According to a study of dog owners, people who own vicious and dangerous dogs, like pit bulls, have significantly more criminal convictions than the owners of tamer breeds. A vicious dog was defined as a breed that, without provocation, has killed or seriously injured a person, killed a dog, or was a pit bull. It excluded guard dogs and law enforcement canines.
Could this be used as a new form of profiling? (Continued below the fold….)
The study included 355 dog owners in Ohio, and was published in the Dec edition of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The results showed that 30% of people who owned a vicious breed and had been cited at least once for failure to register it, had at least five criminal convictions of traffic citations; compared to only 1% of gentler breed owners who licensed their dogs.
“Owners of vicious dogs who have been cited for failing to register a dog (or) failing to keep a dog confined on the premises … are more than nine times more likely to have been convicted for a crime involving children, three times more likely to have been convicted of domestic violence … and nearly eight times more likely to be charged with drug (crimes) than owners of low-risk licensed dogs,” said Jaclyn Barnes of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The explanation for their results seems unsurprising: aggressive people may choose to own aggressive pets.
“One can argue that choosing to own a vicious dog is a marker of social deviance because a vicious dog is, by definition, a socially deviant animal,” said Barbara Boat, director of The Childhood Trust at the University of Cincinnati, who worked on the study. “We suggest, regardless of dog breed, that failure to license a dog is a potential warning sign of other deviant behavior,” they wrote.
Full-text article here.