Friday, July 19, 2013

Rhode Island Timeline

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Preemption and Insurance

Dear Governor Chafee,

Thank you for your careful consideration of our recent letter, in which we requested your veto of HB5671.

New information regarding BSL preemption has become available and may help inform your decision.

The information appears in the July-August edition of Animal People. The article reports on public opinion polls regarding pit bulls and Breed Specific Legislation (BSL); the information generally indicates public approval of careful regulation of pit bulls.

The article then goes on to discuss insurance payouts in states which have preempted BSL:
Fifteen states now ban breed-specific ordinances, including California, Illinois, Texas, and Ohio.

State Farm Insurance on May 17, 2013 disclosed that California, Illinois, Texas, and Ohio rated first through fourth in insurance claims paid for dog attacks in 2011. State Farm paid $20.3 million to 527 victims in California, $10 million to 309 victims in Illinois, $5.1 million to 219 victims in Texas, and $5.4 million to 215 victims in Ohio. The numbers of victims in California were 30% greater in 2011 than in 2010. The payout in California increased 31%, State Farm spokesperson Eddie Martinez told Sue Manning of Associated Press. A rival firm, Farmers Group Inc., in February 2013 notified shareholders that it would no longer insure pit bulls, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids under homeowners and renters policies in California.

Nationally, said Insurance Information Institute representative Loretta Worters, the insurance industry paid dog attack victims $479 million in 2011, up 15% from $413 million in 2010, and up by more than half since 2006.

The numbers of attacks and amounts of payout increased twice as fast in states that prohibit breed-specific ordinances.

~~ Laws pre-empting breed-specific ordinances pass -- but polls tilt the other way
Thank you for including this information in your consideration of this important matter.

All best wishes to you and to the people of Rhode Island,
The Editors

* * * * *

Still no word from Chafee on pit bull legislation,
   The Valley Breeze, July 16, 2013
Senate passes ban on breed-specific ordinances,
   The Valley Breeze, July 2, 2013
Local ACOs oppose removal of ban on pit bulls,
   The Call, June 27, 2013
Pit bulls maul woman; Governor calls for new legislation,
   AP, Jan 18, 1990

Related Material:
Overview of "breed specific" laws, Kenneth Phillips, Dog Bite Law

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Locking Jaws

Revised: June 9, 2014; 18:08 GMT

Moreover, there is no truth to the myth that certain types of dogs have locking jaws or other sinister traits.
HSUS: The Tracey vs. Solesky “Pit Bull” Case

We found that the American Pit Bull Terriers did not have any unique mechanism that would allow these dogs to lock their jaws. There were no mechanical or morphological differences . . .
NCRC: Fear vs. Fact

There is nothing unique about the anatomy of pit bull jaws. They do not “lock.”
ASPCA: The Truth About Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls do not have locking jaws. Their jaws are anatomically similar to other canines. Further, their jaw strength is similar to other dogs their size. 
Beyond the myth

There is no 'enzyme,' no special mechanism that would make a pitbull's jaws 'lock.'

This is a myth. There is nothing anatomically unique about the jaws of “pit bull” dogs.
Animal Farm Foundation

Pit bulls do not have special “locking jaws” – that’s pure mythology.

. . . and they both say, as do I, that there is NO SUCH THING AS "JAW LOCKING" IN ANY BREED.
Pit Bull Rescue Central

The infamous locking jaw is a myth.

Pit Bulls do not have locking jaws.
Chako Pit Bull Rescue

There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of ‘locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D. 1

* * * * *

"Locking Jaws" is a manufactured controversy, kept alive mainly by those who work so hard to refute it.

Why are the advocates so obsessed with the subject of locking jaws? Perhaps accounts like the following trouble them:
Her brother looked in a bedroom window and saw the dog locked onto Tayla's face. The two young men got into the house and tried to stop the attack by hitting the dog with keys and a broomstick, but the dog wouldn't let go. They then ran for help. Two neighbors came with baseball bats. "We had bats and we were beating on the dog and the dog wouldn't let go," said Winfred Davenport. They realized any help was going to be up to neighbor LaJayron Negrin, who had come into the house with his 9mm P95 Ruger. "I shot him three or four times in the side and once in the head," said Negrin, who has a concealed weapons permit. The dog did let go and looked up, for just a moment. Then he lunged again.
Neighbors rescue Deerfield Beach girl

. . . the pit bull continued to work the dog's neck in an effort to decapitate her. The police, recognizing that there was no alternative to killing the pit bull, moved the crowd of bystanders away from the scene. An officer fired one shot into the pit bull, which had no effect. Then an officer fired a second shot, hitting the dog again. Still, the pit bull kept going. The officers finally stopped the pit bull after firing 12 - 15 shots.
New Haven Independent
* * * * *

The victims and witnesses of these and thousands of similar attacks can be excused if they say the pit bulls locked onto their victims. Who would quibble over terminology in the face of such attacks?

