New York State Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan of Newburgh, a retired state trooper, recently introduced legislation that would prevent people with felony drug convictions from owning dogs such as pit bulls and Rottweilers. The legislation would prevent such individuals from owning any dog that weighs more than 20 pounds "that has either been trained to physically attack persons or has exhibited a vicious disposition or propensity."
In his own words, the assemblyman said these dogs are clearly the drug dealer's choice. In substantiating his rationale, Kirwan, a Republican from Orange County, surmised that "once someone has been convicted of a drug crime, there is no reason why a rational society should let him have a dog like this."
Kirwan's misguided attempt to safeguard the public is just one in a long line of moronic policies to come out of America's failed drug war. Get busted smoking a joint and students lose their federal financial aid. Get slapped with a simple drug possession charge and you and your family can get kicked out of public housing. The war on drugs is a vicious, dirty war that punitively punishes individuals for getting high -- the same type of high you can get from a martini or two.
I was convicted of a nonviolent drug crime 24 years ago. If Assemblyman Kirwan has his way, I will not be able to own a dog weighing more than 20 pounds! Kirwan is running for re-election this year. We need leaders in Albany that are sensible. It's time for the people to speak out against politicians like Kirwan who long to be dog catchers instead of effective politicians who seek to represent the people in meaningful ways.