Tag: breed specific legislation
A pit bull who was seized from a notorious dogfighting operation in Virginia, rehabilitated in Utah, and adopted by a couple in Texas helped make the case for a new law in Nevada that prohibits local governments from enacting and enforcing regulations that deem a dog dangerous based solely on its breed.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the anti-breed discrimination law this week, and it takes effect Oct. 1, 2013.
Assembly Bill 110, which was sponsored by Assemblyman James Ohrenschall and spearheaded Best Friends Animal Society, also got a push from our friend Mel, the former Michael Vick dog who now lives in Dallas. Richard Hunter, Mel’s new owner, testified before the Nevada Senate to show support.
“Best Friends is proud that Nevada has taken steps to prevent breed discrimination,” said Ledy VanKavage said, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends. “Every American who follows the right safety rules as a responsible dog owner should be allowed to own whatever breed of dog they choose.”
Nevada is the the 14th state to pass a law preventing breed discrimination, Best Friends said.
“Assembly Bill 110 bans breed discriminatory laws from being enacted anywhere in Nevada,” said Assemblyman Ohrenschall.
He added, “I’m confident that this law will benefit dogs, dog owners and animal lovers throughout our great state. It has always been bad public policy to enact ordinances that target a certain breed of dog without considering that individual dog’s actions. I’m proud of sponsoring this legislation because it will help keep our innocent friends from being killed needlessly and senselessly.”
Best Friends received and rehabilitated most of the dogs seized from the dogfighting operation at Michael Vick’s former estate in Virginia, including Mel, who was believed to have been used as a bait dog.
“Our fundamental goal is to achieve safe and humane communities. We want our communities to be protected against dangerous dogs – and we want abused dogs to be protected from irresponsible owners,” VanKavage said. “Because everyone benefits from a safe society – both people and pets.”
Studies done in countries with breed-discriminatory laws, such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany, found that these laws didn’t reduce the number of dog bites or improve public safety. Based on these studies, and concerns about due process and property rights infringement, the American Bar Association, the National Animal Control Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association don’t support breed discrimination, Best Friends said in a press release.
“They support laws that go after the real problem–the behavior of the individual dog and the behavior of the reckless owner.”
Through its national pit bull initiatives, Best Friends Animal Society encourages state and municipal governments to adopt breed-neutral “dangerous dog” laws that focus on the key causes of dog aggression—owners’ failure to spay or neuter, train and socialize dogs regardless of breed, or because they abuse or neglect dogs or force them to live on chains.
(Photo: John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bait dog, best friends, breed discrimination, breed specific legislation, breeds, bsl, dangerous dogs, dogfighting, dogs, enact, enforce, governor, James Ohrenschall, law, legislation, mel, michael vick, nevada, owners, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, prohibits, rehabilitation, responsibility, richard hunter, seized, signed
Lennox, locked up as he has been, hasn’t been running for two years now, but his story has, around the world.
Now it appears, despite a massive online campaign to save him, his time has run out.
After three court hearings, orders to execute him — because of his resemblance to a pit bull — have come down from the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. (Now there’s a scary title.)
The seven-year-old dog was seized in May 2010 from his owner, Caroline Barnes, after amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act were extended to Northern Ireland in 2011.
Two lower courts have already ruled that he should be put down because he poses a risk to the public under that legislation, which declares all pit bull types dangerous.
During his year on death row, lawyers presented evidence that Lennox has never bitten anyone and has behaved well since being impounded, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
In the latest, and final, court decision, judges said dog wardens who tried to examine Lennox in May 2010 were told by a man that the dog would “rip their head off.”
An expert dog handler retained by the City Council concluded that the dog had a severe personality defect.
Experts presented in Lennox’s defense, meanwhile, described him as well-handled and a wonderful family dog, who served to comfort the Barnes special needs children before the city took him away.
“Lennox will essentially be killed for looking like a pit bull not actually acting like one,” Patrick Roberts opined in Irish Central.
“It is like saying every Catholic in Northern Ireland should be jailed because some in the past were violent.”
While a date hasn’t been specified, officials say his euthanization is imminent.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bans, belfast, breed specific legislation, campaign, caroline barnes, dangerous, dangerous dogs act, dogs, euthanasia, euthanize, execute, execution, internet, ireland, lennox, lord chief justice, online, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, put down, save, save lennox
The proposed law is currently in the state House and, if it passes there, would still need to be approved by the Senate, according to a Fox News report.
