Citywide pit bull bans are often knee jerk reactions — maybe even more so when a county sheriff”s knees are involved.
One week after Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was approached in his yard by four dogs “acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds” — and fired a shotgun at them, grazing one — the Alabama city of Clay passed a “vicious dog” ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
The sheriff, according to a spokesman, fired a warning shot into the ground, then another round of ”bird shot” in the direction of the dogs, leading them to turn away. Animal control arrived to round up the dogs, and their owner was charged with letting them run at large. The dog hit by Hale’s shot survived, AL.com reported.
That incident prompted the city council in Clay, with a speed seldom seen in government affairs, to pass an ordinance banning pit bulls and other “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs.
The ordinance bans new pit bulls and mixes that include pit bull. Such dogs already kept in the city limits are grandfathered in but must be registered with the city in the next 60 days. The ordinance requires they be kept indoors and mandates owners post a prominently displayed ”beware of dog” sign. Owners are also required to have $50,000 in liability insurance. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Having sought little public input before passing the law on June 3, the city council has gotten some since, AL.com reports.
A standing room only crowd filled Monday night’s meeting of the Clay City Council, with most citizens arguing the breed is not “inherently dangerous” and criticizing the law for unfairly penalizing responsible owners. Many, including a representative from the Birmingham Humane Society, urged the council to consider a non-breed specific dangerous dog law instead.
One speaker continued to voice his concerns after his turn to speak was over. When told he was interrupting, he continued his comments, leading Mayor Charles Webster — perhaps deeming him to be inherently dangerous — to ban him from the room.
“You are turning us all into criminals,” the man, identified as Mark Lawson, said as a deputy led him outside.
City Attorney Alan Summers said he would try to have a new or modified ordinance for the council to consider at its next meeting on July 1.
(Top photo by Jeremy Gray / AL.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, ban, banned, breed-specific, breeds, charles webster, citizens, city council, clay, county, criticism, fines, insurance, jefferson, knee jerk, laws, legislation, mayor, meeting, mike hale, mixed, ordinance, pit bull, pit bull bans, pit bulls, pit mixes, pitbull, pitbulls, reactions, restrictions, review, sheriff, shooting, shot, signs
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)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attacks, ban, boston, boston animal control, breed-specific, charles rudack, citations, disposable, dogs, effectiveness, fines, ignored, law, legislation, muzzles, news, ohmidog!, ordinance, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, register, relinquish, tickets, turn over, violators
Banning pit bulls has had no significant effect on slowing the number of dog bites in Ontario, Canada, according to a study by the Toronto Humane Society.
Results of a humane society survey of municipalities show no significant drop in dog bite cases since the provincial government passed breed specific legislation in 2005 — a law that required pit bulls to be muzzled in public and resulted in “countless” pit bulls and Staffordshire Terriers being destroyed.
In a statement Wednesday, the humane society called on the provincial government to amend the legislation and ” stop the punishment of innocent animals,” the Toronto Sun reports.
According to statistics, there was a 10 percent drop in dog bite cases in 2005, but after 2006 the number increased to the 2004 level.
The law was touted by the attorney general at the time as one that would “make our streets safer.”
Apparently, it has not, Humane Society spokesman Ian McConachie noted.
McConachie said outlawing specific dog breeds “targets the wrong source of the problem: “Dogs are not born violent,” but are “made that way by irresponsible owners who train them to be that way or neglect them …”
“If we want to reduce the number of dog bites we have to address the route cause of the problem, those irresponsible owners who do not appropriately care for their animals.” he said.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bites, breed-specific, breeds, canada, dog bites, laws, legislation, news, ohmidog!, ontario, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, staffordshir terriers, statistics, study, toronto, toronto humane society
Whether an Australian couple’s half million dollar investment in keeping their $300 dog alive was successful is expected to be learned today.
Kylie Chivers and John Mokomoko have been locked in a six-year battle with the Gold Coast City Council in the Supreme Court over its identification of their dog Tango as an American pit bull, as opposed to an American staffordshire terrier.
