Thursday, July 16, 2009

help 9th ward dogs -- it only takes a minute!

There has, of late, been talk of various sorts of breed specific legislation (BSL) at the local and state level in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana. Now, whether or not you support BSL (D9 does NOT, but that's a topic for a different day), I don't think it can be denied that folks' ability to correctly identify dog breeds is essential to the success of any BSL efforts.

Consider: even if you argue that, in court, an "expert" would decide whether the dog was, in fact, a member of the breed in question, there is yet a myriad of difficulties. First, what is an "expert"? Who decides what an "expert" is? Then, if the "expert" only gets involved after a potential law suit is underway, that seems to mean that law enforcement officials, animal control workers, etc, will potentially have to deal with a huge number of cases of incorrect identification, thus potentially using up additional holding spaces in animal control facilities and subjecting all parties, human and canine, to tremendous costs. Consider: I can't count how many times my parents' pure bred, fawn (tannish brown) boxer has been mistaken for a pit bull. Now, if pit bulls were made illegal in an area, and everyone who thought my parents' dog was a pit called animal control about it, animal control would be literally flooded with complaints -- even though to anyone who knows boxers (or pits!), it is incredibly obvious that he's not a pit bull.

I, personally, believe that people are, in general, incredibly bad at identifying dog breeds. Consider that my St. Bernard, Remy, who weighs 170 pounds and has long, primarily white hair, has been mistaken for a boxer, a Dalmation, and -- yes! -- a Clumber Spaniel.

I would like to see if I can get further evidence to back up my belief that people can't ID dog breeds. To that end, I've created an online dog breed ID quiz. I can see the results, and it is quick and easy to take: no registration, just click the link below and go! And besides -- come on, online quizzes are a classic guilty pleasure, right? You'll get to see how you did and read explanations of any wrong answers. Please take the quiz and help me -- and dogs across Louisiana -- out!

Go here to take it:

Check out the pictures below: the first picture is, of course, Pauline, the 8 month old pit bull; the second picture is my parents' 9-year-old boxer, Vexie; and the third is my 7-year-old Saint Bernard, Remy. Believe it or not, those three have all gotten mixed up!




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