Slide 1: Breed Specific Legislation – Opening SlideCLICKSlide 2: How I learned about BSLA year ago, I didn’t know anything...
Slide :7 What breeds does BSL target?BSL predominantly targets pit bulls but it can include other breeds. Some of the more...
CLICKSlide 11: Pre “Pit Bull Paranoia”Before the pit bull frenzy, dogs that had received the esteemed reputation for being...
CLICKSlide 13: So what changed?Certain pit bull characteristics like the strong jaw, ability to hold on undeterred and its...
CLICKSlide 16: Media FrenzyThe ASPCA website references a study by the National Canine Research Council of dog-bite report...
Spain – RestrictionsSingapore – Restrictions and possible banAustralia – some bansCanada – some bansCLICKSlide 18: Where i...
CLICKSlide 20: OhioCLICKThe one state that has enacted statewide breed-specific laws is Ohio. Their current law states tha...
CLICKSlide 23: The Public Debate – For BSLBSL is a hotly debated topic both in and out of the courts. Beginning with the p...
CLICKSlide 24: The Public Debate – Against BSL(Note: I found a lot more websites and arguments against BSL.)Those that opp...
CLICKSlide 25: Organizations That Oppose BSLDue to the ineffectiveness of breed specific legislation, at least 15 well kno...
CLICKSlide 26: PETAWebsites galore report how PETA supports BSL. This is the position they take:“Breed specific legislatio...
The CDC has since posted the following statement on their website but still local governments and DogBite.orgcite to that ...
CLICKSlide 29: More about Statistics-   Only account for reported bites - Bite stats do not take into account the dogs of ...
CLICKSlide 30: Constitutional ChallengesSo we have discussed the public debate now let’s look at the court discussions.CON...
Procedural Due ProcessThere has actually been some success with challenges of violation of procedural due process as it re...
CLICKSlide 31: Denver Law and Current StatusDENVER LAW – BACKGROUND AND CURRENT STATUSAs I said at the beginning of my pre...
The US District Court for the District of Colorado immediately dismissed the case but the plaintiffs appealed tothe Tenth ...
“We would need the law changed, or a permanent injunction put into place so that these restrictions cannotbe upheld or enf...
CLICKSlide 34: 13 States actually Prohibit BSLCalifornia, Colorado, Florida?, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New ...
Just this October, the city of Dunkirk, (Chautauqua Co) discussed a breed specific ban to deal with its dogbiting concerns...
CLICKSlide 38: Has BSL Been Successful?As you can see here, a number of Statistics from around the country and World indic...
CLICKSlide 40: Alternatives to BSLEnact and enforce a good non-breed specific dog law making owners liable for their pets’...
CLICKSlide 41: Educate, don’t discriminateCLICKSlide 42: Punish the Deed, Not the BreedCLICKSlide 43: Gypsy – And here she...
THE END!!!!CLICK              24
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BSL Notes to Accompany PPT

  1. 1. Slide 1: Breed Specific Legislation – Opening SlideCLICKSlide 2: How I learned about BSLA year ago, I didn’t know anything about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) or that such a concept existed. Then,about 2 months before I started this class, I was watching a docudrama on National Geographic called the PitBoss. In this episode, Shorty, the lead character travelled to Denver to advocate on behalf of pit bulls and pitbull owners against the 1989 BSL banning pit bulls. To say I was shocked and horrified that a society thatprides itself on individual rights and freedom would permit government officials to barge their way intosomeone’s home and take away AND kill their beloved family pet is an understatement. I just couldn’t believeit and wanted to find out more about it. I felt sure there was some degree of poetic license going on so that iswhy I chose this as my final project.CLICKSlide 3: Gandhi Quote“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”(This quote ties nicely into my conclusion if I ever get there!)CLICKSlide 4: What is BSL?It is “Legislation aimed at eradicating or strictly regulating dogs based solely on their breed” (HSUS).Simply put BSL places restrictions on a particular breed of dog.CLICKSlide 5: BSL is based upon the premise that “breed or appearance determines a dog’s behavior.”Implementation of BSL relies upon correct identification of that breed or appearance by government officials(animal control officers), police and the public. Most of these are not qualified to make this determination. Aswe shall see later breed identification is very difficult.CLICKSlide 6: Examples of BSL RestrictionsRestrictions placed on certain breeds can include: requiring registration with a municipality, microchipping,sterilization, requiring additional liability insurance, property confinement, wearing a muzzle, labeling a dogvicious which could be either a collar tag or a sign on the property, to what I find the most shocking, removaland euthanasia of the family pet, more commonly known as a breed ban.CLICK 1
