4 min read

Family's Dog Locked Up For A Year Because She Was The 'Wrong' Breed

Torn from her family and dispatched to a police kennel based on her perceived breed, Ice the not-actually-a-pit-bull walks free tomorrow.

She has been incarcerated for a year while British authorities weighed her fate.

Her crime? Pitbullism. Otherwise known as a dog "breed" banned in the U.K.

The thing is Ice isn't technically what the U.K. considers a pit bull - a distinction that ultimately saved her life in a country that takes harsh measures to enforce the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Throughout the ordeal, her owner Jake Barton insisted that Ice is a cross between an English and Staffordshire terrier.

Of course, if you're reading this in North America, that might sound a lot like a pit bull to you. Keep in mind, on this side of the pond, the term pit bull is loosely used to describe several different breeds. More than 700 U.S. cities have breed-specific legislation (BSL). And much of Europe, including France and Germany, have joined the U.K. in banning pit bulls outright.

But if you're reading this anywhere on the planet, another thought may have already occurred to you:

Why are we talking about breed anyway?

Would it be any more civilized for a government to pluck a dog from her loving home, lock her up for a year without contact with her family and finally put her down, all because she happened to be a pit bull?

Consider what an understandably elated Barton told the Plymouth Herald following the decision to free Ice:

"We are really happy. It has been a very long time. She has a lovely nature, she is a real family dog," he says.

"She grew up with my daughter, Hope, who is now aged three. We have had to tell her that she has been in hospital with a sore leg."

"Ice is her favourite."

Instead of considering how much the Barton family loved and missed their dog, the trial debated how much Ice deserved this love - by trying to prove to what degree she could be labeled a pit bull. In fact, an expert for the defense identified 68 pit bull characteristics, suggesting Ice only exhibited 45.

Whew.

Hair-splitting indeed.