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Pit BULL: “No place for them in our society”

Boston’s six-year-old ban on pit bulls has proven to be “all bark and no bite,” according to a review by the Boston Herald.

While the city has issued tickets in more than 518 cases since the law went into effect in 2004 — all to owners who failed to register or muzzle their pit bulls, as the law requires — the vast majority of them (four of every five)  have refused to pay their $100  fines.

Instead, many of them have opted to turn their dogs over to the city, meaning that, in addition to not collecting the fine money, the city’s burdened with the expense of caring for dogs whose owners have deemed the expendable.

“It’s a disposable commodity, and they don’t care. They’re not good dog owners,” said Sgt. Charles Rudack, director of Boston Animal Control, which has no authority to force scofflaws to pay the $140,000 in unpaid fines.

Rudack said about 1,000 violators have chosen to turn over their pit bulls to Animal Control rather than pay the fine.

Pit bulls under the care of Animal Control are put up for adoption. Those that aren’t adopted or taken in by other rescues are euthanized.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who co-sponsored the pit bull ordinance — it requires pit bulls to be registered, muzzled in public and for their owners to display “beware of dog sign” at their homes — defended the law.

“We never said this ordinance was going to be a magic wand that would make the problem go away. What we did say is that this would be a new tool that animal control and police could use to get a better handle on what I see is a problem with pit bulls.”

State data shows pit bull and pit bull breed attacks in Boston increased between 2006 and 2008, from 25 to 46. But that trend reversed last year, when the city recorded just 30 attacks from pit bull and pit bull breeds.

Still, people like Donna Fitzgerald, whose Shiba Inu “Rocky” was attacked by an unleashed pit bull in South Boston in 2004, say banning the breed seems to be the only solution.

“I’m a dog lover and I don’t mean to sound cruel about a certain breed, but there’s just no place for them in our society,” said Fitzgerald, who now lives in Florida.

(Photo by John Woestendiek)


Comment from EE
Time May 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

Everything about this post is appalling. Where’s the voice that tells the truth – that pit bulls are just another kind of dog, that they are intelligent, sweet and fiercely loyal, and that the problem is with terrible owners and NOT with the breed? Where’s the point that breed laws are akin to dog-focused racism? Where are the stories of loving pits that live with families and spend their time playing and goofing around? I would think since there are so many MORE of those than the horror stories of the few bad eggs, they’d be pretty easy for you to find.

Shame on you for perpetuating this stereotype. I had just found this blog and was excited to see it, but you’ve just completely lost me with this post. Congratulations, your pit bull related kool-aid drinking cost you a potential reader.

Response: The voice you mention is all over this website, if you care to take the time to read. Search pit bulls on ohmidog!, and then carefully read, which, I’m sorry, but you didn’t seem to do in this case. John/ohmidog!

Comment from PitsR4Fools
Time May 12, 2010 at 10:48 am

You are so right, pits need to go. They weren’t bred to be pets, they were bred for one thing and one thing only, to kill. And they are doing that in record numbers, more than any other breed in history. According to the only two sources that track by breed, pits have been killing people at the rate of one every 22 days for the past four years. When other breeds were in the limelight for attacks, their community stepped up to the plate and did something to stop it. Not the pit community, instead they talk on their forums about keeping the “game” dog as is and they are proud of their “game” dogs, in other words, they are proud of the damage their pits are doing. http://www.pitattacksbystate.blogspot.com

Response: I think you misinterpreted my overly nuanced headline, which is meant to suggest that saying pits have “no place in society” is BULL. John/ohmidog!

Comment from Mary Haight
Time May 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Can’t believe these commenters don’t know your stance on pit bulls. I think EE may have been shocked that the article closed with a comment from someone who takes their opinions from the media without fact-checking, leaving that as the take away, and as the next commenter clearly illustrates.

It would be great to see the end of the stupidity of breed bans. I found the quote you grabbed from City Counsel Consalvo to be revealing, well-illustrating how it is opinions and not facts that guide these ignorant laws–he refers to it as not being a magic wand, but a tool for animal control and police to use “…on what *I* see as a problem with Pit Bulls.” (emphasis is mine) Ugh!

Thanks for reporting the many negative effects of this breed ban, especially the enormous cost and waste to cities already broke – it’s the only language they seem to hear and can be effective in turning around what is bad public policy.

Comment from Susan
Time May 13, 2010 at 2:50 am

Why are these heightened requirements for owning a particular breed considered a ban on the breed? These are simply practical adjustments society is willing to make to assure that these dogs are safely contained, yet still “in society.” Pits are sweet dogs, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing with them to keep other people and their pets safe. If you’re not responsible enough to register and muzzle, then you are probably not responsible about taking care of your dog in other ways. This is a great way to prevent crappy dog owners from owning dogs. Brilliant!

Comment from Mary Haight
Time May 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hi Susan – glad you pointed that out. Breed Specific Legislation often winds up being a ban–insurance requirements for keeping pit bull type dogs and other big dogs are arbitrary: Oregon asks for a million dollars insurance policy, which is the most extreme, many others ask for $100,000. Replace breed ban with Breed Specific Legislation in what I wrote if it makes you more comfortable. Google BSL and you’ll get the reason why these things don’t work. Better yet, check the Animal Legal Defense Fund which is probably on this site’s blogroll and read the history and current findings.

Law abiding people who care for their dogs will follow new laws. The others, ostensibly the target of these laws, will not. There was a recent story of how a bad owner had been fined over and over for his loose dog and he won’t pay. Meanwhile Animal Control is out the enforcement dollars for the program, an estimated $140K for one year, money most cities don’t have to waste and it’s not coming back to the coffers in fines.

Sorry about practically blogging on your blog, John.

Response, Excellent points, and you may blog my blog anytime, dancing dog.

Comment from robin
Time May 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

it’s ridiculous to say that pit bulls were bred for one thing only to kill. You need to educate yourself. Many many breeds were bred to kill, hunt, and protect. Protection dogs go all the way back to molossian dogs. I mean jack russels were used to hunt so maybe we should ban them. Or how about pointers or labs they are hunting dogs and how about american bull dogs who were used for baiting bulls. Wait what about those pesky patterdale terriers sooo ferocious. A breed of dog is a breed of dog one bad apple doesn’t mean the whole pale is rotten. Pitbulls are also related to many other breeds perhaps one may be in your own home. Punish the horrible owners not the breed.