The proposal comes on the heels of two Ohio cities — Cleveland and Toledo — rewriting local ordinances to require restrictions be imposed on troublesome dogs based on behavior, instead of breed.
Under Ohio’s current, breed-specific state law, pit bull owners are required to have $100,000 worth of insurance, and a specific containment area for their pet.
“You could have the sweetest pit bull in the world and you would have those restrictions I could have the meanest chihuahua in the world and there would be no restrictions,” said John Dinon of the Toledo Area Humane Society.
Toledo changed its dog rule last year, and Cleveland recently followed suit.
Dinon believes labeling a dog based on its behavior will help keep more citizens in Ohio safe: “It protects people a lot better because right now if you have a dangerous dog that isn’t a pit bull likely nothing’s going to happen.”
The changes in Cleveland were sparked by a pit bull owning councilman, according to the Toledo Blade.
“It just seemed fundamentally wrong to say that a certain breed is bad. That’s like me saying that all people that come from northwest Ohio aren’t good people,” said Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation. “In today’s day and age to really determine and know what a breed is [is] virtually impossible with all of the cross-breeding that goes on.”
Under the changes in Cleveland, authorities can classify any type of dog as a “Level 1” threat to public safety if it attempts to cause harm to a person or domestic animal, and as a “Level 2” threat if it bites or otherwise injures a person or animal.
Owners of these dogs must abide by strict regulations that include keeping the animal in a secure enclosure, muzzling the dog while out in public, and obtaining a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance. Those who violate the rules can be fined up to $1,000.
The rules are similar to those laid out in Toledo’s vicious dogs ordinance, and, as with Toledo’s, they don’t set forth restrictions based on breed alone.
“I was really proud as a policy maker and as a dog owner to see the foresight and vision on the [Toledo City] council’s part to examine this based on fact, not fear,” Zone said. “Too often you get council people who will try to make policies based on fear or peer pressure that they’re hearing from the community.”
Despite the local changes, “pit bull” owners continue to face requirements for additional restraint, muzzling, and liability insurance under state law.
The Ohio General Assembly is expected to vote before the end of this month on whether to remove the pit bull-specific language from the law.
Cleveland council member Zone said he rescued a pit bull puppy hit by a truck outside his office three years ago. When an animal control officer told him the dog would be automatically destroyed because it was a pit bull, Zone took it home. Since then, Gordon has become a much-loved member of his family.
“It just goes to show that when you show love and care to an animal they give it back tenfold,” he said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, behavior, bill, breed, breed specific legislation, bsl, city council, cleveland, council, dangerous, dogs, gordon, house, insurance, john dinon, labeling, labels, law, laws, matt zone, ohio, ordinances, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, proposal, rescue, restrictions, senate, shelter, toledo, toledo area humane society, vicious
If you happen to be strolling around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Sunday and run into a pack of pit bulls, fear not — they are there to make friends, influence people, and lick away any misconceptions you may have about the breed.
B-More Dog, the organization behind “Pit Bulls on Parade,” plans to make group walks like Sunday’s a monthly event, held in various parts of the city — all aimed at erasing the stereotypes surrounding the breed.
While all breeds are welcome, dogs must be signed up in advance to take part in the parades. So while it’s too late to get your dog into Sunday’s, you can find out about participating in next month’s by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To check out Sunday’s parade, show up around the Inner Harbor at 11 a.m.
Pauline Houliaras, a founding member and current president of B-More Dog, came up with the idea for the parade after noticing how often she’d be stopped and asked about the dogs she was walking. Her own dog, Ravenopolis, she found, often got greeted on walks around the harbor by tourists and locals alike, who’d stop to ask questions and pet the dog.
Taking the concept to the next level, B-More Dog organized groups of pit bull owners to walk together and spread goodwill about the breed. Then they decided, rather than just do it once a year, to try and parade pit bulls every month.
B-More Dog is an outreach and education organization that formed in the fall of 2007 to speak out against breed specific legislation being proposed in Baltimore County. That legislation, which would have required all pit bull owners to muzzle their dogs and confine them in locked kennels, was not passed.
Since then, B-More Dog has gone on to focus on improving the breed’s image and promoting responsible ownership of pit bulls and all other breeds through education, mentoring, and outreach.
