Pitiful Excuses

Zoe Gilpin

Everyone loves dogs, right? A little dachshund or golden retriever is a huge source of joy and entertainment for so many people. However, thanks to current laws and media representation, the mere mention of a breed is enough to get people scared. This breed is the pit bull. 

BSL, or Breed Specific Legislation is an anti-pit bull ordinance set in place in 2004. The official summary of City Code 7-141 / 7-149 (BSL) states “No resident shall(…) possess a pit bull dog within the city limits of Salina, Kansas. Violations may result in seizure of the dog(s), a fine of $2,500, and/or by imprisonment up to one year.”

The question of the validity of banning a specific breed is still in the air. What makes one breed more aggressive than another? Dog care provider Misty Heller has an answer. “I hate to say that a breed of dog acts more aggressively than another,” Heller said. “I have seen small dogs attack and give stitches to someone like a large one can.” 

Heller has input in what to spot in a possibly aggressive-acting dog. “It’s all about learning the signals if a dog is about to strike. If their hair is standing on their back and you can see the white in their eyes and all of their teeth are showing, they are acting aggressive and are, for sure, going to bite. If they are in a play bow, they are being friendly,” Heller said.

Kim Cunningham is a Salina citizen who has been working against the ban since its inception. “There was an accident in which a little girl was hurt. People, of course, were very upset, so they went up and banned these dogs,” Cunningham said. “Even the parents of the little girl were not in favor of this ban.”

 Throughout her fight to repeal this ban, she has seen what can happen to owners over the ban itself. “This ban has broken up families. The shelter has taken away dogs that have nothing in relation to the pit bull,” Cunningham said. “Someone spent hundreds of dollars to get her dog back, and prove that her dog was a cane corso.”

Despite all of the instances they were taken, there is no real method anyone is taking to distinguish pit bulls from similar-looking breeds.“We’re judging these dogs only on how they look, and the so-called experts on this are from the animal shelter. They do no real tests to find out if they are really pit bulls, and take them anyways,” Cunningham said. “You better be 110% careful with your dog.” 

Senior Elizabeth Collins is a Central High school student who works with dogs constantly, and knows some of the ins and outs of different dog breeds.“This breed of dog, is probably one of the sweetest dogs that I have ever worked with. They are always so good and well behaved. they love to smile, and they love attention,” Collins said. “The ban to me is totally absurd; it is the owners choice how the dog acts. It is not the breed of the dog.”


Marlie Coleman

“this ban has broken up families. You better be 110% careful with your dog.””

— Dog Care professional Kim Cunningham