PetSmart is known for its work helping the animals through its PetSmart charities, but the organization’s discriminatory policy on “bully breeds” is troubling to some dog owners: No bully breeds are allowed in their “Doggie Day Camp.”
In an illuminating article on PetSmart’s policies, the Huffington Post’s Arin Greenwood detailed the uphill battle that bully breeds are facing – from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels to crucial upcoming votes on breed bans. And PetSmart’s policy certainly isn’t helping this misunderstood and maligned group of dogs.
PetSmart’s dog day camps are off-leash opportunities for play where dogs can socialize with one another and just be dogs…as long as they aren’t bully breeds. The organization’s policy states:
PetSmart’s policy is to not allow Bully breeds, or any mix of, or any pets that exhibit aggressive behaviors to participate in our Doggie Day Camp. We have received responses both for and against our policy, and can appreciate the sensitivities and deep emotions behind them.”
The organization states that bully breeds can visit the store on-leash and are “welcome in [their] grooming salons, training areas, PetsHotels, and stores,” but for the “safety of associates and other pets, they are excluded from the off-leash, group play activities within our Doggie Day Camps.”
The “safety of associates and other pets?”
PetSmart’s policy excludes the following dogs from their playgroups:
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- American Bulldogs
- Mixed breeds that have the appearance or characteristics of one of the above breeds
What message does this breed discrimination send? Even as animal advocates work to dispel myths about bully breeds, a major animal-related corporation is using a policy that only fosters fear and misinformation.
Breed discrimination and breed-specific legislation (BSL) are problematic, at best – enforcement relies upon a person’s subjective speculation of whether a dog’s physical characteristics look like a bully breed. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not support BSL, citing the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty in accurately identifying dog breeds.
Earlier this month, it was announced that a pit bull ban will remain in effect in the city of Enumclaw, Washington – despite feedback from the community asking for the ban to be lifted.
In Aurora, Colorado, voters will soon decide if pit bulls will finally be allowed within the city again. For eight years, Aurora has had a ban on pit bulls – but now, animal advocates are moving to quash that law. Proposition 2D, a measure to repeal the ban, is on the ballot for the upcoming November election – and it’s sparked a heated debate among not only the citizens of Aurora, but with animal advocates nationwide.
So what does PetSmart’s policy say about their true feelings about bully breeds? And do you agree with the policy – or is it blatant breed discrimination that benefits no one?
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