The city’s ruling that Tango is a pit bull meant the dog was automatically deemed dangerous and would be required to be euthanized.
To avoid that, the family moved Tango to a kennel more than five years ago, where it could be registered as an American staffordshire terrier.
Today, a judge is to decide Tango’s fate in a decision which could have ramifications for thousands of dog owners, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports. The city is arguing the American pit bull and American staffordshire terrier are the same breed, which means it would fall under its breed ban.
“The fallout of the decision could be horrendous,” said Mokomoko, 47, who works as a Brisbane airport security officer.
The case prompted Mokomoko to work 98-hour weeks at his former security job at a desalination plant to pay the cost of the kennel, weekly travel, lawyers and documentation, including Freedom of Information requests, and video evidence.
Along with thousands of pages of documents, the couple also obtained DNA samples from Tango’s parents and submitted a breed identification test to the court, arguing the 22-point identification checklist was flawed.
The American staffordshire terrier clubs of Queensland, Victoria and Northern Territory have asked the city council to drop the case.
If the family wins, Mokomoko believes it will prompt litigation from other owners who may have had their dog wrongfully identified as pit bulls.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american staffordshire terrier, animals, australia, ban, breed, breed-specific, checklist, city council, definition, description, dogs, euthanized, gold coast, identification, identifying, john mokomoko, news, ohmidog!, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbulls, put down, tango
The city council in Jackson, Miss., plans to reconsider a proposal to ban pit bulls from the city after last month’s death of a five-year-old girl.
City Councilman Jeff Weill believes he has enough votes to ban pit bull terriers from the city, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
Weill, who has long pushed to ban pit bulls, had all but abandoned his idea. But the Feb. 12 attack that killed Anataisa Bingham in Terry has rekindled concerns.
The city considered outlawing pit bulls in 2006, but ban was removed from a proposed ordinance when pit bull owners and breeders complained.
Only two council members oppose banning the breed, one of whom, Tony Yarber, is a pit bull owner.
Weill said he plans to bring the ban up for a vote next week at a meeting of the council’s rules committee. If it passes, the ordinance would move to the full council for public hearings and a final vote.
Weill suggested the ban could be gradual, and said it might make exceptions for pit bulls that are already family pets.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attack, ban, breed, breed-specific, city, city council, council, death, dogs, girl, jackson, jeff weill, law, legislation, mississippi, ordinance, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls
The city of Denver’s faulty logic just got proven even faultier.
As if the city’s ban on pit bulls, which has led to hundreds of dogs being put to death, weren’t ill-advised enough, there’s this: Apparently even experts can’t correctly identify a pit bull visually.
Denver Post columnist Bill Johnson took part in experiment this week , along with about two dozen animal-shelter directors, volunteers, dog trainers and others. They viewed 20 dogs on videotape and were asked to identify each one — whether it was purebred or mixed and, if the latter, what it was a mixture of.
Johnson got the breed correct one time, and the professionals didn’t fare much better.
The breed identification study was administered by Victoria L. Voith, a professor of animal behavior in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University in Pomona in California.
Shelter workers, she explained, are generally 75 percent wrong when they guess the breed of a dog — and most do just guess. The only sure-fire way of knowing, she said, is DNA testing, which most shelters don’t use.
“Visual identification simply is not in high agreement with DNA analysis,” Voith said. “Dogs in Denver may be dying needlessly,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, breed, breed bans, breed testing, breed-specific, denver, dna, dna testing, dna tests, dog, dogs, errors, euthanasia, euthanized, identification, identify, incorrect, mistakes, mixed breeds, pit bulls, pitbulls, purebreds, victoria voith, western university
Of 85 dogs in South Carolina that belong to the three breeds banned from Marine housing, only two proved to be potentially dangerous when tested by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
As a result, the other 83 were granted exemptions from the Marine’s worldwide breed ban and will be allowed to continue to reside at Marine bases until 2012.
The Marines this year banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and canine-wolf mixes because their “dominant traits of aggression present an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of personnel.” But owners who can show through assessments that their dogs aren’t dangerous may get waivers and keep them on bases through 2012.