  2. 2. Slide :7 What breeds does BSL target?BSL predominantly targets pit bulls but it can include other breeds. Some of the more frequently included are:Rottweiler’s, Presa Canarios, Akitas, Boston Terriers, Wolf Hybrids, Neapolitan Mastiff and Chows. In total,some 75 breeds have appeared in BSL including …………..Pause until “75 breeds – is your dog next graphicappears”CLICKSlide :8 Including the Queen of England’s famous Corgi’s a breed that was once banned in Italy!(It is very difficult to obtain current accurate facts. There is a wealth of information out there and I had tocarefully choose reputable resources. This is such a contentious subject so there are many unreliableresources plus the laws are constantly changing.)CLICKSlide 9: So what exactly is a pit bull?We know that most BSL targets the pit bull, so what is a pit bull? Rather than a breed, it is a term used todescribe 3 different breeds with similar characteristics: the American Pit Bull terrier (APBT), the AmericanStaffordshire Terrier (AMSTAFF) and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffy).BSL addresses this complexity by including very broad definitions of the targeted breed: “Any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier; or a combination of any of these breeds….(meaning a dog “displaying the majority of physical traits” of any of these breeds or “exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club.”)CLICKSlide 10: History of BSLHow did BSL come about in the USA? BSL reared its ugly head in the early 80s as a knee-jerk reaction to whatappeared to be an increase in dog bite incidents and the resulting media “sensationalism” of pit bulls.Prior to BSL, dangerous dog laws had been the legal mechanism used to minimize dog bite injuries.The difference between the two is that dangerous dog laws regulate “ownership of dogs based on theanimal’s prior conduct” whereas BSL regulates a specific breed of dog regardless of its individual behavior. 2
  3. 3. CLICKSlide 11: Pre “Pit Bull Paranoia”Before the pit bull frenzy, dogs that had received the esteemed reputation for being dangerous or aggressivewere the German Shepherd, the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler. These dogs were typically“employed” in attacking roles such as police detective work and junk yard/used car lot guardianship, and quitesuccessfully fulfilled the “dog to be feared” role….. a seemingly necessary component of our society.CLICKSlide 12: Prior Pit Bull ReputationUp until the 1970s, the pit bull breeds actually had enjoyed a pretty positive image.As a mascot for the American military in WWI – most famous being Sergeant Stubby who became the mostdecorated war dog in history for warning troops of incoming attacks and capturing a German spy andas Tighe, the mascot for the Buster Brown Shoe Company andas the star Petey in the TV show “Our Gang” which later became “Little Rascals” andgenerally known as devoted family petsTeddy Roosevelt also had a pit bull in the White House. 3
  4. 4. CLICKSlide 13: So what changed?Certain pit bull characteristics like the strong jaw, ability to hold on undeterred and its loyalty led over theyears to it being exploited asCLICKSlide 14: Dog Fighting the dog of choice for underground dog fighting operations. In the mid-70s law enforcement and the HumaneSociety began an investigation into dog fighting. Through this process pit bulls were exposed as the dog usedfor these horrendous activities.CLICKSlide 15: Enter the mediaWhen the media learned of this they quickly became fixated with any report of pit bull biting incidents almostentirely to the exclusion of all other breeds and the gullible public soaked it all up….and pit bull hysteria wasborn! There was now a new dog to be feared!In July 1987,for example, four major magazines (Time, People, Sports Illustrated, and Rolling Stone) publishednegative cover stories and/or in-depth articles about "pit bull" dogs.Animal control officers across the country have actually told the ASPCA that when they alert the media to adog attack, news outlets respond that they have no interest in reporting on the incident unless it involves a pitbull. 4
