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In the Middle or on the Outs: Pit Bulls in Maryland

A pit bull at the Montgomery County Humane Society

But statistics can be misleading, says Stephanie Shain, a director for The Humane Society of the United States. She says the bite numbers should not be used as the basis for breed banning. "Unfortunately, the problem dog at any given time is often the most popular breed among individuals who tend to be irresponsible, if not abusive, in the control of their pets. Simply put, if you ban one breed, individuals will simply move on to another one," she says.

Some politicians have disagreed, arguing the merits of a breed ban. Prince George's County has a pit bull ban in place. The Baltimore City Council narrowly rejected a pit bull ban, 10-8, in mid-May. A pit bull ban is awaiting action by a D.C. City Council committee.

And State Delegate Charles R. Boutin, a Harford County Republican, this year introduced a statewide bill to ban the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier, as well as other breeds with their physical characteristics. "I can't have a cheetah. I can't have a leopard. It just seems like we shouldn't have these things," Capital News Service quoted Boutin as saying in February. However, Boutin would later soften his position and withdraw his bill.

Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


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