Local News

Cumberland animal shelter considers 'bully breed' adoption ban

Posted December 5, 2011

— Cumberland County officials are considering halting adoptions of so-called "bully breeds" of dogs that are linked with frequent attacks on people and other animals.

The county's Animal Control Advisory Board discussed the issue Monday night. Any policy change would have to be approved by the county Board of Commissioners.

The idea has created a backlash among animal rescue groups, and even Cumberland County Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby said he considers it ill-advised.

"I have never said I wanted to ban a breed or any specific breed, and the reason is I know from statistics (that) banning breeds doesn't work," Lauby said.

He said he would prefer to do more screening of people upfront to ensure breeds like rottweilers, pit bulls and chows are going to people who know how to care for them and won't use them for breeding or allow them to roam freely.

But Cristóbal Berry-Cabán, chairman of the animal control board, said the animal shelter doesn't have the resources to check up on all potential adopters. He said the shelter would try to send such breeds to rescue groups, but if no group can be found to take the dogs, the shelter would have to kill them.

The Cumberland County Animal Shelter kills about 1,000 animals a month.

Lauby said he has gotten death threats since word of the adoption ban surfaced, even though he doesn't support it.

Pit bull in shelter Limiting adoptions of some dog breeds creates backlash

"I have 15,000 emails waiting for me," he said.

"I think it's the craziest thing I've ever heard," Shelby Townsend, director of advocacy group Unchain Cumberland County, said of the proposed ban. "It's not going to happen. People aren't going to stand for that. It's not the bully breeds that are the problem; it's the people who own them."

County Commissioner Charles Evans said he won't support a breed-specific kill policy at the shelter if the idea comes to the Board of Commissioners for approval.

"I don't think that's sensible, to simply euthanize all these animals," Evans said. "No, we can't do that. We can't do that."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Vietnam Vet Dec 8, 2011

    I owned a female Rottweiler for 15 years until I had to put her down due to "old age". The sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most loving dog you could ever want. It's not the breed folks!! It's the way the dog is raised. Any dog, of any breed, and of any size can be raised to be viscious. Blame the owner, not the dog.

  • PokeyGirl Dec 8, 2011

    As the old and very true adage goes, "There are no bad dogs, just bad owners."

  • vrichardson90 Dec 7, 2011

    Any dog can be vicious, my nephew adopted two abused pit bulls and with love and affection turned these dogs into loving and protective dogs! They are extremely affectionate as well as great protection because of their looks.I have a pitbull chow mix that plays with my pomeranian/chihuahua mix! People make these dogs what they become, whether accidentally or on purpose. Love, affection and proper treatment still can win out! As previously stated, DON'T BLAME THE DOG, LOOK AT THE OWNER, especially at previously owned dogs. We train them, they don't train themselves!

  • barbstillkickin Dec 7, 2011

    I would also like to say it is not the dog's breed it is how they are raised. Pitt Bulls, German Shepard's, Rottweilers are all bully dogs if trained to be. Please do not blame the animals breed blame the owner. I had a mix breed that was very very protective but I never taught her to be mean and she was not mean unless you put out a aura that made her feel you could be a threat. She never bit a person but I knew she might so it was my job to keep her away from any opportunity she could have to bite some one. AGAIN THAT IS THE OWNERS RESPONSIBILITY NOT THE DOGS.

  • barbstillkickin Dec 7, 2011

    This is the smartest idea I have heard in a while. I really think the person who wants to adopt a bully dog and that does not just include Pit Bulls but more breeds then that should have to be checked out even going as far as going to the home. Talking to neighbors and maybe even looking at past pets and if this is the first pet then it should not even be allowed. I went to adopt my animals and was ask who my vet was and they called to see if we were good owners which we are of course and we did not even adopt bully dogs. This one guy was going to adopt a Pitt Bull but told them he never owned a dog before because he did not want them to check with the vet. This is why if they can not be proven to be good owners then they should not be allowed to adopt. This guy told me to tell them I never owned a dog before but I had no reason to lie.

  • mmtlash Dec 6, 2011

    don't punish the breed of dogs, it's the folks who are the problem

  • saywhaaaaat Dec 6, 2011

    I am an owner of three pitbulls and a toy chihuahua. I can tell you from experiance that my toy chihuahua is a whole lot sassier and meaner than my pitbulls put together. Dido -queene01- Its not the animal, its the owner.

  • queene01 Dec 6, 2011

    Part of this discrimination is the media's fault. When they do a story, if it's a pitbull that attacked they always say "Pitbull attacks child" If it's another breed... it may be down a few lines on the website and may say "Dog bites dog" Why not put the breed in all headlines?

  • queene01 Dec 6, 2011

    It's not the dogs, it is the owners. Did you hear about Brayden McCollen who was killed by his family Labrador dog? or what about Liam Peck that was killed by the pet dog that was a Weimaraner? Or what about Zane Earles that was killed by his Labrador retriever? Heres a good one for you...Addison Sonney who was killed by a tiny old english sheep dog?
    BSL does not work- period. It doesn't address the real problem, it's just sweeping the problem under the rug.

  • suncat Dec 6, 2011

    Here's an idea...let's pass a law requiring owners of dogs to be certified as responsible owners before they can own a dog. You take a class on how to properly care for and obedience train a dog, what veterinary care will be required and what laws you may be subject to in the event of your dog attacking someone or destroying another person's property (including the injury or death of another person's pet). Then you take a brief test to see if you understand the basics of pet ownership. If you pass you get a certificate stating that you may own or purchase a dog. If your dog causes a problem, is picked up by animal control, etc., you must present this certificate to prove that you have the right to won this animal. The certificate would also have a space for your veterinarian to put in the date the dog was neutered and and a picture of the dog. No certificate and the dog is confiscated by animal control. Maybe this would lessen the problem of irresponsible pet ownership.