  5. 5. CLICKSlide 16: Media FrenzyThe ASPCA website references a study by the National Canine Research Council of dog-bite reporting over afour-day period indicates that anti-pit bull bias in the media is not a theory—it’s a fact. Over the 4 days, a Labmix and 2 other mixed breed dogs were involved in serious biting incidents but each was only reported in thelocal media 1-2 times yet, when pit bulls were involved in an incident the report appeared in over 230 articlesnationally, internationally and on the major television networks including CNN,MSNBC and FOX. 1. August 18, 2007—A Labrador mix attacked a 70-year-old man, sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police officers arrived at the scene and the dog was shot after charging the officers. This incident was reported in one article in the local paper. 2. August 19, 2007—A 16-month-old child received fatal head and neck injuries after being attacked by a mixed-breed dog. This attack was reported on twice by the local paper. 3. August 20, 2007—A six-year-old boy was hospitalized after having his ear torn off and receiving a severe bite to the head by a medium-sized, mixed-breed dog. This incident was reported in one article in the local paper. 4. August 21, 2007—A 59-year-old woman was attacked in her home by two pit bulls and was hospitalized with severe, but not fatal, injuries. This attack was reported in over 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as major television news networks including CNN, MSNBC and FOX.So now the media had successfully created a catch 22 situation; the more the media “glamorized” pit bulls themore attractive pit bulls became to low lives in search of a tough aggressive icon to enhance their own sorryself image and the more pit bulls were selectively bred to enhance their fighting characteristics.CLICKSlide 17: Where is BSL Now? (Global)I guess the media can be really proud of their achievements for today BSL exists in numerous (15) countriesacross the world….Notes for me:The Netherlands banned pit bulls in 1993 but have since lifted that ban because it didn’t lead to a decrease inbite incidents.Italy also now treats all dogs the same and no longer supports BSL lawsGermany has BSLPuerto Rico - banUnited Arab Emirates – Restrictions and possible banUK – 1991 law – ban – study showed biting incidents had increased 1998-2008Ireland – ban 5
  6. 6. Spain – RestrictionsSingapore – Restrictions and possible banAustralia – some bansCanada – some bansCLICKSlide 18: Where is BSL? (National)…And in the United States, one state and hundreds of municipalities in over 40 other states have adopted BSL.Probably the most up to date list available can be found at www.understand–a–bull.com.(Difficult to find a definitive list of states and countries that have BSL so these are approximations)States (7) that don’t have any reported BSL: Maine , Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Minnesota,Wyoming, NevadaCLICKSlide 19: Military Intelligence?Today the US military has chosen to ignore the debt it owes to Sergeant Stubby and others like him.In March, 2009 the U.S. Army standardized its pet policy, barring pit breeds (like American Staffordshire bullterriers and English Staffordshire bull terriers), Rottweilers, Dobermans, chows, wolf hybrids and any othersthat display a dominant or aggressive behavior in its privatized housing.Since then, several Navy and Air Force installations have also instituted breed specific bans.In August 2009, the Marine Corps issued the first worldwide policy banning pit bulls, Rottweiler’s, wolf hybridsand any dogs with "dominant traits of aggression" from all U.S. Marine Corps bases and housing facilities.(Some of these policies allowed for grandfathering in already owned dogs but in actuality dogs were evictedby local enforcement as soon as the families were relocated.)Apparently the Obama administration had promised to look into the military’s breed ban but I have not beenable to locate any formal opinion or statement on the subject to date. 6
  7. 7. CLICKSlide 20: OhioCLICKThe one state that has enacted statewide breed-specific laws is Ohio. Their current law states that if a dog"belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull", then it is automatically considered vicious anddangerous.CLICK (Slide 21 – animation only)Owners of these dogs must submit reports to the board of health and county dog warden whenever there is atransfer of ownership. Breed-specific language in state law has also enabled local Ohio municipalities to enactstrict ordinances regarding ownership of "pit bulls" and has led to the ban and euthanasia of numerous dogs incommunities throughout the state.CLICKSlide 22: Ohio - There is Still HopeCLICKHowever, there is a comprehensive dog control bill that is currently in the legislature that would repeal Ohio’sstatewide BSL. This bill passed the house in June and was tentatively set for a Senate judiciary hearing onNovember 16th.No updates yet on the Ohio state legislature website. 7
