Monday, September 3, 2012

The DNA of a Pit Bull

It is complicated because there are so many different variants and cross-breeds that would require genetics testing for any bylaw to hold up in court.
Paul Stanton, Director of Planning and Development, White Rock BC

* * * * *

To: Paul Stanton
      Councillors & Managers of White Rock, BC

The recent attack on Emma-Leigh Cranford has renewed calls for tighter restrictions on pit bulls in BC. Communities in Canada and the US face a growing menace from fighting breeds, especially pit bulls. The advocates of fighting breeds use every tool at their disposal to deter communities from protecting their citizens with Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Among their most effective tools is the threat of genetics testing for canines, which would hypothetically create a financial burden and legal logjam for communities.

This hypothetical burden will never materialize. Serious consideration of genetic testing peaked a couple years ago and has since faded.  How to Build a Dog (by Evan Ratliff in the National Geographic, Feb 2012) complicated matters further. Ratliff discusses recent research which shows that all dog breeds, from Great Danes to Dachshunds, share practically the same genetic makeup. According to Ratliff, the DNA of a pit bull is nearly similar to the DNA of a Yorkshire Terrier. DNA tests can identify some markers for certain breeds in mixed-breed dogs, but little else. Sara Chisnell-Voigt, the United Kennel Club's legal counsel, recently said she
. . .. does not know of any court that would accept a DNA test to prove a dog’s breed. Cory Smith, senior director of Pets for Life of the Humane Society of the United States, said DNA testing will never be 100 percent reliable. -- The Washington Post  (Aug 28) 
SRUV has previously written on the subject of breed identification, notably in our letter to the Animals and Society Institute.

* * * * *


Miss Universe Canada joins call to restrict pit bulls
    (Vancouver Sun)
Dog-attack victims share universal bond 
   (Peace Arch News)
Pit bull attacks spur renewed call for ban 
   (Vancouver Sun)

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in Canada
Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US