Friday, September 28, 2012

Responsible Advocacy

They are beautiful, loving dogs
if not mistreated by ugly, mean human beings.

Senator Mark C.W. Montigny

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Revised: Oct 1 2012, 18:37 GMT
Revised: Oct 1 2012, 19:51 GMT
Revised: Oct 7 2012, 18:29 GMT
Revised: Nov 20 2012; 03:59 GMT

The New Bedford (MA) Standard Times reported Sen Montigny's comment on August 2nd. In the days since his comment was published (from Aug 2 through today, Sept 28) the following people have been killed by pit bulls:
  • Rebecca Carey, DeKalb County GA
  • Charles Hagerman, Cook County IL
  • Deborah Wilson Roberts, Jefferson County, AR
  • James Hudson, Perquimans County NC
  • Rayden Bruce, Johnson/Tarrant County TX
  • Nellie Davis, Oklahoma County OK *
All of these canine homicides were committed by well-cared-for family pit bulls.

Advocates of fighting breeds claim that properly socialized and cared-for pit bulls will not attack; that if their owners are responsible the pit bulls will be beautiful, loving dogs, to use the Senator's words. Reality proves otherwise.

Reasonable voices must be heard on both sides of this contentious issue, but where are the reasonable advocates of fighting breeds? We might expect responsible advocacy from the highly paid career advocates who work for humane societies with multi-million dollar budgets (such as Ledy VanKavage, Kara Holmquist, Wayne Pacelle and others). If these executives make fantastic claims and fail to confront the truth about pit bulls they dishonor Nellie Davis and the dozens of other victims.

SRUV has made repeated appeals for animal welfare and humane CEOs and executives to act as responsible advocates. Among our requests:
  • We have asked Senators Montigy and Jehlen of Massachusetts to explain why the advocates of fighting breeds provided input to the recent legislation, while the municipal leaders who are charged with protecting the public were denied a voice.
  • We have asked Kara Holmquist, the Director of Advocacy of the MSPCA, to explain her claim that pit bulls show no more aggressive tendencies than Golden Retrievers. This is an outrage to reason.
  • We have asked Pam Peebles, the Executive Director of the Thomas J O'Connor Foundation in Springfield, to back up her claim that a Golden Retriever attacked a woman who was subsequently hospitalized for three days. No proof has been forthcoming.
  • We have made several requests for ANY CEO or executive of ANY major animal welfare or humane society to address the fact that pit bulls have killed, on average, 25 people a year over the last three years (2009-2011).**  We have asked them to explain why they continue to support pit bull adoptions despite this record of attacks. We asked them to avoid the conventional talking point responses such as abusive owners, which is an irresponsible, evasive response.
Not a single advocate of fighting breeds has responded to any of these requests.

We've come to expect irresponsible comments in the chatrooms and social media. The manifold  irresponsibility is on the part of the humane CEOs and executives. Not only do they establish or support policies which deflect responsibility away from the attacking dogs, but they avoid the personal responsibility their positions demand of them.

The advocates of fighting breeds must address the issue of pit bull attacks if they expect to be taken seriously by the public they serve.

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* For details see Fatal Pit Bull Attacks
** Statistics are from Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada. To view or download the current report click here.

News source for this post:
Funds for Animal Control Bill Secured by Sen Montigny

Other news sources:
Law bans breed-specific dog regulation, SouthCoast Today
Brockton police shoot charging pit bull, Enterprise News
State law trumps Worcester pit bull regs, Worcester Telegram
New state law could maul Lowell's pit bull ordinance, Lowell Sun
Mayor Menino: Animal-rights law . . . ., Boston Herald
Violent MA pit bulls now Schenectady's problem, Albany Times Union
Hundreds of pit bull attacks listed in Boston, Boston Herald
City Leaders Outraged, WBZ CBS

MA Legal Blogs:
Pit Bull Ordinances Nullified Under New State Law
The Law and Pit Bull Attacks and Pit Bull Ordinances

Research: Effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in decreasing the incidence of dog-bite injury hospitalisations in people in the Canadian province of Manitoba

Google News Today's pit bull attacks