  8. 8. CLICKSlide 23: The Public Debate – For BSLBSL is a hotly debated topic both in and out of the courts. Beginning with the public debate, those thatsupport BSL claim their goal is to put an end to dog attacks by targeting certain breeds of dog that are"inherently vicious/dangerous", and dogs that tend to appeal to people who are involved in criminal activity(i.e. drug dealers, dog fighters, , etc).DogsBite.org is a website supported by a national dog bite victims group. Their website claims to be a publiceducation resource that tracks all serious and fatal dog attacks and is “designed to protect both people andpets from future attacks”Although the site appears to target pit bulls and misrepresent some statistics and facts, I do recommendtaking time to read some of the stories on this site as it is important to understand both sides of an argument.There is no doubt that dog attacks are horrendous and can sometimes occur for no apparent reason (see BADRAP supporter Darla Napora’s story) and as responsible dog owners are something we need to be aware of. 8
  9. 9. CLICKSlide 24: The Public Debate – Against BSL(Note: I found a lot more websites and arguments against BSL.)Those that oppose BSL argue that it:Does nothing to prevent or reduce dog biting incidents as all dog breeds can bite. A study done by PrinceGeorge’s County, MD in 2003 on the effectiveness of its ban, it found that “public safety is not improved as aresult of the ban. (More on its success of failure later)Makes the breed more appealing to criminalsDoes absolutely nothing to hold irresponsible owners accountable and actually punishes responsible owners.Discriminates against people who choose to own a particular breed of dog and punishes those dogs that arereliable community citizens like therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs.Leads to some owners placing their dogs in “hiding” so the dog is no longer vetted (a public health and safetyissue).Gives the community a false sense of security as resources are diverted to enforcing BSL, they are not focusedon enforcing other dog law like sterilization, vaccinations, leash laws, microchipping, etc.Problematic to enforce because it requires identification of the breed often by inexperienced localgovernment officials resulting in thousands of pets at risk of being euthanized. It is virtually impossible toaccurately identify the breed. If you haven’t done this already, I recommend you go tohttp://www.understand-a-bull.com/Findthebull/findpitbull_v3.html and take this simple test. Ignore - A well know example of animal control officers being unable to correctly identify a breed came in 2007, when animal control removed Mike and Amy Johnson’s dog Niko from their home in Kansas City for violating the city’s ban against harboring pit bulls. Eight months and one DNA test later Niko…the boxer….was finally returned to his home!It is also very costly to enforce. Defending the legislation in the courts has proven extremely expensive formany communities: It costs Ohioans more than $17 million annually to enforce its ban on pit bulls.The UK spent $14 million in 5 years attempting to enforce its legislation.And finally…If pit bulls were outlawed…would the dog fighters just quietly go away? Those obsessed withdog fighting would either ignore the laws or would turn to other breeds. The CDC noted “the likelihood that ascertain breeds are regulated, those who exploit dogs by making them aggressive will replace them with other,unregulated breeds” We actually saw in the dog fighting video “Off the Chain” that the dog fighter beinginterviewed said that BSL would not stop him. 9
  10. 10. CLICKSlide 25: Organizations That Oppose BSLDue to the ineffectiveness of breed specific legislation, at least 15 well know reputable organizations includingthe ASPCA, the Humane Society, Best Friends and the CDC have taken a position against breed bans:You can see them all on the slideAmerican Dog Owners Association (ADOA)American HumaneAmerican Kennel Club (AKC)American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)American Working Dog Federation (AWDF)Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)Best Friends Animal SocietyCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)International Assocation of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)National Animal Control Association (NACA)National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA)National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) 10
  11. 11. CLICKSlide 26: PETAWebsites galore report how PETA supports BSL. This is the position they take:“Breed specific legislation (with a grandfather clause for those dogs already in existence) can be an importanttool in ending the tragic exploitation of these breeds.”CLICKSlide 27: A word about StatisticsBoth supporters and opposes of BSL alike cite to shocking statistics to defend their argument.DogBite.org for example is rife with dog bite statistics like “From 2005 to 2010, pit bulls killed 104 Americans,about one citizen every 21 days. Of these attacks, 50% (52) involved a family member and a household pitbull.” And in the first 8 months of 2011, nearly half of those killed by a pit bull was its owner.”Contrary to this in a video examining BSL on Current TV’s website, it quoted 20 people were