Friday, February 13, 2015

Newark and Niagara

Revised: February 14, 2015; 15:04 GMT

Newark, Ohio, and Niagara Falls, NY are two cities with a few similarities and with many differences. The cities are so different it would be pointless to make comparisons, but for the fact that in January 2015 both cities found themselves beset by pit bull problems. The problems these two cities are currently confronting are echoed across the country; how they resolve these problems may be instructive for dozens of other cities in the near future.

Newark and Niagara Falls are cities with virtually identical populations, with just under 50,000 individuals in each city.1  In January, 2015 the newspapers in both cities launched a series of articles about their respective pit bull problems. The newspapers in Newark published at least twenty articles in thirty days, beginning in mid-January, and the newspapers in Niagara Falls published about fifteen articles in the same period.

Newark has been protected by Breed Specific Legislation which imposes restrictions on pit bulls; Niagara Falls, along with all other municipalities in the state of New York, is prohibited by state law from passing BSL.

Niagara Falls, where BSL is not an option, is swamped by a surplus of pit bulls.  The Niagara County SPCA shelter has kennels to house 74 dogs. Recently the shelter housed 84 dogs with the overflow held in temporary cages in hallways. 90% of the dogs were pit bulls. The shelter has recently achieved no-kill status.

Niagara County SPCA provides animal control services for the city of Niagatra Falls, but has considered terminating service to the city since at least 2013 due to skyrocketing costs. The service will likely be terminated in 2016, and the city must then house its own surplus of pit bulls. Mayor Dyster of Niagara Falls has set aside $3.2 million from the city's casino income to build and equip a shelter.

A surplus of pit bulls is an unfamiliar problem in Newark, where BSL has kept the population in check.

* * * * * 

The problems the two cities face are different, and the newspapers have assumed diametrically opposite roles. The Niagara Falls Reporter has served as the conscience of the city, haranguing and prodding the Mayor, and serving to inform the public of a looming crisis. The Reporter has accused Mayor Dyster, whose options are limited and decreasing by the minute, of accommodating the problem rather than solving it.

The Newark Advocate, after years of supporting the city's BSL, did a volte-face and has actively supported the pit bull advocates who besiege every council meeting. The January 17th editorial announcing the paper's reversal on BSL does not fully explain their change of heart. The Advocate has assumed the bewildering role of advocating for the breed of dog that kills more humans than all other breeds combined.

* * * * * 

If the Newark City Council passes the new legislation next Tuesday (February 17) it will rescind the city's Breed Specific Legislation and remove public safety protections. If Council chooses to renounce BSL the councilors would do well to consult with their counterparts in Niagara Falls, who can advise them of the consequences.

* * * * *
1  Newark OH, pop 48,000; Licking County OH, pop 168,000
    Niagara Falls NY, 49,000; Niagara County NY, pop 215,000

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" should be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media 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 refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

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

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
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &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

Sources: Newark, OH
Rath renews attempt to delay vote on pit bull bill
   February 16, 2015; Newark Advocate
Scuffle may have led to dog attack
   February 12, 2015; The Newark Advocate
   There was some dispute Wednesday night about the breed of the dog involved, with some indication it could have been a pit bull.
Three people hospitalized in dog attack
   February 11, 2015; The Newark Advocate
   Initially, the call came in as a dog bite, Bingham said. As first responders were driving to the scene, though, the dispatcher kept adding potential victims to the list.
Newark dog owners hold vigil to support pit bulls
   February 10, 2015; WBNS  10 TV
Pit bull bill on to full council despite delay attempt
   February 2, 2014; The Newark Advocate
Mixed breed, pit bulls, labs bit the most in 2014
   February 1, 2014; The Newark Advocate
The public needs protection from all pit bulls
   Guest column  by Carole Miller
   January 30, 2015; The Newark Advocate
Newark’s third dog bite in a month attributed to pit bulls
   January 30, 2015 (Fri); Newark Advocate
New humane society facility means more adoptions
   January 30, 2015 (Fri); Newark Advocate
Pit bull equality bill heading to full council
   January 27, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Newark Considering Vicious Classification for Pit Bulls
   January 26, 2015 (Mon); MyFox 28 Columbus
Pit bull supporters push against breed-specific law
   January 20, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Pit bulls deserve another look
   January 17, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate Editorial
Rath vows to help pit bull owners fight vicious status
   January 13, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Pit bull running loose attacks, bites man
   January 13, 2015; Newark Advocate
Safety panel session invites pit bull owners' comments
   January 12, 2015 (Mon); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners share the 'softer side' of bully breeds
   January 11, 2015 (Sun); Newark Advocate
Roscoe; An American red nose pit bull
   January 10, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners complain to council about law, officer
   December 16, 2014; Newark Advocate
Official cancels meeting with pit bull owner
   December 5, 2014; Newark Advocate
Activist wants county to stop killing pit bulls
    August 12, 2014; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bulls Must Pass Good Citizenship Test To Get Off Vicious Dog List
   December 17, 2013; WBNS 10TV
Newark council passes pit bull ordinance
   December 17, 2013; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bull Regulations Close To Makeover
   December 10, 2013 (March 4, 2014); NBC4i
Newark's current pit bull law should stand
   December 7, 2013; Newark Advocate Editorial
Don't change Newark's vicious dog law
   October 14, 2012; Newark Advocate Editorial
Pit bulls kills dog
   December 1, 2004; Newark Advocate

Sources: Niagara Falls, NY
City Animal Shelter Moves Closer to Housing Pit Bulls
   by Frank Parlato
   Niagara Falls Reporter; February 10, 2015
PETA Director Weighs in; Favors Action on Pit Bulls
   by Teresa Chagrin
   Niagara Falls Reporter; February 10, 2015
Pit Bulls - Not Other Breeds - Are Causing The Serious Dog Problem in Niagara Falls
   by Jonathan A. Macready
   Niagara Falls Reporter, February 3, 2015
Some Pit Bull Facts You Might Like to Know
   by Jonathan A. Macready
   Niagara Falls Reporter, February 3, 2015
Nasty Pit Bull Owners Don't Help Their Cause
   by Jonathan A. Macready
   Niagara Falls Reporter, February 3, 2015
Pit bulls bred to be aggressive, like many of their owners
   by Jonathan A. Macready
   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.