Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Place at the Table

They are beautiful, loving dogs if not mistreated by ugly, mean human beings
Senator Mark C.W. Montigny

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Revised: Sept 27 2012; 15:36 GMT

When Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the new animal control bill into law on August 2nd among those invited to the signing was Animal Control Officer Emanuel "Manny" Maciel. Also in attendance at the signing were Senator Mark C.W. Montigny, a champion of the legislation, and Kara Holmquist. This guest list offers important clues into the origins of the BSL prohibition in the new legislation.

Senator Montigny represents the 2nd Bristol-Plymouth district, which includes New Bedford where Manny Maciel serves as the Director of Animal Control. In 2006 Mr Maciel received an award from the the American Dog Owners Association (ADOA), an organization which has been lobbying against BSL for nearly 40 years. Mr Maciel also sits on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC), as does Ms Holmquist. In this capacity they represent an organization which advocates for fighting breeds with at least 16 pages of  pit bull resources.

Readers of SRUV will recall that Ms Holmquist appeared on TV last year to claim that pit bulls show no more aggressive behavior than Golden Retrievers. Mr Maciel's record as an ACO committed to animal welfare is beyond reproach, but he appears blissfully unaware that pit bulls have killed, on average, 25 people a year over the last three years, and the rate of disfiguring attacks is increasing exponentially. Nearly a third of all the pit bull disfigurements over the last 30 years have occurred in the last two years.*

Mr Maciel could easily inform himself of the havoc pit bulls are capable of; today's search of Google News returns the following stories:
 . . . . . and so on, with dozens of similar entries.

Legislation which serves the public must have responsible input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders. But why were the advocates of fighting breeds invited to participate in the process, and municipal leaders charged with protecting their citizens excluded? Why was the Animal Control Officer of New Bedford, an advocate of fighting breeds, given greater access to the process than the Mayors of major cities?

Senator Montigny commented on Maciel's presence:
Montigny said Maciel was invited to the signing ceremony in Ashland because of the input he had in the legislation. “I take all my advice from people like Manny,” Montigny said.
It is incumbent upon Senators Montigy and Jehlen to explain why the advocates of fighting breeds deserved a place at the table, but the Mayors did not.

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

Massachusetts Animal Coalition: Pit Bull Resources

S.2192, An Act further regulating animal control

MA 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

NJ Sources:
Laws on dangerous dogs confusing to towns, owners, attack victims (August 12)
The Record: Pet Sense (Aug 14)
Teaneck owner of pit bull agrees to muzzle, neuter his pet (Aug 15)

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

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