killed by dogs in2009 but then drew a comparison to another statistic reporting that approximately 2,000 children are killedeach year by their parents. It also stated that individuals have a one in 25 million chance of being bitten by adog and a far greater chance of being struck by lightning.Ignore (Co-founded by Al Gore, Current TV explores provocative subjects encouraging open minds anddialogs)CLICKSlide 28: A Word about Statistics (CDC Statement)Municipalities wanting to pass breed-specific legislation (BSL) often cite the Centers for Disease Control dogbite statistics report “Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and1998” to “prove” that particular breeds are inherently vicious, or at least more so than other breeds. Thisreport is popular because it appears to show “pit bulls” as being responsible for nearly one-third (31.13%) ofhuman fatalities over the twenty year period from 1979-1998.However, following this study, the CDC decided not to support BSL citing among other problems, theinaccuracy of the dog bite data they gathered and the difficulty in identifying dog breeds (especially true ofmixed-breed dogs). As there is no national list of dog bite statistics, the CDC obtained some of their dog bitedata by scanning news articles.CLICK 11
  12. 12. The CDC has since posted the following statement on their website but still local governments and DogBite.orgcite to that flawed study.The CDC study ……… does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is notappropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic. 12
  13. 13. CLICKSlide 29: More about Statistics- Only account for reported bites - Bite stats do not take into account the dogs of a specified breed that do NOT bite. No one knows the overall percentage of Pit Bulls who bite compared to the percentage of Dalmatians or Golden Retrievers who bite- Do not identify bites that were “caused” at a groomers or vets- Do not identify whether the bites were provoked by aggressive or irresponsible human behavior.- No national registry of bite stats. Communities keep their own stats and they are based on the victims reporting and as mentioned earlier, the resulting problem of incorrect identification of the breed- And finally, any researcher will tell you that statistics are only as good as their interpretation. The question always has to be asked "Who funded the study??" Remember Matt Tully said he can hire any kind of expert witness to say whatever he wants them to say. Always keep an open mind when citing a statistic regardless of whether it is one that supports or refutes your argument. 13
  14. 14. CLICKSlide 30: Constitutional ChallengesSo we have discussed the public debate now let’s look at the court discussions.CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGESSince its inception in the 1980s, BSL has also been a contentious debate in the court system. Theconstitutionality of BSL has been called into question because unlike dangerous breed laws, BSL singles outone specific breed and therefore, the owners of that breed. Basically, these challenges have fallen under the14th amendment with concerns relating to equal protection, substantive and procedural due process andvagueness. For the most part BSL has been upheld because BSL is usually introduced in response to a seriousdog attack where dogs (usually pit bulls) are seen to be a threat to the public. So the courts tend to agree thatthe law satisfies a state or local legitimate governmental purpose of protecting the safety and welfare of thepublic and does not threaten a fundamental right because owning a pit bull is not a fundamental right.Equal Protection Challenges:Equal Protection laws must treat all individuals in similar conditions and circumstances in the same manner.Some exceptions are permissible, but they must be reasonably related to the purpose of the legislation. Inmost cases BSL is upheld as being reasonably related to its purpose.In State of Florida v. Peters, 534 So.2d 760 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1988) – the court ruled that the constitutionalguarantee of equal protection doesn’t require that all dog owners be treated similarly only pit bull owners.Over broad or under inclusive challenges have also been brought under equal protectionIn Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 (D. Ohio 1989) the village ordinance was challenged forfailing to include other breeds in its ban. The court found that failure to include other potentially dangerousbreeds did not make the law unconstitutional as long as the classification had some reasonable basis.Due Process Challenges:The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,without due process of law."Due process claims have two forms: substantive due process and procedural due process. Substantive dueprocess examines the substance of the law, while procedural due process evaluates the manner in which thelaw is administered. Violations of both have been raised in challenges to breed-specific legislation.Substantive Due ProcessLegal precedence regarding dog regulation under the substantive due process challenge was established veryearly on in two Supreme Court cases:In Sentell v. New Orleans & Carrollton R.R., 166 U.S. 698 (1897) and 23 years later in Nicchia v. New York, 254U.S. 228 (1920), the Court determined that states may regulate dogs as a valid exercise of their police powerand as such is not a deprivation of due process. 14
