LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners Tuesday discussed whether to remove breed labels from city animal shelters.

The proposal, introduced by two commissioners, is meant to encourage more people to adopt pit bulls.

“There is a stigma against pit bull terriers and breeds of that nature,” said Michelle Sathe of Best Friends Animal Society. “Best Friends believes every dog, every pet is an individual, and it’s not based on breed or looks.”

Phyllis Daugherty, Director of Animal Services Movement, opposes removing breed labels on kennels, especially for pit bulls.

“Pit bulls have a very high rate of attack and high rate of killing people and animals. We cannot dispute that,” Daugherty said. “The problem is they are an unpredictable breed. They are genetically geared and wired to attack. That’s what they were bred for.”

Sam Spirer disagreed. He and his wife adopted their third one from the shelter Tuesday night.

“If you have a nice family and the dog is raised right, they’re going to behave correctly; they’re going be friendly. But if they’re in a bad environment, they’re being used for fighting or anything like that, then that’s kind of where they get their bad rap.”

The Spirers have no problem with a pit bull being identified as a pit bull.

“Even though a pit bull is a mix of all bully breeds, it’s still kind of good for them to have a name. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing,” Spirer added.

The issue will be visited again at City Hall on Sept. 26.

Comments (22)
  1. John Zolis says:

    Phillis you’re a closed minded bigot who promotes misinformation and false facts –
    Undisputed? Only if you’re debating a tinfoil hat wearing DBO cult member!

    1. Drinkin the best friends koolaid there I see Zolis. Studies published by many US hospitals, including one by Mayo Clinic and a Phoenix Hospital, and a five year study by CHOP, but sure, keep raving about DBO:-p

    2. Harve Morgan says:

      For your information, that DBO group has managed to get anti-BSL legislation throw out in almost every state that put it on the table, for the last 4 years. That DBO group is now quoted most often in the media. That DBO group is dedicated to educating the public of how dangerous the breed is. Only twice have citizens been given a voice in the voting booth about pit bulls, Miami and Aurora Co. Both cities voted overwhelmingly against letting the breed in their cities. DBO represents thousands of victims of bully breeds. There are support groups for those whose children face years of reconstructive surgeries. I suppose you criticize other groups that represent victims, right? Not just DBO I’m sure.

  2. If only the commissioners would also meet to discuss replacing Brenda Barnette, the joke who doesn’t take dangerous dogs or her employees safety seriously. Any idiot off the street could run LA shelters better than she has.

  3. This article is exactly correct. How many lives need to be sacrificed at the altar of the fighting breeds? A few mentally ill/pit profiteers are putting the rest of the community in grave danger. You can’t TRAIN out the genetics of fight-to-death that pit fighting dogs were created for. Why is it that of the other 300+ breeds of non-pit fighting dogs do not need “re-labeling”? How does the relabeling square with the “rescues” and “Hero-Pit Bull” stories? The Best Friend Society is the Alex Jones of the pit profiteering mentally ill cult followers. Scary times.

  4. Good idea. Too many times a dog is labeled a pit bull, and random DNA testing has proven more times than not, the dog has none of the pit bull breeds in it. I have a dog that was labeled a pit bull mix as a puppy, but it turns out he is a Weimaraner, Lab, Akita, Rottweiler mix with a DNA test. Many people rejected this dog for adoption, based on his label, which was incorrect, and if I didn’t adopt him, it could be very possible, that no one did, and he could have been euthanized. That is a rotten way not to get adopted. Besides that, pit bull breeds have proven to be just fine dogs, and not different than owning a German Shepherd or Doberman. It is the owner that makes a dog what it is, by how that dog is raised, treated, and socialized. If pit bulls were naturally vicious dogs, the police or military would not use them, and the police and military are using pit bulls more and more.

    1. Harve Morgan says:

      LOL, you really believe that propaganda? Animal Farm has managed to buy into a handful of police departments with a sniffer dog. The military? NO. They don’t put pits in the canine corp. Even the Wisdom Panel, the largest of DNA testing, doesn’t test for pit bull. Again you try to distort what is really true. Never, ever will TLC and training overcome genetics, didn’t they teach you that in high school? And the genetics of the pit is to kill.

      1. Not going to debate with a biased pit bull hater, but will set you straight. Pit bulls are used as police and military dogs, and some of the most celebrated hero dogs are pit bulls. Many veterans also use pit bulls as police dogs. As far as genetics, pit bulls are working dogs, do they have high drive and desire to please. If what you say is true, millions of people would die by pit bulls annually, and that just isn’t the case at all. That means that two of my pit bulls would kill each other and my Weimaraner/Lab mix, plus my cat. Plus, my family would have been attacked at certain points in time. So, what you say is not true at all, and no reliable canine expert agrees with you. I’ll take it from the experts, but thanks.

