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 jwoestendiek 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
By taking steps to register the estimated two-thirds of dogs in Los Angeles who aren’t licensed, the city stands to gain $3.6 million.
So, being in dire of of revenue, that’s exactly what it’s doing, the Los Angeles Times reports.
About 120,000 dogs are licensed in the city, as required by law; it’s estimated that there are twice that many whose owners are not following the rules.
The task of locating unlicensed dogs falls to eight full-time canvassers for the Department of Animal Services, who roam the city looking for canines with no licenses or expired licenses and handing out information on spaying and neutering.
But they’ll soon be getting some help. On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a motion to have the Department of Animal Services coordinate with the Department of Water and Power, which keeps a database from its meter readers of residences with dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animal services, animals, california, census, count, dogs, enforcement, fees, license, licenses, los angeles, millions, pets, register, revenue
Public registries for convicted animal abusers — much like those that monitor and publish the whereabouts of sexual offenders – have been proposed in California and are being encouraged in other states in a campaign by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Those convicted of felonies in cases involving torture, mutilation, intentional killing, dogfighting, neglect and hoarding would be listed on state registries under the proposal, announced yesterday in an Animal Legal Defense Fund press release.
The ALDF says such registries would help protect animals, pet guardians and communities by preventing repeat offenses from anyone with an established history of abusing animals.
Through its campaign, www.ExposeAnimalAbusers.org, the animal protection organization is promoting model legislation that state legislatures could enact.
Bills to establish registries have been introduced in Rhode Island, Colorado, and Tennessee, but the first-ever bill for a statewide registry in California was announced yesterday by its sponsor, Sen. Dean Florez.
The ALDF cited several cases that show the need for such registries:
In 2004, Robert Rydzewski, a 29-year-old man living in upstate New York shot his neighbor’s dog in the face twice. Two months later, he killed another neighbor’s Welsh Corgi with an ax. Rydzewski was convicted of “torturing or injuring” an animal, and he has since been arrested for assaulting people and resisting arrest. His whereabouts are unknown.
In 1999 Shon Rahrig, while living in Ohio, allegedly adopted several cats and a puppy from local shelters and tortured them sadistically. He poked out the eyes of a cat named Misty, broke her legs and jaw, cut off her paws, and left her bleeding in a laundry basket. His girlfriend turned him in, and he took a plea bargain that admitted abuse of only one animal. Rahrig was forbidden to own an animal for five years, but he was subsequently seen at an adoption event in California.
Since 1982, Vikki Kittles has been run out of four states for hoarding animals. Time and again, she has been caught housing dozens of sick, neglected animals in squalid conditions. An Oregon prosecutor convicted Kittles in 1993 after finding 115 sick and dying dogs crammed into a school bus, but she has gone on to hoard animals again in Oregon and other states several times since.
“Animal abuse is not only a danger to our cats, dogs, horses, and other animals, but also to people, said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Many animal abusers have a history of domestic violence or other criminal activity, and there is a disturbing trend of animal abuse among our country’s most notorious serial killers.”
The ALDF pointed out that Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz (“The Son of Sam”), Albert DeSalvo (“The Boston Strangler”) and Dennis Rader (Kansas’ “BTK killer”) all abused animals before their other crimes, as did many of the teenagers who went on shooting rampages at high schools in Columbine, Colorado, Pearl, Mississippi, and Springfield, Oregon.
“But it’s not just about how animal abusers end up also hurting or killing humans,” said Wells. “It should be motivation enough to protect our animals from repeat offenders – and any abuse of any kind.”
To sign a petition calling for the establishment of such a registry in your area, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, abuser, abusers, animal, animal legal defense fund, animals, california, cats, cruelty, david berkowitz, dean florez, dogfighting, dogs, felony, jeffrey dahmer, killing, mutilation, offenders, register, registries, registry, robert rydzewski, senator, shon rahrig, ted bundy, torture, vikki kittles, violence
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
Margaret Bucher, the Wheeling, Illinois woman who was instructed to get rid of one of her five dogs because she was over the local dog limit, has wheedled her way out of the requirement.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled Monday that she can keep her fifth dog, the suburban Chicago Daily Herald reports.
We first told you about Bucher back in early April, when she appeared before the village board, trying to get an exemption from the rule by bringing a letter of support from her mail carrier, and a letter ”written” by her dogs: “Please let us stay in our home. We are house dogs and live in a clean home. We have to depend on our owner to fight for us. She loves us very, very much.”
The emotional plea fell flat, so Bucher found a technicality.
Bucher was issued two citations, after the meeting, for violating the village’s four-pets-only rule and for not registering all of her dogs. She was facing daily fines of between $50 and $500.
Appearing in court for that, and representing herself, Bucher argued the village ordinance did not specify four pets per household, but instead four pets per person. In that case, she said, since she lives with her 43-year-old daughter, they should be able to keep all five dogs – a Pomeranian, two Maltese, a Shih Tzu, and a Maltese/shih tzu mix — or, for that matter, as many as eight.
After 35 minutes of hearing arguments from both sides, the judge sided with Bucher and advised village officials to rewrite the ordinance if it wants to limit households to four pets.
Bucher, 63, broke out into tears at the ruling. “I just screamed and I just ran and hugged everybody I could find to hug.”
Village officials, meanwhile are considering an appeal, or a rewrite. They’re also considering lowering the limit on pets to three per home in multifamily residential complexes, meaning it would impose a different standard on those who dwell in apartments, condominiums or townhouses.
A relieved Bucher was on her way Monday afternoon to to register her fifth dog, Gizmo, in her daughter’s name. “Gizzy is going to be so excited,” Bucher said. “We’re going to order a pizza. My dogs love cheese pizza.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: apartments, appeal, arguments, board, condominiums, dog, dog limit, dogs, five dogs, illinois, judge, law, limits, maltese, margaret bucher, multifamily, number, per dwelling, per family, pets, pomeranian, register, requirement, residence, rules, shih-tzu, technicality, townhouses, village, wheeling