When pit bulls attack they often remain attached, gnawing, and the resulting wound looks as if a Berkel meat cutter had removed tissue down to the bone.

August 8, 015.00 GMT
On June 21st, 2013 Janet Miller, 57, and her fiance Ken Linc, 53, were attacked by a pit bull and were seriously injured. Ms Miller was caring for the pit bull, named Capone, which belonged to her daughter, who inherited the pit bull from a former housemate.

In an unguarded moment, or perhaps because she had just endured a horrific mauling, Ms Miller used the term so abhorred by advocates of fighting breeds:
Miller’s daughter once told her pit bulls . . .  would lock down when they bite. “I never knew what that meant. Lock?” Miller said. “I knew it then.”

* * * * *
1 Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin is listed on the masthead of the American Canine Foundation (ACF), an organization which offers legal services in support of pit bulls. The ACF masthead includes several notable pit bull advocates including Glen Bui (as a Board Member), James Crosby (as an Expert Witness), and Karen Delise of the NCRC (as a Consultant), among others.

Glen Burnie couple faces eviction after attack

Related post:
Locking Jaws II: A Letter to Dr Brisbin

He never leaves his hold, when once he has got it, while life lasts.
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hamiliton Smith,
The Natural History of Dogs (1839)


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Case Pending in Macon

. . . . the boy’s head was inside the dog’s mouth. His scalp was ripped off during the attack.  The head and the face were completely bloody.  The child’s scalp was laying on the ground.  One of his eyes was severely injured.

* * * * *

Five-year-old Anthony Ivey was attacked by Charles Gay's pit bull on March 14th. Following the attack Anthony spent five weeks at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston and at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

Charles Gay, a Macon attorney, was jailed on the day of the attack on a child-cruelty charge and bonded out  the following day. According to the Macon Telegraph his home appears to be unoccupied.
[Gay] was “very nonchalant and even laughed,” saying, “I just never seen him  [the pit bull] do anything like that.”

Gay did nothing to restrain the dog during the attack.

Charles Edward Gay

Gay's dogs had a long history of violence. At least two of Gay's dogs, a Rottweiler and pit bull, were killed in his backyard by other dogs he owned.  According to records a neighbor tried to kill one of Gay's pit bulls with a pitchfork in 2008 after it killed his cat. Animal control had removed one of Gay's pit bulls and put it to death for being dangerous.

Eddie Deeb, whose parents' home is next door to Gay, came to Anthony's rescue while Gay watched from the sidelines. Deeb said his elderly parents had not ventured into their own back yard the last few years, out of fear for their safety. “This (incident) should have never happened,” Deeb said.

Deshala Dixon, an assistant district attorney, said Gay’s case has been delayed since March 14th because she has been unable to talk with the five-year-old victim, who spent several weeks in hospitals.

* * * * *

It is difficult to find positive outcomes following a mauling of this severity, but in this case there are several. Eddie Deeb deserves to be honored with a citizen hero award; other communities have honored those who rescue victims of pit bull attacks and Macon should not ignore their heroes. Also, the police are to be commended for arresting Charles Gay on the day of the attack.

Macon's excellent newspaper, The Telegraph, has provided thorough, intelligent coverage, with ongoing analysis of the attack on Anthony and its aftermath on his family and rescuer. A local rescue organization, Heart of Georgia Humane Society, offers free spaying to any female pit bull whose owners live in Macon. And finally, the Ousley Place neighborhood will be safer, now that Gay's pit bulls are gone.

* * * * *
   The attack on Anthony Ivey::
Pit bull just like a demon, The Telegraph, March 15, 2013
Boy mauled by pit bull undergoes third surgery,
   The Telegraph, April 2, 2013
Family fears psychological scars,
   The Telegraph, June 30, 2013

   The Telegraph special coverage:
Effort underway to control Macon’s pit bull population,
   The Telegraph, June 28, 2013
Debate swirls around pit bull ownership,
   The Telegraph, June 30, 2013

Related Material:
Overview of "breed specific" laws, Kenneth Phillips, Dog Bite Law

Statistics 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.

The 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