Its members work with local shelters to provide information packets about the breed to adopters. B-More Dog also offers a “Humane Education” program in which members take their friendly, trained and well-mannered pit bull to community centers and after-school programs.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, b-more dog, baltimore, bmoredog, breed, breed specific legislation, breeds, dogs, downtown, goodwill, harbor, humane education, image, information, inner harbor, march, myths, outreach, parade, pauline houliaras, pet owners, pet ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, pride, responsibility, responsible, stereotypes, training
Delegate Cheryl Glenn will introduce an amendment to the state’s proposed dangerous dog law this week that would prohibit municipalities from banning or regulating dogs based on their breed.
Pushed by the Maryland Dog Federation, the proposed amendment to House Bill 1314, aimed at strengthening the state’s dangerous dog law, reads:
“Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prevent a municipality from adopting or enforcing its own more stringent program for the control of dangerous dogs provided, however, that no such program shall ban, regulate or address dogs in a manner which is specific as to breed.”
The federation says the amendment will prohibit laws thats discriminate against particular breeds of dogs. Similar measures have been passed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and eight other states.
If approved the proposed amendment would void the current breed ban in Prince George’s County, where about 900 pit bulls and pit bull mixes are euthanized a year, according to the federation.
“The seizing of innocent family pets simply because of their appearance is unconscionable. Responsible dog guardians should be allowed to own whatever breed they want. Reckless owners should be prohibited from owning any dog,” the federation said.
The federation is encouraging those who support the amendment to write Delegate Cheryl Glenn (email@example.com); and to attend the March 18 hearing of the Judiciary Committee (at 1 p.m. in Room 100 of the House Office Building in Annapolis).
Posted by jwoestendiek March 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amendment, breed bans, breed specific legislation, breeds, cheryl glenn, dangerous dogs, delegates, discriminatory, hearing, judiciary committee, law, laws, legislation, maryland, municipalities, news, pit bulls, prohibit, state
It took a DNA test to prove it, but Angie Cartwright — who lives in a town that bans pit bulls — has certified that her dog Lucey is only 12 percent bully breeds, and now she has her back.
Lucey had never bitten anyone; nor had she ever acted aggressively, according to the Salina Journal in Kansas. But she was scooped up by animal control officers.
The officers explained that they were taking Lucey to a veterinarian for a breed check — a professional opinion (meaning veterinarian’s guess) to determine Lucey’s breed.
Since 2005, Salina has had a ban on owning unregistered pit bulls and mixed breeds that are predominantly pit bull.
Cartwright got approval to have her vet conduct DNA breed analysis test, ther results of which led to the return of her dog.
The blood test found that a minor amount of Lucey’s DNA came from Staffordshire bull terrier genes — just over 12 percent.
“Maybe this can save someone’s animal, hopefully,” Cartwright said. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek September 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angie cartwright, animal control, breed, breed ban, breed specific legislation, bsl, bully breeds, dna, dog, dogs, genes, genetic, kansas, lucey, mars veterinary, mixed breed, news, pit bull, recovered, recovers, register, salina, seized, shelter, taken, test, wisdom panel
A World War II veteran who was held for a year in a Nazi prisoner camp has made it his mission to help supply wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs.
Irwin Stovroff, the subject of a recent Fox News report, has raised nearly $2 million dollars to help train and match up service canines with wounded combat vets.
The 85-year-old resident of Boca Raton, Fla., is also pushing lawmakers for federal funding to finance the program.
“It is a shame.” Stovroff says about the lack of an official federal program that pairs up battle-injured veterans with guide and therapy animals that can greatly improve their rehabilitation. “I wanted to do something about it.”
Stovroff, the recipient of a Distinguished Flying Cross, was shot down behind enemy German lines on his 35th bombing flight. He threw his dogs tags away before his plane crashed to hide his Jewish faith from his captors.
Stovroff says dogs can help the injured soldiers in a number of ways.
“The dog can become his eyes. He can become his legs. He can bring him anything he needs.” Stovroff said. “A dog is probably the best thing that can happen to these soldiers … They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well.”
(Photos courtesy of Intimesofwar.us)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, assistance, breed specific legislation, camp, distinguished flying cross, dogs, federal, florida, german, hero, iran, irwin stovroff, nazi, prisoner, program, service dogs, soldiers, therapy, world war II, wounded
What was her senior project is now a nearly-finished product — a documentary that looks at pit bulls and the people who love and defend them.
