The Virginia city of Suffolk has approved a ban on dog-tethering, effective the first of September.
After months of wrangling over details and considering compromises, the city council voted 6-2 to enact an outright ban on dog-tethering, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Suffolk joins a growing number of Virginia cities that have taken steps to ban or limit tethering dogs outside. Hampton forbids it, and Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach limit tethering to a maximum of three hours a day.
Suffolk City Councilman Mike Duman, who had proposed a 10-hour a day limit, said he was pleased with the outcome.
Police Chief Thomas Bennett told the council an outright ban would be easier to enforce than restricting tethering to a certain number of hours a day.
The ordinance makes tethering a Class Four misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine.
(Photo: A tethered dog photographed in the Pleasant Hill area of Suffolk; by Jason Hirschfeld / The Virginian-Pilot)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, banned, bans, city council, dog, dogs, fine, hampton, law, misdemeanor, norfolk, outside, pets, portsmouth, restrictions, suffolk, tethering, tying, virginia, virginia beach
First came a Court of Appeals ruling, late last week, declaring all pit bulls (and pit bull mixes) “inherently dangerous” — stating, in effect, that breed, or type, or even looks alone, are all that is required to assume a dog is bad.
Then came a newspaper column by the normally level-headed Dan Rodricks, fresh from judging a dog costume contest for the Maryland SPCA, declaring pit bulls “four-legged time bombs” that should not be allowed in public.
It was not prompted by anything that happened at the SPCA’s March for the Animals — other than his seeing some pit bulls there. Instead, it seemed based on a prejudice he apparently holds and, with a court decision to back him up, felt inclined to reveal.
Taken together, the column and court decision (you can read it here) have riled friends of pit bulls, who are fighting back, on Facebook, through website comments and petitions and via letters to the editor at the Baltimore Sun, like this one — my personal favorite:
“… I live in the Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore. When my suburban friends come visit, they hold their kids close, and they look askance at some of my more ‘unusual’ neighbors. Some of them are only too happy to hop back in their cars and scurry back to the counties. To them it’s “obvious” that Baltimore is a dangerous place, with all the derelict buildings and the homeless people and the occasional addict passed out on the sidewalk …
“I’m also a pit bull owner — an accidental one, because I found mine starving and scared, running down Wicomico Street dragging a leash behind him. I caught him and brought him home because that’s what any decent dog lover would do. Then I found out how incredibly, incredibly difficult it is to rehome these dogs — because of the stigmas, and because there are just so many of them.
“I had only limited experience with the breed before mine chose me, but I have discovered that they are wonderful, wonderful dogs, incredibly smart and ridiculously affectionate. Some of them need more work than others, but anyone who says they’re “inherently” dangerous has obviously never met a good one. And there are lots of good ones.
“But if all you see when you look at them are the cropped ears and the muscular bodies and all the teeth — regardless of whether or not they’re showing off that famous pit bull smile — and because of the way they look decide they’re not worth getting to know, you’re just as ignorant as all the suburbanites who think Baltimore is nothing but vacant houses and drug dealers.”
Written by Erin Harty, the letter makes some excellent points about stereotyping and judging by looks — points that shouldn’t be lost on Rodricks, who has been able to look beneath the gruff exteriors and even bad behavior of convicts and ex-convicts and see some redeeming traits. It’s a shame he can’t bring himself to do the same when it comes to pit bulls, the vast majority of which have not engaged in any bad behavior. And won’t.
The Maryland SPCA’s executive director, Aileen Gabbey, voiced disappointment with Rodrick’s remarks and the court of appeals decision.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is no accurate way to measure and determine which breeds are more likely to bite. These legitimate agencies also state that any data collected relating to dog bites has high potential for error,” she wrote in a letter to the editor.
“Mr. Rodricks’ opinions certainly won’t damper the success of the MD SPCA’s 17th March for the Animals. Thousands of dog owners and dog breeds of all kinds safely came together to have fun while helping the homeless dogs in our community.”
