I’m a dog slut.

I admit that’s not an attribute I’m proud to list on my resume, but it still beats being called a “dog person.” Whenever I hear that term, I get visions of genetically engineered mutants incorporating the altered DNA of canines and humans. These Franken-beasts are compelled by their hybrid natures to run to the kitchen when they hear the can opener, bark furiously at the UPS truck and pee on the bathroom rug when they get overexcited. At cocktail parties, they greet strangers by sniffing their butts.

As a dog slut, I exhibit none of these tendencies. I just fall in love with virtually every pup I meet. I treat the three terrier mutts that occupy most of my household as full-fledged members of the family. By which I mean I list them on my income tax return as dependents. Also, my wife and I don’t allow guests to sit on our couch (“That’s the dogs’ space”), and in the pooches’ presence, we do not discuss the more exotic ingredients of the cuisine of Thailand.

I’m crazy about all types of dogs, whether it’s my neighbor’s St. Bernard-bull mastiff mix — a beast so massive he disrupts weather patterns — or a friend’s chiweenie — a minuscule combination of Chihuahua and dachshund that looks like a furry Vienna sausage with ears — or an artist acquaintance who owns a Chinese crested — a mostly hairless breed that bears an unsettling resemblance to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.

I even like pit bulls, creatures with a reputation for viciousness exceeded only by 3-D piranha and Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

Perhaps that’s because, over the years, I’ve been attacked by more politicians than pits. For every nip I’ve received from an Airedale, a golden retriever, or a Benji-like mongrel with adorable eyes and extraordinarily sharp teeth, I’ve been repeatedly savaged by elected officials. Which just proves that people are much nastier than dogs.

And less responsible. In every case in which I got a hunk taken out of me by Fido, it was either my fault for doing something stupid — startling the dog or forgetting to ask permission to give the pooch a pat — or it was the owners’ responsibility for failing to properly restrain the animal.

In other words, a human was always to blame.

That leaves me perplexed about the sudden interest in passing a law in Maine banning certain kinds of dogs with an alleged affinity for violence. According to an op-ed Tuesday, Aug. 17, in the Portland Press Herald by Fritz Spencer (described as somebody who “writes about public policy issues and lives in Augusta”), the three breeds that are “vicious by nature” and therefore ought to be outlawed are pit bulls (which aren’t a breed at all), Rottweillers and something called the presa canario (is that Spanish for yellow journalism?).

“One trait is sought in these breeds above all,” wrote Spencer, “and that is the instinct to attack ruthlessly and without mercy.”

Sort of like the speakers at Tea Party rallies.

For a dose of reality, I visited the Web site of Richard Polsky (dogexpert.com), one of the nations’ leading authorities on canine biting (an occupation I was, until now, unaware existed). According to Polsky, the two breeds most likely to chomp on people are German shepherds and chow-chows (neither of which is on Spencer’s list to be banned), but the biggest offenders are mixed-breed dogs.

While pits and Rotties were involved in half of all fatal attacks in the United States, there have been no such incidents in Maine recently, and the national average (20 to 30 per year) has been steady for decades.

“[C]haracterizing the dog bite problem as epidemic, as was done 30 years ago, no longer seems warranted,” Polsky wrote. On the whole, you’re more likely to be shot, knifed, poisoned, involved in an auto accident, injured playing video games or to contract salmonella from DeCoster eggs than you are to be bitten by a dog.

What’s more, Maine already has a tougher law dealing with dangerous dogs than it does for dealing with dangerous eggs. Allowing a vicious canine to threaten public safety can result in a fine of as much as $1,000. A second offense could result in a court order to seize the animal. In contrast, drunk drivers in this state cause far more death and destruction than dogs each year, but nobody takes away their vehicles.

Any problems associated with dogs won’t be solved by banning particular breeds, a tactic that’s been tried in other places without success. That’s because the issue has never been about pooches in the first place.

It’s about owners. Many of whom are irresponsible slugs.

They don’t get their dogs neutered (unaltered dogs are involved in a disproportionate percentage of biting incidents). They don’t get their dogs licensed, because they also don’t get their dogs the required rabies vaccination. They don’t obey leash laws.

If somebody comes up with a law banning those jerks, I’ll support it, so long as the penalty for a first violation includes neutering. The owners, I mean.

Biting comments can be e-mailed to aldiamon@herniahill.net.