  5. Setting up well meaning people to fail is not advocacy. Most of us can identify pit bulls in any case, they are the stars of media reports about dog attacks.

    Most of the dogs that are involved in serious and fatal attacks are family pets, most of them are pit bull type dogs.


  6. Why not address the underlying problem of why shelters are overrun with pits, the indiscriminate overbreeding! There needs to be mandatory spay/neutering on these dogs. Stop breeding them!

  7. Wonderful decision! As to many of the comments here (at least the ones I can see), it is obvious from the names that a link to this article was placed in the anit-pit bull activist sites and the minions released. Why, I know for a fact that four ‘people’ commenting are really the same person using different profiles.

    1. Harve Morgan says:

      Yeah, you would think it’s a good decision since you don’t have the good enough sense to come in from a shower of rain.

    2. Johnny Brist says:

      So it’s a wonderful decision to deprive people of their right to know what breed they may be potentially adopting? Do you also not like your food to have ingredient labels, or you car baby seat to be safety inspected? Sick nutter go home!!

  8. What Best Friends claims is a stigma is actually a healthy skepticism and discernment against pit bull phenotypes:

    “Some states and cities have acted on the research: The state of Maryland has determined that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” and all owners are liable for any injuries they cause, according to the Baltimore Sun.

    Even the U.S. Army has acknowledged that pit bulls are high-risk dogs; they are therefore prohibited in some military housing units.

    Pit bulls join several other breeds on the list of dogs that are recognized as more likely to attack and cause significant injury: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data and found the following breeds are implicated in a majority of dog-bite fatalities:

    Pit bulls
    German shepherds
    Wolf hybrids
    Doberman pinschers
    Saint Bernards
    Great Danes

    It’s worth noting that no matter how these data are arranged — mixed breeds versus pure breeds, injuries versus fatalities — pit bulls consistently rank at the top of the list for attacks, and by a wide margin. (Rottweilers generally rank a distant second.)”


    1. The Maryland law you refer to has long since been overturned. It barely last 2 years – if that. Either you are intentionally misleading people or you nowhere near as informed on the subject as you like to think you are.

      “On Thursday, the House of Delegates passed a bill that undoes Tracey v. Solesky, a controversial 2012 ruling under which pit bulls and pit bull mixes were declared to be “inherently dangerous” by Maryland’s highest court — and which held that not only are these dogs’ owners “strictly liable” for any attacks, but, unusually, so are the owners’ landlords.”

      “Breed Specific Legislation has consistently failed in communities around the world. It has no quantifiable impact on a decrease in dog bites or an increase in public safety,” said longtime advocate Lisa LaFontaine, president of the Washington Humane Society.

      In fact breed discriminatory legislation is being repealed left and right. At least 17 states prohibit it at the state level. ALL owners should be responsible – no matter the breed. ALL victims matter – no matter the breed.


      1. you also conveniently leave out what the CDC specifically says about breed in the study you reference. let me refresh your memory…
        “A CDC study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years (Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998). It does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.”

        further the conclusion of the CDC study:
        “Although fatal attacks on humans appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers), other breeds may bite and cause fatalities at higher rates. Because of difficulties inherent in determining a dog’s breed with certainty, enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional and practical issues. Fatal attacks represent a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and, therefore, should not be the primary factor driving public policy concerning dangerous dogs. Many practical alternatives to breed-specific ordinances exist and hold promise for prevention of dog bites.”

        the cdc no longer collects breed data as it was proven over and over to be unreliable.

        again you are either intentionally misrepresenting the CDC’s results and its stance on breed discriminatory legislation or you are painfully ignorant. either way your are not remotely credible.

  9. I don’t understand the need for labeling them, nor some of the ridiculous comments about fooling people by not labeling them. It’s not as though people are ordering them through a catalogue, sight unseen. I have both worked at a shelter and adopted through shelters several times. You go through the kennel area, see the dogs, choose the ones you want to meet, once you’ve met them, you pick the one that you connect with.

  10. You have heard of “Throwing Christians to the Lions”? Now we have “Throwing LA citizens to the Pit Bulls!”

  11. Ojisan says:

    Any and all breeds can be vicious. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are just dogs, very loyal dogs. Too many innocent people and innocent dogs have paid a heavy price because of cruel people that raise these breeds to be aggressive. The laws should be treated as not only animal cruelty but public safety and weapons violations.

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