Why dogs bite

Posted March 3rd, 2014 in Uncategorized by isaac

LionDogs bite. Also, you should never slap a lion in the face. Why? Read on!

This week the House had on its agenda SB 75, which would require that city ordinances regarding dog ownership apply to all dogs, and not single out a specific breed.

We all want safe neighborhoods, and most everyone agrees habitually bad owners should be banned from having any dogs, but the evidence presented to me in committee showed that breed-neutral ordinances will encourage public safety and prevent good dog owners from being unfairly targeted because someone misidentified their dog’s breed, or a bad owner across town had a similar breed of dog.

While pit bulls have gained a reputation for being tenacious and powerful, there are some compelling reasons why we should pause before we strip away the property rights of our upstanding neighbors you’ve never heard about, precisely because they are responsible and loving dog owners.

First, it turns out most people cannot correctly identify a pit bull from a lineup of dogs, so many vicious dogs get labeled pit bills when in fact they are not. Second, while pit bulls are generally strong dogs, some are bred to be more aggressive while others are not, and they have wide variations in personality. Third, there are many vicious dogs, dog breeds, and terrible dog owners who are untouched by breed-specific regulations, while model citizens with zero incidents get slapped with very onerous rules that are sometimes impossible to comply with.

With breed neutral regulations, good owners won’t have to worry about being unable to stop in a certain city for the night while traveling (this happened to a friend of mine), paying to DNA test their dog because someone misidentified it, or having to move away because a neighbor across town had a similar looking dog that attacked someone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a dog owner, lover, or hater–I’m dog-neutral. I’ve been barked at, jumped on, and tongue-bathed by more dogs than I can count while going door to door, and rarely could I identify the actual breed.

Maybe next year we will pass a bill requiring dogs to be in the garage during election season, or perhaps more compatible with re-election, a law requiring politicians to carry dog treats when knocking on doors? Now I know you’re concerned about the extra expense I will incur, and I appreciate it–but don’t worry, it’ll be taxpayer funded!

But the bigger question is: WHY do dogs bite people? Why do snakes attack with deadly venom? Why does slapping a lion in the face so predictably result in your imminent death? Instead of peace, there is enmity and strife between animals and humans, as well as among them. We humans have killed each other by the millions because of greed, selfishness, and pride.

The problem is sin. It is the root cause of war, disease, and death. And it’s not learned, we’re born with it. No parent teaches their toddler to bite and claw their sister to get their way. Looking around we see the world is broken, and in the mirror we see that we are broken. Something inside tells us it shouldn’t be this way. But there is hope.

Jesus came and bore our sin on the cross, defeated death by rising from the dead, and is coming again to answer the question echoed by Sam in Lord of the Rings: “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Yes–the good news is that freedom from the clutches of sin and death is a free gift received by faith in Jesus, offered to all mankind! In the words of Jesus himself: “Behold, I make all things new.”

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