  15. 15. Procedural Due ProcessThere has actually been some success with challenges of violation of procedural due process as it relates tovagueness. Procedural due process requires that the regulated conduct be clearly defined and provideadequate notice so that ordinary persons can understand what is being regulated. BSL is often challengedunder this vagueness doctrine as it pertains to the definition of a pit bull. For the most part courts cite tocommon use and meaning that should put the owner on notice. However:In American Dog Owners Ass’n v. City of Des Moines, 469 N.W. 2d 416 (Iowa 1991) (supreme court of Iowa),the court found the BSL (pit breed ban) unconstitutional because the description referring to pit bull mixesand dogs with pit bull like appearances would allow for subjective enforcement and so was in violation of theowner’s due process right. 15
  16. 16. CLICKSlide 31: Denver Law and Current StatusDENVER LAW – BACKGROUND AND CURRENT STATUSAs I said at the beginning of my presentation, I became interested in BSL when I learnt about the Denver’sbreed ban. This is probably the most well known and contentious of BSLs so I wanted to talk a little bit aboutthe litigation surrounding that and the current status.Denver first enacted its pit bull ordinance in 1989 in response to two separate dog biting incidents; a boy waskilled and a minister severely injured. Since the ban, thousands of pit bulls have been killed. In 2005 and 2006alone, the city euthanized 1,454 dogs.CLICKSlide 32: Denver Law Defines a Pit BullThe Denver law defines a pit bull: "any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds."Following its enactment there have been several unsuccessful challenges.Then in 2004, then Governor Bill Owens signed a measure prohibiting Colorado municipalities and countiesfrom enacting breed-specific legislation. In response on April 24, 2004, Denver suspended enforcement of itspit bull ban but immediately challenged the state on its home-rule right to enforce. Shortly thereafter, a judgeruled that Denver’s BSL could be allowed to stand as a home rule exception. So on May 8, 2005 Denverreinstated its BSL.CLICKSlide 33: Denver Law SuitsSince then, there have been a couple of lawsuits that are still active that may well pave the way to overturningDenver’s and neighboring city Aurora’s pit bull bans.Dias v. The City and County of ColoradoIn 2007, 3 pit bull owners (Sonya Dias, Hillary Engle and Sheyrl White) alleged the Denver ordinance deprivedthem of procedural due process, substantive due process and equal protection of the law. They wanted theban removed and sought damages for the costs they incurred in moving out of the city to avoid losing theirdogs. 16
  17. 17. The US District Court for the District of Colorado immediately dismissed the case but the plaintiffs appealed tothe Tenth Circuit. As part of the argument the plaintiffs stated that the 1989 law was based on the body ofknowledge about pit bulls that was around at that time, but that 20 years later that knowledge has changedand no longer includes evidence supporting the necessity of a breed ban. The Tenth Circuit did not rule on themerits of the case but reversed the dismissal and remanded it for further litigation under the substantive dueprocess claim indicating that a pit bull ban is plausibly not rationally related to a legitimate governmentinterest.Denver then asked the US District Court to issue a summary judgment to end the case, claiming there were nomaterial facts at issue regarding whether the ordinance is rationally related to a legitimate governmentpurpose. However, the court after hearing expert opinion from both sides as to whether pit bulls are morelikely to bite than other breeds, partly denied Denver’s motion leaving the claim of violation of the plaintiffs’substantive due process pending (9/29/10)(Part of the problem was that defendant’s expert misused and misquoted data contained in the CDC report Idiscussed earlier). That was the most recent information I could find on that case without having access toLexis or Westlaw but so far so good.The second case was preceded by the U.S. Department of Justice issuing final rules regarding banned-breedservice dogs. The rules, which took effect in March 2011 in a new provision of the Americans with DisabilitiesAct, prohibit dogs being banned as service dogs because of their breed.Grider et al v. City and County of Denver et alAs soon as DOJ issued its final ruling in 2010, (on March 31, 2010), the Animal Law Center filed a federallawsuit on behalf of 3 disabled plaintiffs and later Shorty Rossi (Pit Boss) challenging the breed bans in Denverand the neighboring city of Aurora that prevented residents from having pit bulls as service dogs… on the basisthat the ban violates portions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.