise that a Animal Control Agent should be allowed to come to a private residence that has no complaint against it, about dogs or anything, to collect someone’s family dog because it is of the bully breed in someway. that, CITIZENS, is taking away our rights & our home belongs to us, not the government; it is our castle & all those who live on such a property should not be subjected to threat in any form!!!!!!

    As is the case anywhere, it is the government trying to control our Rightful Freedoms through the Constitution, inclusive of banning dog breeds, slaughtering horses for the European Food Market, killing wolves which have a absolute purpose in the Creator’s Grand Plan, which is to keep overpopulating non-predator herds down to a safe limit, authorizing the legal killing on site of coyotes, and killing off cougars and bears which are in their rightful environment that humans trespass into. We Must Stand Together to End this Governmental Tyranny that eventually will dictate also if certain humans, like seniors, have the right to live a long life or be chosen by a death panel to be annihilated.

    1. Trisha, this is not a breed ban. People can still own them, they just face a higher liability risk. Basically, the court said owning any bully mix is like carrying dynamite. If you own one, you are supposed to assume they are going to attack every human or animal they meet, because, according to this ruling, they are all dangerous animals. This ruling also allowed a landlord to be sued for damages, because she allowed the dog on her property, and they say she should have known it was dangerous. So now, landlords are going to make tenants get rid of them, and the dogs are going to end up in shelters. Then the shelters, and the rescue groups that pull the dogs, face an increased liability risk if the dog does injure someone. Everyone is waiting to see how the insurance companies are going to handle this.
      PG county in MD does have a breed ban on Pit Bulls (which doesn’t make much sense, because they are not really a breed) maybe you are confusing something you read about that county, with the rest of the state? I think some are hoping that the one good thing that could come out of this is that PG county’s breed ban goes away, when everything is said and done.

      1. Went where? Comparing the “Breed” ban in PG co. to this ruling that is affecting the rest of the state? They are two very different situations, that need to be addressed differently, but one thing they have in common is that “Pit Bull” is not clearly defined, in either case. How the government ban something, and then not tell people exactly what is banned? In forcing them to define it, it could go away. When they name specific breeds, there are breed clubs that will get involved in the fight against it. The breed ban in PG county was originally to be for “Pit Bulls” and Rottweilers. Rottweilers have breed clubs, and registries, that got involved and put a stopped to the ban. Pit Bulls, being a mixed breed dog, did not have that voice speaking on their behalf, and ended up banned. I’m not saying it is okay for any breed of dog to be banned. I’m saying that if the State Legislature is forced to recognize that it is often not possible to correctly identify the breed(s) of a dog, and that it is not correct to deem a dog dangerous based on it’s breed(s), it’s going to be considerably more difficult for PG Co. to continue to attempt to justify it’s breed ban. That will be a good thing, because there the situation is just what Trisha described. They can come to your house, charge you with a crime, take your dog, and kill it. It may also help the situation at some shelters in MD, where they will not adopt out anything they label a “Pit Bull.” That is the case in AA co., MD, and I believe at at least one other shelter on the shore. Many people in those counties are not aware of their shelters policies, but now that this issue has been raised and is being discussed, there is some hope that the policies will be changed.

      2. We can hope the increased light on the issue will help alleviate it.

  8. Getting HSUS involved in this is a huge mistake. They have a history of supporting BSL & recommended the killing of Pits, even nursing puppies. They constantly spread misinformation & outright lies. Their comments just add fuel to the fire.

  9. hsus lists all this crap about a dog’s propensity to bite (and it is crap) but what I would like to know is when are people ever going to accept their own responsibility? Is a dog never allowed to defend itself? Who can predict what/when a person will do something that would provoke any animal to a defense mechanism? Everybody wants to be so worried about a child getting bit. I have always wanted to know just where the hell was that child’s parents while that child was getting bit? If they allowed their child into a situation that could result in injury, isn’t that child neglect? Oh no, well, let’s just kill the dog and that problem is solved. I ain’t buyin’ it….I know that’s the way it usually goes, but not on my watch.

    My first husband took our oldest with him to his parents house. I told him to be sure and watch the child around the dog. (Tied up and teased by neighbor kids). Dummie me – my fault, of course the idiot didn’t keep an eye on him. Of course the child did something he shouldn’t-hit the dog(a chow) with a rotten stick- and of course, nearly got his face ripped off. Was that the dog’s fault? Who could say that dog had a propensity for biting? Not me. Coming home from the emergency room I even pointed out a ‘puppy’ along the road to distract the child from his discomfort, he liked dogs, at about 2 1/2 3 years old he didn’t know hitting with a rotten stick was such a bad idea. I was ticked at dad and myself for thinking dad would watch him close enough. Should that dog be killed? I didn’t think so. I had my son apologize to the dog for hitting him. It appeared apology was accepted and they were friends. I also made sure that child was never in that situation again.

    Raising dogs I have come across many, many situations where I trusted my dogs more than I trusted the people. But it is always the dog’s fault or the dog owners fault. Even when people do things that would spark a defense reacton in any animal.

    1. Completely agree. And take my dog, for ex. Not a pitbull, but a yorkie. She started developing cataracts and they got worse and worse as she got older until she passed away (RIP). She would never hurt a fly earlier in her life, but once she developed cataracts, she started getting more defensive and yippie because she had to defend herself (think if you were almost blind and then someone touched you, unexpectedly). So dogs can bite for all sorts of reasons, not just because they are one breed or one reason or another (and no, my dog never bit anyone seriously or pretty much anyone but me).

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