Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Dangerous Road

I-70: the Corridor of Death
. . . That is why I supported a bill that gave our judicial system the authority to order a dog be euthanized after the first bite if it is serious enough rather than waiting for it to be declared vicious and doing so after a second bite.
     ~~ Jeff Rath, March 7, 2015
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In his opinion piece of March 7, Councilman Jeff Rath tells the readers why he is committed to revoking Newark's Breed Specific Legislation. The Black Labrador that bit a child in the face, and later died of old age in the comfort of his home, has become a familiar part of Mr Rath's backstory. The account does offer a valid rational for improving dangerous dog laws.

The Black Lab story does not offer a rational for Mr. Rath's campaign to rid the city of Newark, Ohio of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).

If a normal dog bites or shows other signs of aggression, the dog and its owner should be held accountable under conventional dangerous dog laws. The Black Lab that bit the children in Newark, if it was unprovoked, should have been subject to laws that protect children (or adults) from any further attacks.

Often the first attack by a pit bull results in permanent disfigurement or a fatality. The first attack by a family pit bull may come after eight or ten years of a loving family relationship, and leaves the family with lasting emotional scars and insurmountable financial burdens. It is impossible to read The Enduring Agony of a Pit Bull Attack (see below) and continue to believe that pit bulls are like Black Labs or any other breed. If one were to read the account of the attack on Nick Foley, his father, and a neighbor, it would be unconscionable for that person to vote to rescind BSL.

Pit bulls are different, and that's why over 500 communities in the United States, as well as numerous federal governments around the world, have protected their citizens from fighting breeds with Breed Specific Legislation.

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100 miles east of Newark on I-70 is the city of Wheeling, West Virginia. 65 miles farther east on I-70 lies the small town of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. On February 22nd Councilman Bill Cost Jr published an opinion piece in The Newark Advocate explaining why he will vote to uphold Newark's BSL. On the same day that Mr Cost's opinion appeared 2-year old TayLynn DeVaughn was killed by a family pit bull while visiting her aunt's home on Fleetwood Drive in West Mifflin. The child's father, Cory DeVaughn, told station WPXI, "I came out of the kitchen and the dog dropped the baby. His name was Jake and my baby was gone."

TayLynn was the fifth victim of a fatal pit bull attack since Christmas. On March 8th 63-year-old David Wallace of Wheeling became the sixth victim of a fatal pit bull attack since Christmas.

In each case the deadly attack was the first attack by a family pit bull that had no previous record of aggression. There have been no fatal attacks from other breeds of dogs since Christmas. Since January, during the period since Jeff Rath introduced legislation to revoke BSL in Newark, nearly 50 people have been maimed or permanently disfigured by pit bulls in the United States.

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Enduring Agony:
The Enduring Agony of a Pit Bull Attack
   August 13, 2006; Chicago Tribune
Pit bull attacks leave lasting wounds, devastate families
   July 7, 2014; The Patriot News
Couple's life forever altered after two pit bulls kill toddler
   July 7, 2014; The Patriot News
Family traumatized by vicious attack of 7-year-old son
   July 7, 2014; The Patriot News

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

Pit Bull Fatally Attacks Neighbor Trying To Save Its Owner
   March 10, 2015; NBC
Overturn Newark's pit bull legislation 
   By Jeff Rath, Newark City Council
   March 7, 2015; Newark Advocate
Dog Owner Defends Pet, But Plans to Give Him Up, After Attack
   March 2, 2015; ABC6
Pit bull bites owner in Buckeye Lake
   March 2, 2015; Newark Advocate
Pit bull bill not good for Newark
   By Bill Cost Jr, Newark City Council
   February 22, 2015; Newark Advocate
Delay gives pit bull proponents time to earn more votes
   February 17, 2015; Newark Advocate
Rath renews attempt to delay vote on pit bull bill
   February 16, 2015; Newark Advocate
Newark might delay pit bull vote
   February 16, 2015; Columbus Dispatch
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