Of greater concern to pit bull owners is the court of appeals ruling, and its possible ramifications.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a in a press release that it plans to work with Maryland dog advocates and members of the legislature to develop “rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state after the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision fundamentally changing longstanding liability rules relating to pit bull and mixed pit bull dogs.”
The court decision focuses on liability. Under previous case law, a victim intending to file a lawsuit after a dog attack had to prove that a dog’s owner, or landlord, knew it had a history of being dangerous. Now, under the new precedent it set, the filer of a lawsuit merely has to show that the owner knew their dog was all or part pit bull. That would be sufficient basis for a claim.
Betsy McFarland, HSUS vice president, said the court overstepped its authority.
“A seismic shift in Maryland law of this nature should be undertaken by the legislature, not judges. The legislature should conduct appropriate fact-finding and hearings, consider the available science, and make a measured, non-emotional decision on this important policy issue.
“We encourage advocates to call their state legislators to respectfully voice their concerns, and urge them to work with advocates on legislation in the next session that provides rational, science-based dangerous dog policies for the state.
“The Humane Society of the United States’ companion animals department is in communication with shelters and rescues, and will be looking for ways to support them as they consider the ramifications of this decision.”
(Photo: Jasmine, one of Michael Vick’s former fighting pit bulls, who ended up in Baltimore, and was featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story about Vick’s dogs overcoming their inhumane treatment at human hands)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anger, animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, banned, bashing, columnist, court, court of appeals, dan rodricks, dangerous, decision, dogs, four legged time bombs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inherently, maryland spca, media, news, newspaper, opinion, petitions, pets, pit bull, pit bull lovers, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, public, response, responses, ruling, vick dogs
United, which recently joined forces with Continental Airlines, has opted to adopt the defunct airline’s backwards pet policy. The new policy is stated on this page of United’s website.
What it all means is that the “friendly skies” of United will no longer transport any of these breeds:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Presa Canario
- Perro de Presa Canario
- Dogo Argentino
- Cane Corso
- Fila Brasileiro
- Tosa (or Tosa Ken)
- Ca de Bou
United will not accept members of those breeds, or mixes containing those breeds, once they have reached either 6 months of age or 20 pounds.
Additionally, United reserves the right to refuse any animal that displays aggression or viciousness.
The restrictions have nothing to do with the airline’s separate policy on short-snouted breeds for whom air travel, specifically in a cargo hold, can cause breathing problems. This is separate category for “dangerous” breeds.
“These kinds of breed discriminatory policies fuel the misconceptions about dogs like pit bulls that lead to breed bans and the deaths of thousands of innocent dogs,” reads a petition at Change.org, urging United to reconsider the policy.
The petition was started by Jessie Huart after she learned of the ban while trying to book a ticket to travel with her 10-year-old pit bull, Slaw.
“These types of policies are opposed by every major dog-related organization. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association argue that physical appearance isn’t an effective way to predict or address aggression,” the petition site says:
“United Airlines adopted the discriminatory policy … when it merged with Continental Airlines, making it the world’s largest air carrier and the only US-based airline that labels some dog breeds as “dangerous.”
“But while United is still adjusting to its merger with Continental, the company is listening closely to customer feedback. If thousands of dog-loving United customers sign Jessie’s petition, the airline will have to listen …”
(Photo: Slaw, a pit bull who won’t be flying United; courtesy of Change.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airlines, american staffordshire terriers, animals, ban, banned, ca de bou, cane corso, change, continental, dangerous, dog, dogo argentino, dogs, fila brasileiro, jesse huart, merger, new, perro de presa canario, petition, pets, pit bull, pitbulls, policy, presa canario, reconsider, slaw, tosa, tosa ken, travel, united
Here’s an ad we doubt would have flown during the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. In fact, it never saw the light of day anywhere (except online), having been banned from appearing during the 2006 Super Bowl.