(Aurora may have adopted its own BSL to keep Denver’s pit bulls from coming in) (The episode of the Pit Bossthat I saw showed the 1/21/2011 demonstration in support of the law suit)However, still undeterred, both cities refused to amend their BSL. But finally, in April of this year, Denver’sdirector of Animal Care and Control filed an affidavit stating that to be in compliance with the ADA, the citywill not prevent use of pit bulls for service dogs.Then in May, 2011, Aurora passed an ordinance that relaxed some restrictions on the use of pit bulls as servicedogs and the city council approved repeal of their BSL for all restricted breeds except the "pit bull" (APBT, AST,SBT). So their ordinance still contains pit bull restrictions, such as requiring pit bulls to be kept behind securefences when in a yard.Apparently both jurisdictions are currently reconsidering their dog breed bans but Jennifer Reba Edwards(attorney on the Pit Boss lawsuit) intends to proceed with the lawsuit until she’s convinced her clients may usetheir service dogs without restrictions and without the fear that the dogs may be taken away by anoverzealous animal control officer. 17
  18. 18. “We would need the law changed, or a permanent injunction put into place so that these restrictions cannotbe upheld or enforced against people with service animals,” she says.(Motion to Dismiss plaintiffs’ amended complaint 4/15/11) 18
  19. 19. CLICKSlide 34: 13 States actually Prohibit BSLCalifornia, Colorado, Florida?, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,Texas, Virginia, and Washington – (There was a bill in the Florida legislature SB 1276 in 2010 to overturn thisprohibition – not sure of the outcome)CLICKSlide 35: New York State and BSLNew York State is one of the 13 states that prohibit discriminatory breed profiling and breed specificdangerous dog laws by local governments.CLICK (Just for animation)CLICKSlide 36: New York State and BSL – Article 7Article 7, Section 107, Paragraph 5 of Agriculture and Markets law states:“Nothing contained in this article shall prevent a municipality from adopting its own program for the control ofdangerous dogs; provided, however, that no such program shall be less stringent than this article, and no suchprogram shall regulate such dogs in a manner that is specific as to breed.”New York municipalities with breed specific laws cannot legally enforce them however; we have just heardhow Denver and Aurora have blatantly ignored Colorado’s law prohibiting BSL so we cannot necessarilyconsider ourselves safe here in New York. According to http://rott-n-chatter.webs.com/ there are about adozen NY communities who have some form of BSL on their books, however, I researched those municipalitieslisted and discovered that some had in fact already removed the reference to “pit bull” from their legislation.There are however, three communities that I found where BSL still appears to be current: (I have copies withme)CLICKSlide 37: New York State and BSL – 3 MunicipalitiesVillage of Larchmont, Westchester County - Pit bull ban effective 1998. Any previously owned pit bulls wereallowed to remain but the owner was required to carry insurance of $500,000.Village of Sands Point, Nassau County, LI – Restriction requires that pit bull owners carry $300,000 insuranceVillage of Hempstead, Nassau County, LI – Restriction requires that pit bull owners carry $100,000 insurance 19
  20. 20. Just this October, the city of Dunkirk, (Chautauqua Co) discussed a breed specific ban to deal with its dogbiting concerns and one councilmember stated he would definitely support such an option. Fortunately, othermembers of the council are aware of the NY law prohibiting such an ordinance so they are currentlyconsidering alternatives.Aside from municipalities, New York City’s public housing authority (city, state and federally funded) has oneof the strictest bans in the country, prohibiting residents from keeping pure-bred or mixed-breed pit bulls,Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers, as well as any dog, with the exception of service dogs, expected toweigh more than 25 pounds when grown. (4/2009). According to a September, 2009, New York Times article,many dogs have been turned in and euthanized because of this ban. 20
