Denver eradicating pit bulls, but not dog bites
Clearly, though, its doggie death chamber is functioning just fine.
According to a story in yesterday’s Denver Daily News, the city’s only free paper, city officials say they have no evidence that the ban is not working, and no evidence that it is.
That’s because there hasn’t been a serious pit bull attack in Denver since the 1989 mauling of Rev. Wilbur Billingsley, who was left with more than 70 bites and two broken legs. Three years before that, a 3-year-old boy was killed by a pit bull.
Those incidents resulted in the City Council banning pit bulls from the city. In 2004, Gov. Bill Owens signed a bill prohibiting local municipalities from enacting breed-specific legislation, but Denver challenged the statute and enforcement resumed in May 2005.
Labrador retrievers, meanwhile, have been allowed to go about their lives as normal in the Mile High City — even though they are the most frequent biters, responsible for 13.3 percent of all bites in the area, according to the Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers.
That data was released last week by the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs.
Pit bulls are second, making up for 8.4 percent of bites, followed by German shepherds at 7.8 percent.
Several other Denver metro towns and cities — including Englewood and Lakewood — examined dog bite data and decided breed-specific legislation is not as effective as stricter aggressive and dangerous dog laws, which hold owners responsible for their pets.
Between 1995 and 2006, Denver had almost six times as many dog-related hospitalizations compared to Boulder, even though Denver’s population is only about twice that of Boulder. During that 12-year period, Denver experienced 273 dog-related hospitalizations, while Boulder experienced only 46, according to statistics provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“I find it interesting that the only area, region, county or city in Colorado with a breed ban happens to be the only county with a higher than normal rate of dog bite hospitalizations,” said Karen Delise, founder of the National Canine Research Council. “The breed ban isn’t working, it’s not addressing education or irresponsible owners.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, banned, bans, breed specific legislation, breeds, colorado, denver, denver daily news, effectiveness, englewood, euthanasia, euthanized, german shepherds, labrador retrievers, pit bull, pit bulls