Of the 85 dogs assessed by the ASPCA, two will have to leave base housing, according to the Orangeburg Times and Democrat. Two others showed aggressive tendencies but one will work with a trainer and another will be neutered.
The breed ban came after a 3-year-old boy was fatally attacked by a pit bull at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The pets at the Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot, the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and the Beaufort Naval Hospital were assessed by experts from the ASPCA during three days of tests this week.
The tests seemed to confirm what most of us already know — breed-specific rules and legislation are sheer folly.
“We believe breed bans cannot be effective because of this. We found some really great animals and families,” ASPCA animal behavior expert Emily Weiss said. “We don’t think it’s a breed issue. We think it’s an individual behavior issue and what we saw at the base verifies that.”
Capt. Brian Block, a Marine Corps spokesman, noting what happened at Camp Lejeune, said “having one dog who would do that is not an acceptable risk from our point of view.”
Pet owners at other Marine bases can have their dogs assessed by veterinarians.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aspca, assessments, bans, bases, breed, breed ban, breed-specific, dangerous, exemptions, marines, pit bulls, rottweilers, south carolina, temperament, testing, tests, wolf hybrids
The U.S. Marine Corps –which had outlawed pit bulls, wolf hybrids, Rottweilers and any other dog with “dominant traits of aggression” at several of its bases — has now instituted a blanket, worldwide breed ban for all of its bases.
Stars and Stripes reports that the policy was approved in August.
The policy allows Marines and families currently living in base housing to keep their pets if they apply for a waiver by Oct. 10 and if their dogs pass a behavior test. That waiver will last only as long as the family remains at the same base or until Sept. 30, 2012.
By that date, under the policy, all Marine housing and Marine-controlled housing should be free of any full or mixed breeds considered pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf hybrids.
Daisy Okas, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club in New York, told Stars and Stripes that the policy comes as more local governments and public housing facilities are instituting similar bans.
”We’re seeing breed-specific bans pretty regularly,” she said. “We’re very against it. We look at how a dog behaves. It’s a frustrating topic.”
Posted by John Woestendiek October 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, animals, ban, bases, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, dog, dogs, housing, marines, pets, pit bulls, rottweilers, waivers, wolf hybrids, worldwide
Marine and Army bases that have banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other “dangerous dogs” — and with all due respect, sir, we’d suggest they review the previous post about Ella — are in some cases permitting owners of those breeds to apply for waivers allowing their pets to continue living on base.
The Marines Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina has agreed to allow animal behavior experts from the ASPCA to give temperament tests next week to more than 100 dogs. Dogs who pass get a waiver to stay on base until 2012.
The assessment includes testing the dog’s comfort level around strangers and children and how it behaves around its food and toys, according to an ASPCA press release.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 29th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animals, army, aspca, bans, base, bases, behavior, breed, breed bans, breed-specific, marines, parris island, pets, pit bulls, rottweilers, south carolina, testing, waiver, waivers
There’s some irony in here somewhere:
In June, Sioux City Councilman Aaron Rochester had his dog seized by authorities after the dog bit a man and was deemed vicious. Under the local dangerous dog ordinance, the dog has to be euthanized.
The councilman appealed Animal Control’s decision twice, and has until Aug. 16 to appeal again. But he said he has no plan to do that, according to an Associated Press story.
Many others came forward to try and save the dog, including someone who came forward with wire cutters, broke into an outdoor kennel at Sioux City Animal Control, and stole the councilman’s dog. No other dogs in adjacent pens were taken — only Jake, the councilman’s 3-year-old yellow Labrador.
Police say there are no suspects, and Rochester was adamant that he didn’t take his dog and has no idea who did.
To top it all off, Rochester is the councilman who led a successful effort last year to ban pit bull terriers from Sioux City, Iowa, saying they were too dangerous.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aaron rochester, animal control, appeal, ban, breed-specific, city councilman, dangerous, dog, euthanasia, euthanize, iowa, law, ordinance, pit bull, shelter, sioux city, stolen, theft, vicious, yellow labrador