In the ad, for Bud Light, an upscale dog owner, sweater draped over his shoulders, is showing off his purebred border collie. Then he asks the mutt owner he is talking to, “What can your dog do?”
To see the painful answer, watch the video.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2006, ad, advertisement, animals, banned, beer, border collie, bud light, commercial, dogs, dogs in advertising, marketing, mutts, pedigree, pets, purebreds, super bowl, tricks, westminster dog show, woof in advertising
Less forgiving is the town of Carl Junction, where their displaced family moved afterwards — only to find out that pit bulls and Rottweilers are illegal.
Carl Junction is one of many cities and towns around the country that have legislation prohibiting pit bulls and other breeds within the city limits, according to The Joplin Globe, which reported on the family’s situation this week.
And city officials are unwilling to make an exception to the rule, meaning Dave DeWolfe and his family — who followed the sounds of the whimpers and rescued their dogs after the tornado — will now be required to give them up, at least if they want to stay in Carl Junction.
After the tornado, DeWolfe’s daughter, Janelle Mawhinney, provided temporary shelter for family members at her apartment, but she couldn’t take the dogs. They were placed in a temporary shelter set up by the ASPCA.
Every day, DeWolfe says, they’d stop in to visit. In July, they found a new home in nearby Carl Junction, reclaimed their dogs and moved in.
“We thought it was too good to be true: a decent neighborhood, a good price, everything came through with the bank, and we were so happy about it,” he said.
Not long after settling in, they were reading a “welcome” packet from the city when they saw that Carl Junction’s hospitality didn’t extend to pit bulls and Rottweilers. Neither are permitted with the city limits.
Then, this month, DeWolfe was informed by the city’s animal control officer that he was violating the city ordinance. He went to the city council, saying he would do ”whatever it takes” to keep the dogs, even if it meant crating or muzzling them.
“It’s my fault,” he said. “I should have checked the laws.”
City council members said they didn’t want to set a precedent by allowing the family to keep the dogs.
Carl Junction’s ban on the two breeds was put in place in 1995. It carries fines of $200 to $500. The only exception to the law is for dog owners who registered with the city prior to the ordinance going into effect.
DeWolfe and his wife have turned to Craigslist in an attempt to find the two dogs a permanent home.
“We try to work with our residents whenever we can,” Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Haase said. “But approving one would set a precedent. We’ve had this ordinance for quite some time, and all the dogs grandfathered in under it are now gone. We’ve had quite a few requests and if you open it up to one, you’ve just defeated your ordinance.”
Defeating, if you ask me, is just what the ordinance needs.
(Photo: By T. Rob Brown / Joplin Globe)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, banned, bans, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, bsl, carl junction, dave dewolfe, displaced, dogs, home, joplin, kain, kita, law, missouri, new, ordinance, pets, pit bulls, rottweilers, survivors, tornado
(An update to this story can be found here.)
Apparently gunning down stray dogs on the streets wasn’t enough for the dog unfriendly officials of Cumberland County, North Carolina.
Now they want to slay, within 72 hours, every dog that comes into the shelter who is, or appears to be a mix of:
American Staffordshire terrier, Rottweiller, Akita, chow chow, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Great Dane, Presa Canario, Siberian husky or mastiff. There’s a convenient catch-all pit bull category as well.
They’re not doing it yet, despite what you may be reading on the misinformation highway.
But they’re talking about it.
The county’s Animal Control Board is recommending that authorities limit the adoption of the above dog breeds, or, as one county official referred to them, ”attack animals.” (Clearly, they haven’t met many Great Danes.)
The idea is only in the discussion stages, but many websites are reporting –erroneously — that the new policy goes into effect today.
“I’ve probably had 1,500 emails,” said John Lauby, director of Cumberland County Animal Control. (Here’s hoping he gets about 150,000 more.)
Lauby told a Fayetteville Observer columnist that misinformation on the Internet led people to believe the county will ban adoption of pit bulls and other breeds starting Monday, and immediately euthanize any members of those breeds in the shelter.
