Friday, March 6, 2015

Springfield at the Crossroads

Nine years ago Springfield, Missouri passed legislation requiring a $50 annual registration fee for pit bulls. The ordinance also requires pit bull owners to spay or neuter their dog, have a microchip placed under the dogs' skin, prohibits the adoption of pit bulls in the city, and other stipulations.

Springfield officials have credited the pit bull ordinance with a drop in dog bites. Health department officials said last year it documented the fewest dog bites in a decade.

On February 23, 2015 Springfield Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky announced a six-month trial during which pit bulls will be adopted out. On March 9, 2015 Councilman Doug Burlson will introduce legislation to rescind the city's Breed Specific Legislation. The legislation would then come before the full council for a vote on March 23, the last meeting before the April 7 elections. Both Rushefsky and Burlson leave office after the election.

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Since Christmas day there have been at least 5 fatal pit bull attacks in the United States, for an average of one human death every 15 days. Even more alarming than this gruesome statistic is the dramatic increase in attacks by pit bulls rehomed from animal shelters:
Three human fatalities involving shelter dogs occurred from 2000 through 2009, as amateur rescue transport was taking off, involving a pit bull, a Doberman, and a Presa Canario. Unclear is whether any of the three were transported.

There have been 36 fatalities involving shelter and rescue dogs from 2010 to present, involving 28 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, two Rottweilers, a Lab who may have been part pit bull, and a husky. About half of the dogs involved are known to have been transported at least once.

Also of note, there were 32 disfiguring maulings by shelter dogs from 1859 through 2009, 19 of them involving pit bulls.

From 2010 to present, there have been at least 123 disfiguring maulings by shelter dogs, 80 of them involving pit bulls. In 2014 alone, 37 shelter dogs killed or disfigured someone; 30 were pit bulls. Again, about half appear to have been transported at least once.1
Springfield city council is at a public safety crossroads. Because protections have been in place for nine years the menace may have faded from view for some lawmakers. The facts show that protections are more necessary now than ever before.

Will Council continue to protect the public? Or, when Council is standing at the crossroads, will they take the wrong road?

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1  Adoption transport, Crazy Cat Ladies, & pyramid schemes
    Animals 24/7

Related Posts:
Resources on Euthanasia and Relocation; SRUV
Charges Pending; SRUV

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" must 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

Springfield tries out pit bull adoptions from public shelter in change from ordinance; March 5, 2015
City of Springfield could be changing how it treats pit bulls
   KY3; March 5, 2015
Councilman wants to repeal pit bull ban
   KY3; March 4, 2015
Councilman seeks to repeal pit bull ban
   Springfield News-Leader; March 4, 2015
City to allow some pit bull adoptions
   Springfield News-Leader; February 24, 2015
Public comment silenced on future of city's pit bull law
   KSPR33 ABC; February 9, 2015
Group says city treating pit bulls unfairly
   Springfield News-Leader; January 26, 2015
A routine lunchtime, then tragedy strikes
   Springfield News-Leader; Springfield, MO, November 13, 2014
Mia suffered gruesome injuries from the mauling and had surgery on Sunday in Columbia. She awoke from a medically induced coma on Wednesday but is still in the intensive care unit at the University of Missouri Women's and Children's Hospital recovering from injuries to her face and neck area.

Dog to be Euthanized After Attacking Toddler
   January 31,  2014;