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City of Ottawa, KS: Repeal the Breed Specific Law on Pitbulls

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Mass media has sensationalized the Pitbull and gave them a bad name and sadly 600+ cities across the United States have banned them. Other area cities are taking a look into these out dated laws and so far Lawerence, Topeka, Kansas City, Olathe, Lenexa, Wichita, Emporia and Garnett have all moved away from breed specific laws and changed to a vicous dog law with more repercussions for neglegent owners, I think it is time Ottawa does the same. The American Temperament Test Society has tested over 30,000 dogs and found the 3 breeds of dogs that make up the "Pitbull breed" overall to be the SECOND MOST TOLERANT BREED next to GOLDEN RETREIVERS. The American Bar Association has even come out with recommendations to change the law for cities nationwide to be more focused on a "vicous dog rule" with more penalties for the neglectful owners and not the dog itself. Sadly sometimes dogs are put in bad situations and wholey on the part of an irresponsible owner can never be trusted in the public again but I urge you guys to not irradicate a whole breed of dog because of irresponsible humans. The mistrust of this breed is due in no small part to its portrayal in the media, over the past fifteen years, as a terrifying menace, engineered to fight and kill. As a result of this fearsome reputation, pit bulls have garnered a great deal of legislative attention. In response to media accounts and public fears, numerous local governments across the United States have enacted
breed-specific legislation—legislation that attempts to deal with the valid concern over vicious dog attacks by irrationally banning or strictly regulating the ownership of pit bulls and other allegedly vicious breeds. Extensive studies of the effectiveness of BSL in reducing the number of persons harmed by dog attacks were done in Spain and Great Britain. Both studies concluded that their “dangerous animals acts,” which included pit bull bans, had no effect at all on stopping dog attacks. The Spanish study further found that the breeds most responsible for bites—both before and after the breed bans—were those breeds not covered by it, primarily German Shepherds and mixed breeds. One of the few known instances in which a breed ban’s effectiveness was examined and reported on in the United States occurred in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where a task force was formed in 2003 to look at the effectiveness of its pit bull ban. The task force concluded that the public’s safety had not improved as a result of the ban, despite the fact that the county had spent more than $250,000 per year to round up and destroy banned dogs. Finding that other, non–breed–specific laws already on the books covered vicious animal, nuisance, leash, and other public health and safety concerns, the task force recommended repealing the ban. In a different study looking at dog bite data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Veterinary Medical Association together produced a report titled “Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the US between 1979 and 1998,” which appeared in the September 15, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Among its findings, the study reported that during this 20–year period, more than 25 breeds of dogs were involved in 238 human fatalities. Pit bull–type dogs caused 66 of the fatalities every single other breed on the list that makes up the other 172 fatal dog attacks are still legal to have in Ottawa. Tell me that's not lopsided.
A 2008 report on media bias by the National Canine Research Council (available on their website at compared the type of media coverage given for dog attacks that occurred during a four–day period in August 2007 with intriguing results:
On day one, a Labrador mix attacked an elderly man, sending him to the hospital. News stories of his attack appeared in one article in the local paper.
On day two, a mixed–breed dog fatally injured a child. The local paper ran two stories.
On day three, a mixed–breed dog attacked a child, sending him to the hospital. One article ran in the local paper.
On day four, two pit bulls that broke off their chains attacked a woman trying to protect her small dog. She was hospitalized. Her dog was uninjured. This attack was reported in more than 230 articles in national and international newspapers and on the major cable news networks.
It is not a stretch to see how such news coverage could influence calls for breed bans from the frightened public and its legislators.

There are options beyond ineffective breed specific legislation.

The National Canine Research Council has identified the most common factors found in fatal dog attacks occurring in 2006:

97 percent of the dogs involved were not spayed or neutered.

84 percent of the attacks involved owners who had abused or neglected their dogs, failed to contain their dogs, or failed to properly chain their dogs.

78 percent of the dogs were not kept as pets but as guard, breeding, or yard dogs.

Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, notes that “if a person keeps a dangerous dog to guard their drugs or property or for fighting purposes, they’ll just switch to a different breed and train that dog to be dangerous to get around a breed ban. The BSL accomplishes nothing in those cases.”

VanKavage points to all of the above factors as reasons for communities to focus on “reckless owners” rather than singling out specific breeds to be regulated, and she recommends improving dangerous dog laws generally, addressing the above factors without singling out any breeds. She cites St. Paul, Minnesota, and Tacoma, Washington, as both having passed model laws in 2007 that target troublesome pet owners.

The ASPCA has proposed a list of solutions for inclusion in breed–neutral laws that hold reckless dog owners accountable for their aggressive animals:

Enhanced enforcement of dog license laws, with adequate fees to augment animal control budgets and surcharges on ownership of unaltered dogs to help fund low–cost pet- sterilization programs. High–penalty fees should be imposed on those who fail to license a dog.
Enhanced enforcement of leash/dog–at–large laws, with adequate penalties to supplement animal control funding and to ensure the law is taken seriously.
Dangerous dog laws that are breed neutral and focus on the behavior of the individual dog, with mandated sterilization and microchipping of dogs deemed dangerous and options for mandating muzzling, confinement, adult supervision, training, owner education, and a hearings process with gradually increasing penalties, including euthanasia, in aggravated circumstances such as when a dog causes unjustified injury or simply cannot be controlled. (“Unjustified” typically is taken to mean the dog was not being harmed or provoked by anyone when the attack occurred.)
Laws that hold dog owners financially accountable for failure to adhere to animal control laws, and also hold them civilly and criminally liable for unjustified injuries or damage caused by their dogs.
Laws that prohibit chaining or tethering, coupled with enhanced enforcement of animal cruelty and fighting laws. Studies have shown that chained dogs are an attractive nuisance to children and others who approach them.
Laws that mandate the sterilization of shelter animals and make low–cost sterilization services widely available.


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