Sunday, February 9, 2014

AKC Self-Destructs

Revised:  February 11, 2014; 13:10 GMT
Revised:  February 13, 2014; 18:14 GMT
To: Sarah Sprouse, AKC Legislative Analyst
Cc: Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena
      Pasadena City Council
      Frank Pine, Managing Editor, Los Angeles News Group
      Jon Guynn, Publisher, The Pasadena Weekly
         and hundreds of respondents to city council

Your letter was among the hundreds recently received by the Pasadena City Council. We are writing to correct a number of misrepresentations and to comment on AKC spay/neuter policy.

Among the most common remarks received by the City Council is that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is ineffective. This unsupported assertion, which you make twice, is false. Both Miami-Dade and Denver passed BSL in 1987. Today they are perhaps the only major American cities that have not experienced any fatal pit bull attacks. Meanwhile, there have been 18 fatal pit bull attacks elsewhere in Florida, which remains unprotected by BSL. The truth is that BSL is effective in reducing fatal attacks wherever good legislation is passed and enforced.

You suggest that communities should "establish a well-defined procedure for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous." The problem with responding to pit bull attacks ex post facto is that the first attack by a pit bull often causes grievous injury or permanent disfigurement. Of the five fatal pit bull attacks in California in calendar year 2013, the pit bulls in four of those attacks had not previously demonstrated aggression.

We note that your letter repeats the phrase Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed three times. The hypnotic repetition of this phrase is used with numbing regularity by pit bull advocates. This tiresome jingle has become meaningless propaganda and serves only to numb your readers.

Finally, the AKC policy against BSL is itself bewildering. Thirty years ago pit bulls represented only 1% of the canine population; they are now nearly as numerous as (perhaps more numerous than) Golden Retrievers or Labradors, two of the AKC's most registered breeds. To encourage unregulated back-yard breeding of pit bulls and pit bull mixes, as your policy does, does not benefit the AKC or the breeders you represent.

Adopt Don't Shop
(Click on photo for additional images of Adopt Don't Shop)

The pit bull advocates you support with your letter are the same people who urge families to adopt or rescue a pit bull, rather than purchase a dog from an AKC breeder. It is impossible to understand why the AKC would support a policy which encourages back-yard breeders. According to John Homans,
Rescue dogs . . . have never been more popular, while the American Kennel Club, arbiter and protector of purebred dogs, has seen its membership and registrations drop for a decade or more. The AKC brand has been partly hollowed out.1
Mandatory breed specific spay/neuter laws do not punish responsible owners, as you claim; responsible owners already have their dogs spayed or neutered.  It is self-evident to many of us that the primary effect of mandatory spay/neuter of pit bulls would be a decrease in the number of free and roaming pit bulls, the number of pit bulls in shelters, and consequently a decrease in the number of dogs euthanized. To imply that the spay/neuter campaign is punitive is irrational.

The AKC policy against breed specific spay/neuter laws is not in the interest of the American Kennel Club, its members, or our canine companions.

* * * * *

1 Op-Ed by John Homans, author of What's a Dog For
   LA Times, February 10, 2013

A Pound of Prevention
   Pasadena Weekly, Jan 30, 2014
Pasadena's pit bull fight should result in spay and neuter law
   San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Jan 30, 2014
Police fatally shoot pit bull after attack on bicyclist
    Pasadena Star-News; Jan 29, 2014
Pasadena Council postpones vote on pit bull ordinance
    89.3 KPCC; Jan 28, 2014
Pasadena Council to consider pit bull spay/neuter ordinance
    Pasadena Star-News, Jan 27, 2014
Council to consider ordinance requiring pit bulls be spayed or neutered
    89.3 KPCC, Jan 27, 2014
Pasadena debates banning pit bulls; better to spay and neuter
   San Gabriel Valley Tribune, December 13, 2013
A Breed Apart
   Pasadena Weekly, Oct 9, 2013
Neutering, spaying is the right thing to do
Pasadena considers spay-neuter requirement for dogs, cats
Pasadena mulls pit-bull ban

Letters to City Council:
Letters to Pasadena City Council:
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 1
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 2
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 3
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 4
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 5
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 6
    hand delivered Xerox materials from Marla Tauscher
      etc, etc, etc.
    Supplemental Correspondence Part 15

Resources for Euthanasia & Shelter Killing:
Fewer animals killed, but pit bulls and Chihuahuas crowd shelters
    Animal People, July/August 2012
More adoptions will not end shelter killing of pit bulls
   Animal People, October 2011
Stop dogfighting by addressing supply-side economics
   Animal People, November 20, 2013
Shelter Killing Report, 2013

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People.
 View or download the current PDF

This page may also include information from Dogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Shelter killing:
Shelter intake and euthanasia rates are published annually in the July/August edition of Animal People.
View or download the current PDF

Information on euthanasia rates is from Pit bulls and Political Recklessness, by Merritt Clifton.