The film explores the factors behind the public’s fear of pit bulls and examines the conflict existing between advocates and opponents of breed specific legislation. It also investigates the myths associated with the breed and asks the question, “What exactly is a pit bull”?
To see a trailer, click here.
Sherrill left an eight-year career with HGTV to write, direct and produce her self-financed film debut, and is now hoping to enter “Beyond the Myth” in film festivals.
“Beyond the Myth” challenges the idea that pit bulls are inherently vicious and goes one-on-one with people on both sides of this controversial issue, according to the documentary’s website.
A pit bull owners herself, Sherrill is against breed specific legislation, such as that passed in Ohio, Denver and numerous other jurisdictions.
“Opponents of BSL believe that such laws are a demeaning overreaction perpetuated by media bias and claim that dog bite statistics (showing pit bulls are responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks) are unreliable sources of information regarding the ‘viciousness’ of a breed. They argue that BSL is unenforceable and ineffective, and that it fails to reduce the occurrence of dog attacks because it fails to address the root cause — people.
“Instead of focusing on and punishing owners who are irresponsible and criminals who use their dogs for illegal purposes, legislatures choose to place their focus on the dogs, making them into scapegoats. Many opponents believe BSL is the equivalent of racial profiling and banning a breed is, quite possibly, unconstitutional.
Through the documentary’s website, Sherrill is raising funds to help offset its cost of the documentary, fund a public opinion survey about public perceptions of pit bulls and how the media contributes to them, and establish a legal defense fund for people trying to keep their dogs in jurisdictions that have banned them.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: attacks, beyond the myth, bites, breed, breed ban, breed specific legislation, cover y'all productions, dangerous, deaths, denver, director, discrimination, documentary, dog, dogs, graduate school, libby sherrill, media, ohio, pit bull, pit bulls, producer, profiling, satistics, scapegoats, student, trailer, university of tennessee, vicious, writer
What do these four breeds have in common — besides getting labeled as vicious from time to time?
All four (Rottweiler, Akita, chow and Staffordshire terrier, aka pit bull) are in my dog Ace, according to yet another DNA test (last one, I promise). The best guess now is that one of Ace’s parents was a Rottweiler, the other a combination of Akita, Chow and pit bull.
Together, they formed this creature:
How the product of four “feared” breeds could be such a gentle giant might be explained several ways.
For starters, they aren’t vicious breeds — just breeds that, due to the acts of a few members, have seen themselves smeared as a whole. Secondly, we would contend, when you start mixing up breeds, though some purebred purists might be offended by it, some wonderful things can happen. Third, maybe, just maybe, nurture is more important than nature.
Then again, maybe DNA testing — scientifically solid as it may be — isn’t always the full and final answer.
After all this was our third test, and our third different diagnosis.
The first DNA analysis was performed in connection with the Baltimore Sun series, “Hey Mister What Kind of Dog is That?” The Canine Heritage test from Metamorphix, using a cheek swab taken from Ace, determined he was Rottweiler and Chow. At the time, the test checked for 38 breeds.
The second came after Mars Veterinary offered us a free Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis kit, which can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. This one required a visit from a vet to take Ace’s blood, and the results showed he was 50 percent Rottweiler, 25 percent Akita, and 25 percent other unknown breeds.
While we were waiting for our results on that one, Canine Heritage got back in touch to let us know the newer version of their test — still using a cheek swab — could now detect 100 breeds. They offered us a free re-test, so we swabbed Ace’s mouth again.
The results of that one arrived in the mail last week.
Makers of the tests say it helps dog owners better understand their pets’ behavior, and better be on the lookout for potential medical problems, many of which are prevalent among certain breeds. In that regard, testing a dog’s DNA can serve a useful purpose. But there’s a potential for misusing them as well — if, for instance, they ever become a tool for enforcing breed bans.
In that case, Ace, with his components, would be Public Enemy No. 1. Should that ever come to pass, none of this ever happened, and Ace is actually a, uh … Portuguese water dog/Labradoodle mix.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: akita, breed, breed bans, breed specific legislation, canine, canine heritage, chow, chow chow, dna, dog, health, mars veterinary, metamorphix, mix, mixed, mutt, mutts, pets, pit bull, rottweiler, test, testing, wisdom panel
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 jwoestendiek 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