Regarded as dangerous pets by their detractors but loved for their assertive nature by their owners, pit bulls may find themselves banned from New York City.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Junior said that he wants to ban the canines, calling them a danger to public safety.
“Pit bulls are responsible for many, many attacks,” the Democrat said. “A parent on the street can’t protect their children, or themselves from this, what is actually a weapon.”
Vallone said that many gangs and criminals train pit bulls to be attack dogs.
The canines do account for 15 percent of animal attacks in the city. They are also among the most commonly abandoned, found in disproportionately high numbers at the city’s pet shelters.
But pit bull lovers said they don’t think pit bulls are inherently dangerous and that they don’t need to be banned.
Pedro Rosario, who owns four pit bulls and has worked at the Manhattan shelter and adoption center for more than a decade, said that the dogs’ temperament depends on how their owners raise them.
“With a responsible owner, this could be a great pet in the house,” Rosario said, as he sat in the shelter, ruffling the fur of one of the famously tough dogs.
Another pit bull owner, Greta Godoy, agreed with Rosario. “It all has to do with how you teach them, how you nurture them,” she said. “If you do abuse them they will become very aggressive.”
Vallone’s proposal would ban pit bulls from being sold or bred in the city. Current owners would be able to keep their pit bulls.
Other cities have placed similar bans on pit bulls — including Denver, Kansas City and Miami — after high-profile attacks involving the canines.