Sunday, March 17, 2013

He said WHAT?!

Revised: Mar 17, 2013; 20:35 GMT
Revised: Mar 18, 2013; 18:13 GMT

There are two approaches to the naming of pit bulls; the first is sweetness and light. Pit bulls bearing these names are often accessorized with polka-dot scarves. The second approach is the polar opposite and features names evoking strength, ferocity, or violence. The owners of these dogs are not trying to hide anything; in fact, these owners are projecting a violent nature onto their dogs.

The jury is out on which of the two naming theories prevails; clearly, conventional dog names such as Spot or Fido are uncommon for pit bulls.

Senator Frosh of Maryland has thrown his lot in with the sweetness and light approach. In a 6½ minute audio segment (included here) of a recent Senate floor debate on SB 160, the pit bull legislation, Senator Frosh repeatedly refers to a hypothetical dog named Fluffy.

The Senate is not debating a nip from Fluffy the Yorkshire Terrier; they should be debating about pit bulls, who have had a very big week. On Sunday a pit bull sprinted diagonally across an intersection in the Bronx to attack a toddler in a stroller. On Monday a family pit bull attacked an infant in Dundalk. On Tuesday Senator Frosh gave his memorable " Fluffy" speech on the floor of the Senate. On Wednesday three pit bulls attacked their owner in New Orleans, who was scalped, lost an ear and an eye and both arms, and who remains in critical condition.

This tape illustrates just how out of touch with reality the Senator is. Senator Frosh refers to the attack in Dundalk without mentioning that the dog was a pit bull. He refers to the attack as a bite. The owner of the attacking pit bull in Dundalk appeared on TV, obviously shaken:
Nathan Bellman says neither he nor members of his family ever mistreated their dogs; but the incident has changed his personal view of pit bulls: “After seeing it myself, I would never own another one,” he said. “I would never allow one around my kids or my family ever again.”

“To be honest I thought it was really life-threatening,” Bellman said. “Because of the intensity of the situation, the blood, and just everything. I mean it was bad.” “No one's regulating how they're being bred, and no one knows where most of these animals are coming from,” he said.
To refer to a life-threatening attack as a bite, as Senator Frosh insists on doing, is a peculiar form of avoidance. When Senator Nathaniel McFadden took the floor he attempted to bring the debate back to reality:
In my community, we don’t have Fluffy, we have Brutus, and Brutus bites people real bad.
We're afraid that Sen McFadden's point was lost on Senator Frosh, who is wandering so far out in LaLa land that he may never find his way home. Sprinkled throughout this audio, Mr Frosh makes several  revealing statements:
The Humane Society wants to make sure it's not breed specific . . . . . [we've] satisfied what the Humane Society wants to accomplish.
Senator Frosh is the servant of many masters; even so, this revelation is astonishing. The HSUS has been involved in a nationwide stealth campaign to make it impossible for communities to enact public safety Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Senator Frosh has been their point man in Maryland and SB 160 meets the demands of the HSUS. The rarely discussed "breed neutral" provision of SB 160 would make it impossible for the victim of a pit bull attack to mention that the attacking dog was a pit bull.

Senator Frosh's sponsorship of SB 160 may serve the HSUS, as well as the insurance and property lobbies, but it also serves Sen Frosh himself. According to Delegate Luiz Simmons, Frosh's version of the bill is an attempt to curry favor with the state's trial lawyers, to raise money and support in his run for Attorney General.

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This post is one of a series on the Maryland pit bull conundrum. To view the index of all Maryland posts click here.

In a recent 57 day period (Jan 8 through Mar 6, 2013) there were six fatal pit bull attacks, all of which were committed by family pit bulls. See Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

Statistics are from Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here.

Amendment may kill pit bull legislation in Maryland
   (WBAL TV 11, March 15, 2013)
House, Senate Far Apart On Legislation
   (Baltimore Sun, March 14, 2013)
Pit bull bill in Peril as Senate Hardens Position
   (Baltimore Sun, March 12, 2013)
Senate, House Considering Different Pit Bull Bills
   (WBAL 1090 AM, March 12, 2013)
Senate Dog-Bite Bill Different From House
   (CBS DC, March 12, 2013)
Dog bite victim's uncle talks about saving her
   (, March 11, 2013)
Pit bull bill compromise unravels
   (Baltimore Sun, March 8, 2013)
Court partly backs off pit bull ruling
   (Baltimore Sun, August 21, 2012)

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks