Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Buffalo Pit Bull Advocates Rescue Niagara Falls

Two extraordinary journalistic events occurred in January, 2015. The Newark [Ohio] Advocate, after supporting Newark's Breed Specific Legislation  (BSL) for years, suddenly reversed course and published a stunning series of six articles in rapid succession, including an editorial which supported the repeal of the existing BSL.

Of equal interest to animal advocates, and during the same period, a second lengthy series was initiated by The Niagara Gazette and continued in the weekly Niagara Falls Reporter. Niagara Falls, like many communities, is faced with severe shelter crowding and the need for additional shelter space. The Niagara Falls series was for the most part more thoughtful, varied, and objective than the stories published in the Newark Advocate.

But one of the recent articles in the Niagara Falls Reporter, by two shelter volunteers and self-described pit bull advocates from the nearby city of Buffalo, does little to advance the dialogue in Niagara Falls. A response to that article follows below.

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To Jennifer Ward and Suzanne Laba,

On January 27 an article authored by you appeared in the Niagara Falls Reporter which asks Is lazy journalism fueling the pit bull problem?

The answer to your question is, unfortunately, yes. But not in the manner you may think. You accuse the author of a previous article, Anna M. Howard, of lazy journalism. But your own article is filled with arrogance, bias, and the laziest possible journalism.

In support of your arguments you cite six sources, all of which are pit bull advocacy groups. Your decision to cite only pit bull advocacy groups is an act of such blatant bias that your column is rendered meaningless.

Your article is also flawed because, like many advocates of fighting breeds, you failed to acknowledge the reasons the shelters are overflowing with pit bulls. And like virtually all other pit bull advocates, you failed to acknowledge the financial burdens of shelter overcrowding and the toll of grief that result from an oversupply of pit bulls.

It's clear that you are unfamiliar with the causes of shelter overcrowding, the subject of the Niagara series. Information on the relationship between pit bull advocacy, backyard breeding, no-kill policies, and shelter crowding are readily available on SRUV1 and elsewhere on the web.

The Editors

Forthcoming: Niagara County SPCA

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1   See Resources on Euthanasia, Sheltering, and No-kill

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. SRUV would like to see the definition expanded even further.

Sources cited by SRUV sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates are referred to by the media as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates." The majority of these pit bull advocates are none of these; they are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

Sources: Niagara Falls

'Shelter pet' not the best term for a furever friend
   by Cathy Fugler, Niagara Falls Humane Society
   Niagara This Week; January 29, 2015

Pit bulls bred to be aggressive, like many of their owners
   by Jonathan A. Macready
   Niagara Falls Reporter, January 27, 2015

Pit bull battle continues; is lazy journalism fueling the pit bull problem?
   by Jennifer Ward & Suzanne Laba
   Niagara Falls Reporter; January 27, 2015

Euthanasia rates drop at Niagara County SPCA 4; January 25, 2015

Director Tells SPCA's Side of Challenge with City Pit Bulls Not the Problem
   by Amy Lewis, Exec Dir, Niagara County SPCA
   Niagara Falls Reporter, January 13, 2015

Are Reckless Pitbull Owners Behind Dyster's Proposed Animal Shelter?
   Niagara Falls Reporter; January 6, 2015

Is Dyster's Proposed $3.2 Million Animal Shelter Plan for the Pits?
   Niagara Falls Reporter; January 6, 2015

Bite Statistics to Sink Your Teeth Into
   Niagara Falls Reporter; January 6, 2015

Overabundance of pit bulls at Niagara Co. SPCA
   WKBW ABC7;  January 5, 2015

SPCA of Niagara deals with surplus pit bulls
    Niagara Gazette; December 28, 2014

Two pit bulls shot after attacking alpacas on Heartland farm
   Niagara Gazette; October 9, 2014

Teen hurt in pit bull attack
   Tonawanda News; October 2, 2014

Newfane pit bull attacked previous owners
   Lockport Union-Sun & Journal; September 30, 2014
On Sunday, a Newfane man was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center after being attacked by the pit bull at his South Main Street residence. The man had just acquired the dog, authorities said . . . Amy Lewis, Niagara SPCA director, said the pit bull attacked its previous owners on Sept. 15. . . . And before that, the same pit bull had been brought into the SPCA after biting someone in May, Lewis said.

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
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 fromDogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends