Monday, February 24, 2014

Supplemental Correspondence

Calls to regulate pit bulls in Pasadena date back to July 2007, when three people were attacked on the city's NE side. Six and a half years after those attacks Pasadena City Council met (on Jan 27, 2014) to receive public input on a proposal to spay and neuter pit bulls in Pasadena.

The proposal was a modest effort, little more than a city-sanctioned version of what shelters and animal welfare groups across the country already voluntarily do. The City Council had six-and-a-half years to prepare for this night but they had almost no idea of the tsunami of advocacy that was about to overwhelm them.

Over 60 people spoke at the meeting, which dragged on until nearly midnight. Advocates submitted over 350 pages of testimony, most of it downloaded from pit bull advocacy sites on the internet. Marla Tauscher, an attorney who may have been hired by Josh Liddy, submitted over 50 pages of copied web pages and appeared to be the most prolific copier.  Then we discovered the files submitted by Garland Juarez, the Executive Director of his own pit bull registration agency. Juarez submitted an astounding one hundred and one xerox pages.

Many of these advocates simply repeat the assertions that echo across the blogosphere: that BSL is discriminatory, that it is expensive and ineffective. Numerous advocates refer to the ATTS test, which purportedly proves that pit bulls are less aggressive than Chihuahuas or Dachshunds, and nearly all of the advocates mention how sweet their dogs are.

We have excerpted a few representative examples of advocates' comments, and offer our responses below.

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A comment by Jo Lohr claimed that pit bulls are not among the most common biters.
SRUV Reply:  BSL was never intended to stop the thousands of minor bites and abrasions from countless dog bites. BSL is intended to reduce the number of maulings which result in grievous bodily harm and fatalities. The important statistic is not the number of bites that a specific breed or type of dog commits; the important statistic is the actuarial value of the attacks. How many people suffer amputations or other disfigurements as a result of bites from a Dachshund or Golden Retriever?

Ms Lohr instructs us to Do Your Research! and Really do your homework! This is the angry, arrogant language that is too often found in pit bull advocacy comments. If advocates of fighting breeds want to be taken seriously they must learn how to conduct a civil exchange and must learn not to talk down to their opponents.
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Judith Brecka, the Legislative Liaison of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America (SBTCA) addressed a lengthy letter to the Mayor and Council on January 27, 2014, the day of the meeting.
SRUV Reply: Ms Brecka's letter begins with the threat of economic boycott by her club's 400 members. She imagines the Pasadena police disrupting an AKC sanctioned dog show or competition. She blunders on about the necessity of traveling with registration papers. She pens a wildly incoherent paragraph about a dog's registration papers being private papers. And astonishingly, she claims there has not been one recorded bite from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the United States. If readers believe this they may also believe that pit bulls are Nanny Dogs (another fantasy that originated with the SBTCA). 1
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Marina Baktis wrote: Any large breed dog can injure or kill someone if not properly socialized and trained. In the past German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers have been similarly demonized.
SRUV Reply:  This argument begs the question of which dog breed really is more dangerous. Yes, Dobermans may have enjoyed their moment as most feared canine, as have GSDs and Rottweilers. But all the fear and publicity and posturing aside, which dog really is more dangerous? It isn't even close. While Dobermans may be intimidating they've killed only 7 humans in the last 30 years while pit bulls have killed 257; Dobermans just weren't bred for killing. GSDs have killed 15 humans in 30 years (in the low 20s if counting crossbred GSDs) and Rottweilers have killed in the low 80s in the last thirty years. This isn't an argument worth having.
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Vicky Kimball (and dozens of other advocate respondents) believes that dog attacks are a "Human" problem, not a specific "Breed" problem.
SRUV Reply:  Pit bull advocates never tire of claiming that The Problem is at the other end of the leash.  And yet these same advocates fail to acknowledge the many attacks attributed to much loved, fully socialized pit bulls which have never before shown signs of aggression. Jeremiah and Angela Rutledge lived with their pit bull Kissy-Face for eight years and there was never any indication the dog was a threat, until the the pit bull suddenly killed their two-year-old son Beau. Vicky Kimball and other advocates may claim that the Rutledge's were not responsible dog owners. She should tell that to Ms Rutledge.
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We could add 50 similar paragraphs, but will not try our reader's (or our own) patience.

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1 The Nanny Dog Myth Revealed, by Dawn James

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
The Wrong Tree
   Pasadena Weekly, Jan 29, 2014
Police fatally shoot pit bull after attack on bicyclist
    Pasadena Star-News; Jan 29, 2014
Pasadena Council tables pit bull issue
    Pasadena Star-News, Jan 28, 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
Council Bites Back
   Pasadena Weekly, November 27, 2013
Fighting the Truth
   Pasadena Weekly, November 26, 2013 (by John Grula)
A Matter of Time
   Pasadena Weekly, October 16, 2013 (by John Grula)
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
Snip Tuck
   Pasadena Weekly, April 9, 2008

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