I devoted my entire professional career to working with individuals stigmatized by drug addiction. Yet during that time I saw the pendulum swing from addiction being treated as a moral weakness to the disease-based model backed by science. I'm now witnessing a similar evolution in my volunteer work with an animal rescue group that over the years has become very familiar with pit bulls.
The recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision designating all pit bull type dogs as inherently dangerous is based on myths, not facts. There is no scientific evidence that one kind of a dog is more likely to bite or injure a human being than another.
The stigma associated with pit bulls is so deeply entrenched in our society that the scientific evidence debunking the myths is ignored. What should not be ignored, however, is the fact that any dog is only as dangerous as its owner allows it to be, and the owner should suffer the consequence, not the dog.
Because of this ruling, many cherished family pit bull type dogs will lose their families, homes and maybe even their lives — not because they did anything wrong but simply because they were born as pit bulls in the state of Maryland.