Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rolling Over in Sonoma

Revised: Dec 19, 2012; 00:14 GMT

On August 11, 2011 Darla Napora, a supporter of the pit bull advocacy group BadRap, was killed by her  pit bull. At a Sonoma city council meeting four days later Mayor pro-tem Joanne Sanders asked city council, staff, and police to review the existing ordinances regulating vicious dogs. The Mayor's request signaled the beginning of a year-long effort to update Sonoma's outdated animal legislation.

The Mayor's request and subsequent comments opened the floodgates for a barrage of vituperation from advocates of fighting breeds. The outrage directed at the Mayor and the city took the form of emails, phone calls, and the vandalism of the Mayor's FaceBook page. The comments (under news stories) of pit bull advocates exhibited a stunning arrogance. One advocate, also a BadRap volunteer, whose comment appeared in the Index-Tribune (Aug 22, 2011) felt her comments were profound enough that they deserved to be published a second time, several days later, as a stand-alone article.

If the citizens who wanted protections from fighting breeds had supported their mayor things might have turned out differently. But after an emotionally charged meeting on Wednesday September 7th, 2011 the Council declined to consider new dangerous dog legislation. Then, fifteen months after the initial uproar, at the October 15, 2012 meeting Council voted to accept revised dangerous dog legislation which is among the most lenient in the country toward pit bulls.

The legislation was written with the assistance of Bob Edwards of SVDOG and other local advocates of fighting breeds. The new legislation, rather than protecting the public, the livestock, and the more vulnerable animal companions, protects dangerous dogs. Thus, Sonoma has become one more community that has caved in to the demands of pit bull extremists and the public remains unprotected.

The city, in effect, heard the noise of a strident, vocal minority of extremists and rolled over, abandoning their responsibility to govern and their authority. The new legislation in Sonoma allows pit bulls, after attacking and even killing other animals multiple times, to return to the safety and comfort of their homes.

SRUV has published numerous posts illustrating the methods used by advocates of fighting breeds when  hijacking the public process. Rarely have pit bull advocates been as thuggish as they were in Sonoma.

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Related Post: Protecting Dangerous Dogs

Dog lovers protest Sonoma councilwoman's pit-bull comments
     (Press-Democrat, Aug 23, 2011)
Council nixes dog doo, doggie park
      (Sonoma Index-Tribune, Oct 18, 2012)

See Also:
Sonoma Municipal Code Chap 18.12
Sonoma Passes On New Vicious Dog Laws
     (Sonoma Valley Patch, Sept 8, 2011)
Vicious Dogs Ordinance on Agenda 
     (, Oct 12, 2012)

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US