DNA Test Saves Dog's Life

 |  Sep 14th 2009  |   7 Contributions


In Salina, KS breed specific legislation (BSL) was passed in 2005 which bans owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull. If a pit bull is found it can be removed from the owner and either put down or possibly re-homed outside Salina.

Pit bull is a term commonly used to describe several breeds of dog, many breed-specific laws use the term "pit bull" to refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and dogs with significant mixes of these breeds.

Recently a dog named Lucey was almost put down due to mistaken identity. It all began when Angie Cartwright was pet-sitting for her brother and his dog got loose. Animal control officers picked up the dog and when he was returned saw Lucey.

The officers thought she looked like a pit bull and told Cartwright they were taking her in for testing, a DNA test. I found it interesting that they offered that option, as you'll see in a minute it can be a lifesaving test.

Here are the details from KansasCity.com.

PAN_Pet_DNA_Ober_09-14-2009_P01BHE7M.embedded.prod_affiliate.81Today, Lucey is home, and Cartwright credits a genetic test kit that helps pet owners identify the heritage of their mixed-breed dogs.

The test found that a minor amount of Luceys DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes a little more than 12 percent, not close to a predominant percentage.

Without the test results, Cartwright and her family would have been faced with finding Lucey a home outside Salina, or leaving her at the animal shelter where she would be destroyed.

I am personally against BSL because I don't think it solves the real issue, bad owners and bad breeders. This case is just one more reason it scares me, Lucey was taken away on the assumption she had bit bull in her. If it weren't for the the DNA test wh0 knows what would have happened. I am impressed the time was taken to find out what breed(s) she really was. I have no idea if all places that have BSL test like this, but they should. I also wonder if the test cost is charged to the owner, it isn't an inexpensive test, usually about $140.

Interesting enough, the test showed the largest amount (25%) of Lucey's DNA was Bernese mountain dog. She had no more than 12.5 percent each of bull terrier DNA, boxer, and Staffordshire bull terrier.

You can't judge a dog by its cover.

*Pic courtesy Tom Dorsey

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