Earlier this summer we took a trip to Ireland. Sure we saw Virginia’s family farm and castle (seriously there was once a clan castle — 600 years ago), but we also visited several lodging facilities (based on what we saw there’s room for a Pet Camp Ireland location), played with several Irish Wolfhounds, and saw this amazing sign enforcing a kind of dog discrimination:
These 10 breeds (and their “crossbreeds”) must be kept on a short leash and muzzled; wear a collar with the name and address of the owner; and be under the control of someone over 16 years of age. Failure to comply results in almost a $150 on-the-spot fine. Most people simply walked by the sign, frankly it was hard to tell if anyone slowed down to read it and no one else took a picture of it.
We’ve heard all sorts of stories about pet parents running into issues with their homeowner insurance if they have a certain breed. Even in San Francisco, one of the most tolerant and inclusive places we know, we have breed specific legislation that requires the spaying or neutering of Pit Bulls.
So, is this type of government-sanctioned dog “discrimination” just the next step or is it something more? Is prejudging the behavior of a certain breed of dog what governments (or anyone else) should be doing or is the local government just acting as it sees best to protect overall health and welfare? Is there a way to protect the populace from a perceived danger without this kind of broad brush approach to dealing with dog breeds?