In reality, the county hasn’t taken that medieval step, it’s just considering it.
“We’re looking at a list of animals used as attack animals,” County Commissioner Charles Evans said. “It has been suggested that something needs to be done about those.”
The recommendation would have to make its way through a committe and then require approval by the county commissioners before going into effect. But it’s scheduled to be introduced at a meeting tonight. (6 p.m., at Cumberland County Animal Services, 4704 Corporation Drive, Fayetteville).
Lauby said animal control constantly receives calls from residents complaining about dogs behaving aggressively or running loose, preventing people from getting into their cars.
“We have an inordinate number of pit bulls in the county that are chasing people, chasing dogs, they’re on school grounds and generally bother people,” he said. “The reality is that about 80 percent of our calls are related to that particular breed.”
Complaints from the public also led Cumberland County to hire an outside contractor to capture stray dogs in and around Fayetteville — a massive roundup that started in August and, at last report, led to more dogs being gunned down than caught alive.
Fayetteville doesn’t have its own animal control department, instead relying on the county office to handle dog-related issues.
As I’ve implied before, that might be part of the problem — the problem, in my view, being not just too many uncontrolled dogs, but too many unenlightened public servants, who see dogs as foes and death as a solution.
Maybe it’s the army base influence. In any event, someone needs to usher Cumberland County into modern times.
In a way, the proposed policy — while it it lists some new ”public enemy” breeds, like the husky, and some returning ones, like the shepherd — would only formalize what’s already common practice in the county.
Since April, Cumberland County Animal Control has taken in nearly 1,300 pit bulls, but only 124 have been adopted. The shelter has taken in 180 Rottweilers since then, only 26 of whom were adopted. Of 96 chow chows received at the shelter since April, 15 have been adopted, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
The rest are euthanized.
Now, some want to make it official, banning the adoption of any of those breeds and guaranteeing a death sentence for all of them, or any mixes thereof — all based on what will likely be, judging from the wisdom they’ve shown so far, an uneducated guess.
In addition to complaints, worries about liability issues are also behind the proposal. The county fears it might be held responsible for any damage done by dogs adopted from its shelter. Most shelters handle that with a simple waiver.
If you’d like to give Cumberland County officials a piece of your mind — and it appears they could use it — continue reading for contact information.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoptions, aggressive, akita, american staffordshire terrier, animal control, attack animals, automatically, banned, bans, breed, breeds, bully breeds, captured, chow, contact, cumberland county, death, doberman, erroneous, euthanasia, euthanized, fayetteville, german shepherd, great dane, internet, john lauby, kill, killed, liability, mastiff, north carolina, petitions, pit bulls, pitbulls, presa canario, proposal, purge, reports, rottweiler, shelter, shot, siberian husky, strays, three days
Maybe I’m missing something, but this ad, which PETA says has been rejected by Lifetime, CNN, Animal Planet and other networks, doesn’t seem that over the top to me.
In fact, it seems an awful lot like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) ad with Wendy Malick that has been airing on TV with amazing frequency — sad looking animals behind bars, plaintive song in the background, request for donations, free subscription to our monthly magazine.
PETA says it has approached many of the largest cable networks hoping to place its latest ad, which features actor and PETA honorary director James Cromwell.
In an email, PETA said the reasons they were given for the ad being rejected include the group being “too controversial” and that some of the video depicts animals being abused. Apparently showing animals that have been abused is OK, but showing people abusing them is not.
Even so, I don’t see clear instances of the latter in the new PETA ad.
Whatever the case, PETA will get plenty of mileage out of of being able to put the label “banned” on their ad — thereby assuring it a place in blogs such as this one — as they have before, including a Super Bowl ad in 2009 that it says was deemed too sexy for TV.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, ad, advertisement, animal planet, animal welfare, banned, cnn, controversial, cruelty to animals, hsus, james cromwell, lifetime, peta, rejected, sexy, super bowl, television, tv, video
Diamond is a documented hero — credited with saving the lives of her California family and named one of the nation’s top ten “Valor Dogs” — but landlords only see her as trouble.
