Alex O'Brien

News

Fri, 19 Jun, 2015

Dog racism incident as building in NYC bans dogs based on breed

Dog racism incident as building in NYC bans dogs based on breed

It seems that even our dogs are not exempt from prejudice and racism these days. A NYC upper-west side apartment building has recently put forward a policy that aims to dictate which breeds of dogs can and cannot reside in the building.

First implemented in 2011, this policy now requires both a DNA test and vet certification proving the breed of the dog, aiming to exclude breeds deemed most “aggressive.” Among the list of 27 vetoed breeds are pit bulls, German shepherds, Maltese, shih-zu, Pomeranians and Saint Bernards.

One of the more obvious problems with this proposition is that DNA tests aren’t always dependable: “I would need to see the data supporting how foolproof the DNA reports are for mixes,” canine researcher Dr. Caroline Coile said, via Refinery29. “In their early days, at least, they were not very reliable.” As the 27 breed-long list only includes the most common of breeds, this could mean that eventually, other similar dog varieties may be at risk. “If you ban a Mastiff, what about a Boerboel?” posed Coile.

This also poses the question of nature vs. nurture. Can a dog’s lineage be to blame for their level of aggressiveness? According to Coile, it can: “Yes, dogs of different breeds do have a tendency to act according to their genetic heritage. After all, that's the whole idea behind breeding for a function.” Still, the canine expert added, “I can't imagine that they have come up with 27 breeds that are so onerous that they must be banned. Maltese? Really? Maybe they are including barking, in which case they are not banning nearly enough.”

Related links:

9 rescue dogs that finally have a bed of their own

Dog people vs cat people: what your pet preference says about you 

“I think adopting a pet is the only option. Here’s why.”