  21. 21. CLICKSlide 38: Has BSL Been Successful?As you can see here, a number of Statistics from around the country and World indicate that BSL has not beenparticularly successfulIn a 2010 study by the National Canine Research Council the authors calculate that in order to prevent a singlehospitalization resulting from a dog bite, a city or town would have to ban more than 100,000 dogs of atargeted breed. To prevent a second hospitalization, double that number. Dog-bite related fatalities are soextremely rare that not even one state could ban enough dogs to insure that they had prevented even onefatality.CLICKSlide 39: A Warning – Canine Research StudyI thought this was pretty interesting…..A study done by the Matrix Canine Research Institute predicts that ifnothing is done to oppose BSL, there will be worldwide coverage by 2022 and this is not just for pit bulls, morepure breeds will be added and most will target dogs over 40 lbs. 21
  22. 22. CLICKSlide 40: Alternatives to BSLEnact and enforce a good non-breed specific dog law making owners liable for their pets’ actions. There aresome model non-breed specific laws available on the internet. One resource is stopbsl.com alsobestfriends.comEnforce leash laws -- fine owners who let their dogs run loose or fail to keep them in secure enclosures. Usethe money collected from these fines to fund community dog safety and responsible ownership programs.Employ significant penalties for those involved in any inhumane or irresponsible activity with animals.Educate the public about responsible dog ownership and dog behavior – AKC has a free education program ondog care for elementary schools.Increase funding for animal control agenciesPrevent criminals from owning dogsRegulate breedersFund spay and neuter programsProvide low cost obedience training classes and behavioral assistanceUse an economic analysis tool to determine the cost of a proposed BSL(Attorney Ledy VanKavage, considered one of the country’s foremost experts on BSL and Best Friends AnimalSociety have developed an economic analysis tool (view it at their website, www.bestfriends.org) that wouldhelp cities determine the potential fiscal impact of enforcing BSL versus having a good non–breed–specificdangerous dog law in place.) 22
  23. 23. CLICKSlide 41: Educate, don’t discriminateCLICKSlide 42: Punish the Deed, Not the BreedCLICKSlide 43: Gypsy – And here she is my wonderful little pit mix…or is she?Conclusion (Read this leaving Gypsy’s Picture up)In summary, I feel that the once voracious embracing of BSL as the cure all pill to the dog biting “problem” hasbegun to wane slightly, with some municipalities repealing BSL laws, and some states prohibiting BSL, butthere is still a long way to go to the day that pit bulls are just referred to as “dogs.”Unfortunately, the most likely way this will happen is when another breed of dog reaches notoriety feedingthe media and the public’s seemingly unwavering desire to be fearful about something.What would be a far superior solution is if man/society for once just took responsibility for its actions, openedits eyes and realized that man created the problem so let’s hold man responsible.Of course, we clearly do not live in an ideal world nor do we live in a society that treats its animals well. Ibelieve in judging a dog on the deed not breed premise however, it goes far beyond that as we don’t everwant to get to the “deed” what we need to do is stop pussy footing around the criminal element in our societythat perpetrate animal fighting.Man is cruel to the dogs they use for their profit and perverse pleasure in the fighting world but instead ofprotecting the dog from these men, BSL solidifies/compounds that abuse by holding the victim accountable.Yes we are moving in the right direction with more stringent laws like the Bush Administration’s AnimalFighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (2007) and NYS making presence at a dog fight now a misdemeanorrather than a violation BUT still the punishments are pathetic.There is a lot of “do good” talkers out there that supports our society’s premise that anyone who has servedtheir time should be given a second chance regardless of the crime. Sorry, I don’t buy it…Vick should not havebeen given a second chance to a profitable career, I don’t care how good of a football player he is…hecertainly shouldn’t be permitted to ever go near another dog let alone own one…AND what really bothers me is that our President went out of his way to call up the owner Jeffrey Lurie, ofthe Philadelphia Eagles, to congratulate him on giving Vick a second chance!!! Why would he make it hisbusiness to do that; is a football player really that important to the national agenda? I was so sorry when Ilearned that he did that so very, very disappointed….is there any hope? What kind of message did he intendto send the public and what kind of message did he actually send…? 23
  24. 24. THE END!!!!CLICK 24

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