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Proposed Michigan law bans pit bulls; aims to reduce dog bites

When people think about dogs, they usually consider the animals to be somewhere between man's best friend and ruthless hunters. Generally, that is probably a fair way to label them. However, there are some dog breeds that consistently fall closer to the "ruthless hunters" label.

In Michigan, one lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would outlaw owning or breeding pit bulls in the state. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pit bulls have a higher percentage of dog bites than other breeds of dogs.

By focusing on three breeds of pit bulls, the lawmaker hopes that in 10 years, Michigan will be free of pit bulls. The new legislation targets American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire bull terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers.

If the legislation passes, pit bulls will be outlawed gradually. One year after the bill becomes a law, breeding pit bulls or breeding another with a pit bull would be illegal. Four years after it becomes a law, individuals would not be allowed to own pit bulls unless the dogs have been sterilized. Finally, once the law has been in effect for 10 years, it would be illegal to own pit bulls or any dog that had been bred with a pit bull.

Some lawmakers have already started debating whether it is the breed of dog or its upbringing that causes it to be aggressive. Regardless of what they decide, hopefully they will be able to reach a conclusion that leads to fewer innocent people falling victim to fatal dog bites.

Source: The Michigan Messenger, "Lawmaker introduces bill to outlaw pitbulls in Michigan," Todd A. Heywood, 9 June 2011

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