- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2013

The same week that the White House opened its doors to a new first family addition, a Portuguese water dog named Sunny, President Obama gave his thumbs-up to a petition to prevent local bodies from banning certain breeds deemed dangerous.

The local laws, called Breed Specific Legislation, are aimed at keeping community residents safe from overly aggressive animals. Mr. Obama made known his objections to the laws in a response posting to a petition by We The People, the online channel for Americans to make known certain policy positions and solicit response from the White House, Time reported.

The White House wrote: “We don’t support breed-specific legislation. Research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bits and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.”

Mr. Obama’s view is that “a community-based approach” to ensuring citizens’ safety from animals is the better way to go.

“Ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners,” his statement said.

We The People’s terms only call for the White House to respond to a petition when 100,000 have signed. The petition calling for a federal ban on breed-specific legislation only had 30,000 signatures at the time of the administration’s response, Time reported.

The White House’s stance is at odds with hundreds of local governments across the nation — as well as the U.S. military — that have enacted the laws.

The Marine Corps has bans on “large dog breeds with a predisposition toward aggressive or dangerous behavior” — including but not limited to pit bulls — from on-base housing, the text of the rule reads. Many bases for the Air Force, Army and Navy have enacted similar bans.

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