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Tag: relinquish

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)

Program pairs trainers with problem dogs

Behavior problems are the main reason dogs end up in shelters, the main reason they get returned, and the main reason that some of them never get out.

So it only makes sense that helping dogs and the families that adopt them resolve those issues would lead to far more happier endings and far fewer dogs being put down.

Realizing that, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah has developed a new program in conjunction with the Monmouth County SPCA that matches dog trainers with shelters and families whose dogs have behavioral issues.

Sam Wike, the first trainer accepted into the program, is shown in this video working with Rufus, one of the first dogs referred by Best Friends’ Community Training Partner program. Wike is the lead trainer at Purr’n Pooch, a pet boarding/training/grooming facility in New Jersey.

Rufus, who was in the Monmouth County SPCA, needed a “finishing school” environment in order to be ready to be adopted, Best Friends says. Now he’s completed the training and is ready for adoption.

The main goal of the program is to lower the number of dogs returned to shelters and to counsel people considering relinquishing their dogs because of behavior issues.

When a family comes into the shelter to turn in their dog, a staff counselor sits down with them, and talks through the reasons the family is considering giving up their pet. Owners then are offered the option of training and behavior modification for their dogs, which is funded through the Best Friends program.

“We started this January working with the staff and we’ve also initiated doggy play groups with the shelter dogs,” Wike said. “The play groups help the dogs to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs. The dogs burn off excess energy romping with each other and it’s a great showcase for their personalities when potential adopters come by the shelter,” Wike said.