Her owner says that despite being named one of the nation’s top ten “Valor Dogs” by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), dozens of landlords are turning away “Diamond” because she’s a pit bull, WBIR-TV reports.
Darryl Steen, Diamond’s owner, says she woke him up when his apartment caught fire last October. He was able to get one of his daughters to safety by dropping her out of a window, but couldn’t reach the second child.
When firefighters finally got to her, Diamond was laying on top of the girl in an effort to protect her from the flames.
The dog suffered severe burns, but has recovered.
Steen says that several landlords have told them that pets are welcome, only to renege when they learn that Diamond is a pit bull.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 17th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, banned, california, darryl steen, diamond, discrimination, dogs, family, fire, hayward, hero, humane society, landlords, pets, pit bull, pitbull, rentals, saved, valor
The owner of a western wear shop in North Carolina has apologized for kicking a 5-year-old girl’s service dog out of his store — but not until after threats of a boycott and lawsuit surfaced.
“I had no intentions to offend anyone, but if I have I apologize for it,” said Robert Bryant who owns the Western Shop in New Hanover County, N.C. He said he wasn’t famliar with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bryant’s raspy “apology” — you can see more of it here — was in stark contrast to what he reportedly barked at the girl and her mother: “Get that (expletive) dog out of my store.”
Bryant said the dog smelled bad and he didn’t want dog hair on his merchandise, sounding much like the Colorado attorney who was hit with $50,000 in fines this week for banning a woman and her service dog from his law office, for fear it might soil his new carpet.
Ellie, a golden retriever, belongs to 5-year-old Amanda Ivancevich, who has cerebral palsy and is missing the left side of her brain. She relies on the dog to get her through the day and alert her family to pending seizures. Her mother, Susan Ivancevich, said it was Amanda’s first trip outside in a year.
“I’m a law abiding citizen, yes,” said Bryant. “I had no intentions of offending this child. I love children.” He also pointed out repeatedly that he runs a “Christian business.”
Since learning more about what the law says about service dogs, Bryant says he would act differently if Ellie walked into his store again.
After Susan Ivancevich posted a comment about the incident on Facebook, dozens have come to her support, and some have vowed to stop patronizing Bryant’s shop.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 1st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 5-year-old, amanda ivancevich, american with disabilities act, animals, apologizes, apology, banned, bans, cerebral palsy, kicked out, n.c., new hanover county, news, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, robert bryant, service dog, store, susan ivancevich, western shop
Electric shock collars have been banned in Wales.
Under the ban — the first in the UK – owners who zap their dogs for misbehaving face a fine of up to £20,000 or six months in prison.
Around 500,000 electric collars are in use in the UK, including some 20,000 in Wales, the Daily Mail reported.
Pet welfare groups, including the RSPCA and the Kennel Club, say the electronic devices cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and that they’d like to see the ban extended across Britain.
Proponents of the collars say they can improve the behavior of dogs that would otherwise be put down, train excitable pets to stop running into traffic and stop them from worrying sheep or inflicting other damage. Banning the collars, they say, could lead to shelters being inundated with unmanageable pets.
The RSPCA counters that, rather than using pain and punishment to train dogs, pet owners should use rewards such as treats and balls. It called The Welsh Assembly’s decision “a historic day for animal welfare.”
“‘Wales has proven it is truly leading the way,” Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said, “and we hope the rest of the UK will follow by example to outlaw these cruel and unnecessary devices.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ban, banned, behavior, cats, collars, correcting, dogs, electric, electric collar, electric shock collar, electronic, fines, illegal, kennel club, news, ohmidog!, pain, pets, prison, punishment, rspca, shelters, shock, suffering, training, uk, wales, welsh, zap