Santa Fe Scoop

New Mexico May Invoke "Dangerous Dog" Law - may be first step to ban pit bulls

I got this from a friend.  Please spread the word and call/email your legislators if you are so inclined.  (I called and it really is her home number) I've fostered many pit bulls for local shelters and they were extremely friendly and social dogs.  The most aggressive dog I ever fostered was a collie mix.  It is the HUMANs in the dog's life that most affects the dog's personality, not the breed.  The media spread the terror and misinformation.  How will they enforce this?  DNA breed tests?!  By looks?  Who is the judge?

Senator Sue Wilson Beffort of District 19, Bernalillo, is planning to ask the Governor to introduce draft legislation in the upcoming January session that will invoke a "Dangerous Dog" law wherein the definition of a "dangerous dog" includes "a pit bull" and" pit bull" means a dog that is an American pit bull terrier, an American Staffordshire terrier or a Staffordshire bull terrier or a dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of those breeds or exhibiting distinguishing characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established by the American kennel club or the united kennel club for any of those breeds; provided that "pit bull" does not include a dog that is registered with the American kennel club or the united kennel club as a purebred American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier;.

Fortunately, the proposed legislation does not go so far as to ban the pit bull, but defining the dog as "dangerous" is likely a first step in that direction and very...misguided (lots of other words come to mind, but I'll be polite). 

CALL and/or WRITE Senator Beffort and tell her you oppose this legislation!  Please don't think that others will do it..every phone call or email is counted and weighs heavily. Please call or write Governor Martinez and the Senator representating your district too. 

Senator Beffort:

Capitol Phone:  (505) 986-4395; Home (505) 292-7116 (this really is her home/cell number - I just called and best to call during business hours




Governor Martinez Phone:  505-476-2200


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Comment by Dave Vander on December 18, 2011 at 7:50pm

I have encountered a lot of pit pulls over the years and have never seen any of them do anything mean either.   The last two I met were the sweetest dogs ever.    I have had some bad encounters with german shepards (both as a kid and an adult), but never a pit bull. 

Comment by Julie L on December 15, 2011 at 8:24pm

Here was my email. 

Senator Beffort,

I care about New Mexicans, people and dogs, and I vote. 

I am vehemently opposed to the "dangerous dog" legislation you are planning on introducing in January.  I feel this legislation is terribly misguided because it assumes one breed is categorically vicious, when the real experts in this field who are the animal shelter workers for example, will tell you it is not the breed, but it is the training and human interaction the dog gets that will determine personality and temperament.

I have fostered 52 adult dogs for local animal shelters in New Mexico.  Many of them were pit bull or pit bull mixes and every one of them was exceptionally friendly and social.  The most aggressive dog I have fostered was actually a collie mix - he was a darker version of Lassie and he would lunge at people and children (sadly this collie was put down for aggression which was likely due to being left chained in a yard by himself all his life).

You say you have never heard of a mauling case other than a pit bull.  Have you seen photos of the dogs?  How will this be enforced?  By DNA tests?  By a breed expert the state hires?  Can you tell which dogs on this webpage are pit bulls?

I strongly encourage you to talk to people who work in the field of animal rescue who really know breeds and dogs.

Nina at Espanola Valley Humane Society would be an excellent local contact 505-753-8662. 

I understand the reaction to the attack on the woman in TorC, however a breed specific ban will not prevent this from happening again.

What I would like to see you and your fellow legislators do is pass stricter animal cruelty laws to better prevent people from neglecting animals, and to provide more places for people to be able to socialize and exercise our dogs.  Again, it is humans who create vicious and unsocial dogs, not the breed.


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