It seems that almost any time that there is a story about a city considering passing a ban on breeds of dogs, it doesn't take long before a (generally anonymous) commenter shoots out a statistic that is made to seem like it's a compelling argument for passing breed bans. It generally goes something like this:
"Over 600 communites across the country have passed policies banning pit bulls."
As if the number is supposed to encourage more cities to pass breed bans. But is 600 accurate? If it is, is it a lot?
First of all, the number 600 is a bit debatable. Seems like the number 600 is a popular number to use in myths.
The National Canine Research Council estimates the number to be closer to 300. I've seen how the pit bull haters have arrived at the 600 number and it contains a lot of errors, (including the failure to take out a lot of repeals, and several bans that were overturned by statewide legislation) and essentially takes any county-wide ban and then groups dozens of small communities in the county in order to rack up numbers very quickly.
The real number is probably somewhere in the middle of these two numbers. But for the sake of argument, let's go with the 600 juristictions that have BSL. Does this make a compelling argument?
Not if you're good at math.
So if we do a little math, if the 600 is the number of juristictions that have breed-specific laws, that means that only 2.6% of the total juristictions have breed-specific laws. It's 3.1% if you assume that their inflated number includes just cities. And keep in mind, the 600 number is the high end of a debatable number.
This means that an overwhelming -- and I mean OVERWHELMING -- number of cities and counties have made the decision to target laws toward dogs based on the BEHAVIOR of the dogs and owners, not based on breed.
This 3% number of cities with breed-specific laws is pretty telling. That's small. To put this in perspective, 18% of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. So yes, you're 6x as likely that a random person you meet with think the Sun revolves around the Earth as you are to pick a random city or town and they target breeds of dogs.
And both ideas are equally as silly.
Last month, Animal Farm Foundation had a nice info-graphic showing the realities that most communities that look into breed-specific laws end up listening to experts in their community and deciding AGAINST breed-specific laws in favor of behavior based laws. Many other communities are realizing the mistakes of the past and repealing their laws. This is great, as far as it goes, but doesn't take into consideration that most cities never really discuss the idea because they realize it's a bad idea without any debate.
So let's put this in perspective. More than 97% of law-making juristictions out there have not decided to single out breeds. Regardless of the anonymous fear-mongers try to convey, it is not the popular option.
Truth, and knowledge, do generally win out.