Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Point Counterpoint

My heart so goes out to those families and friends. That said, regulations such as special licenses, microchips and muzzles when outside the home would not have prevented those attacks.
Karen Hiller, Topeka City Council Member

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Ms Hiller refuses to accept responsibility for her advocacy of dangerous dogs.

In the excerpt above Ms Hiller refers to the attack on two-year old Savannah Edwards on December 13, 2012, which resulted in Savannah's death, and the bizarre attack on the Tibbits at 1823 N.W. Polk on December 28th. Ms Hiller claims that attacks by pit bulls within a home would not have been deterred by Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Hiller continued:
I’m not sure any of us know exactly what happened that provoked the dangerous behavior.
Ms Hiller must know that the bewilderment she expresses has been expressed hundreds of times before, by owners and advocates following pit bull attacks. And in Savannah's case it was not dangerous behavior, it was murderous.

Ms Hiller's claim that BSL would not have deterred the attacks is patently false. Of the twenty-two recorded deaths attributed to pit bulls during 2012 at least sixteen of them occurred in homes or yards of residences where the dogs lived, and the victims were family members.* BSL in the communities where those canine homicides occurred would have eliminated or reduced the number of deaths.

Ms Hiller was a proponent of the new (2010) Topeka animal control ordinance, which in effect repealed Topeka's BSL. The new legislation also allowed animal shelters to adopt out pit bulls. Many of the dogs from Helping Hands and other shelters were abandoned or surrendered by previous owners because they displayed aggressive behavior. Releasing these dogs into the community, placing them in family situations, is a recipe for disaster.

The public does not yet know the provenance of the pit bulls involved in the two recent attacks. If the dogs that killed Savannah or attacked the Tibbits were adopted from a shelter, then Ms Hiller's new legislation is directly responsible for placing those dogs in the homes.

In the same news article, Bill Acree, the executive director of Helping Hands HS, said the shelter continues to see fewer dogs euthanized as a result of the new animal legislation. Bill, that would be because the shelter is adopting them out, placing them in family homes. And you will see more and more pit bulls come through your revolving door as time goes on.

Helping Hands is apparently working overtime to adopt out their pit bulls. Several days ago we saw the listing for a dog named Emma.

This dog is advertised as a GSD/Australian Cattle dog mix. Emma is predominantly a brindle pit bull. If Helping Hands is resorting to adopting out pit bull mixes by using deceptive practices Topeka can expect to see more attacks in the future.

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* Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

DA to decide fate of dog  (Topeka Capital-Journal, Dec 14, 2012)
Hiller stands behind removal of breed-specific rules (Topeka Capital-Journal, Jan 6, 2013)
Pit bull attacks son's parents (Topeka Capital-Journal, Dec 28, 2012)

Google News Today's pit bull attacks