Sunday, February 16, 2014

Public Input

Suggestions for managing public input 
at city council meetings for Breed-Specific Legislation

Revised: February 17, 2014; 03:05 GMT
Revised: February 17, 2014; 17:57 GMT

Numerous communities have tried to pass Breed-Specific Legislation, only to have their efforts blocked by the overwhelming input of pit bull advocates. Even though these advocates are a minority of the constituency they corrupt the public process with their intimidating presence. They often hijack the public process and force the city to abandon its efforts to provide public safety legislation.

Pit bull advocates are often portrayed, by themselves and in the media, as “animal welfare activists.” This is a grossly inaccurate description. Many have never participated in any other animal welfare activity, such as efforts to improve the conditions of laying hens or prevent the impending extinction of polar bears. The activists who are so vociferous in support of pit bulls are mostly single purpose advocates of fighting breeds and should not be viewed as animal welfare advocates. Newspapers should be discouraged from generalizing and calling pit bull advocates “animal welfare advocates.”

The following six guidelines will allow both sides of the debate to present their viewpoints fairly and equally:

  • Do not allow dogs to attend the public meeting. Advocates may claim that some pit bulls are “service dogs.” Use the policy adopted by the US Postal Service: Only dogs which are assisting blind or deaf people are allowed.
  • Provide separate sign-in sheets (for BSL and against BSL) for those who would like to speak.
  • Speakers must give their name and address on the sign-in sheet and introduce themselves the same way prior to speaking.
  • Only residents may speak.  Do not allow proxy speakers. 
  • Alternate speakers with opposing viewpoints. Conclude public testimony when all speakers on the shortest list have spoken. This method will insure that both groups are equally represented.
  • Invite citizens who are not called upon to speak to leave a personal original statement. Accept only original statements (not copied materials) as the excessive amount of copied material quickly becomes unmanageable.
  • Limit all speakers to three minutes. Equal time allows a fair hearing.

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32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

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

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