Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RISPCA vs Boston

No animal should be trusted because they are unpredictable entities.
Dr. E.J. Finocchio, RI SPCA

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Dear Dr Finocchio,

We beg to differ. Canines and humans have evolved together precisely because dogs can be trusted. For the director of the RISPCA to suggest otherwise is to undermine the relationship that millions of children, families, farmers, hunters, herders, and disabled individuals enjoy and depend on.


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Advocates of fighting breeds would have it both ways. Sometimes they claim that pit bulls are no different (and no more dangerous) than Golden Retrievers; in short, all dogs are as safe as lambs.

On other occasions the advocates of fighting breeds claim, as Dr Finocchio has, that all dogs are unpredictable and can't be trusted. They claim that even chihuahuas and dachshunds are as aggressive as pit bulls; in short, all dogs are wolves in sheepskin.

The goal, with either argument, is to blur the distinction between pit bulls and other breeds, so we will come to believe that pit bulls are no different from any other dog. A look at today's news proves otherwise.

SRUV has written extensively about both arguments. The "safe as lambs" argument is discussed in nearly twenty posts concerning pit bulls and Golden Retrievers. The "wolves in sheepskin" argument has also been covered, notably in RSPCA ACT and All Dogs Bite.

Dr Finocchio has chosen the second (wolves in sheepskin) approach. He is certainly aware that pit bulls have killed, on average, 25 people a year over the last three years.  Why would a highly-paid career animal welfare executive imply that all other dog breeds are as unstable as pit bulls?

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News sources:
RISPCA says muzzling pit bulls in public will not prevent attacks
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

Statistics on SRUV are from the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here. This page may also include information from Dogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Information on euthanasia rates is from Pit bulls and Political Recklessness, by Merritt Clifton. Shelter  intake and euthanasia rates are published annually in the July/August edition of Animal People.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks