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Wed, Jun

Do We Need Federal Regulations to Stop Pit Bull and Other Dangerous Dog  Attacks?

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH - Pit Bulls No Longer Dangerous In Muskegon, Michigan! 

This week, on March 21, America awoke to learn that, “Pit bulls in Muskegon are ‘hearty, strong, intelligent’ and no longer dangerous,” according to a report by FOX-17 News. 

All it took to make this determination to rescind this 2006 ordinance was a vote by the City Commission, which apparently had no statistics on what can happen when you don’t have special regulations to keep humans and other animals safe in the event this “high-energy” dog overreacts in a public place. 

Protections are for both the dog and potential human and/or animal victims. 

Executive Director Lana Carson at Pound Buddies Animal Shelter in Muskegon, was ecstatic and told FOX 17, “They’re hearty, strong, intelligent, incredibly loyal and lovable dogs. But, if you don’t know the breed they can be, just based on their look, their size and their strength, maybe they are a little bit intimidating.” 

She said she has 100 dogs at her shelter and 90 are Pit Bulls.

She added that for years Pit Bulls—including Pit-mixes were the only breed listed in the ordinance, and it was required to muzzle the dogs in public, use a shorter leash, put signs on houses where they were kept, and maintain additional liability insurance. 

[None of which sounds overly prohibitive for a responsible Pit Bull owner.]

Carson said any dog can be a dangerous dog, citing that “…one of the worst bites a staff member experienced was from a chihuahua, and she added, “A couple of months ago, the only dog that was labeled a ‘bite-risk’ was a Yorkie-mix.” 

It is concerning that this quick action by a citizen-Commission, according to the report, did not take into consideration the fact that only one Pit Bull per owner was allowed in the established regulation and this change can result in breeding puppies to add to the 90 Pit Bulls already impounded. (Muskegon has a human population of around 37,500 residents.) 

It also opens the door for raising dogs for fighting, which is a very serious concern in the state. 

Rescue Organization Assisted Law-Enforcement Agencies, took 133 Pit Bulls from Detroit Dog Fighting Operation 

On January 29, 2023, Bark Nation helped Federal and State law-enforcement agencies by removing and housing 133 Pit Bulls in Detroit allegedly used for dog fighting and which will be needed as evidence in this case. (This non-profit organization does not receive federal benefits.) Read here. 

This was believed to be the biggest operation combatting dog fighting in the history of Michigan, according to the report. Detroit is 197 miles from Muskegon. 

BEST FRIENDS ADVOCATES FOR PIT BULLS—WILL IT HELP FINANCIALLY? 

Best Friends Animal Society has been one of the most aggressive advocates for the breed and not allowing BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) and promotes Pit Bull adoption/ownership. This is an opportunity to put their donors’ money to work visibly. 

Ending dog fighting as a gambling enterprise and a digital viewing and on-line betting opportunity would also end the demand for “game” dogs that will fight to the death and end the suffering of those that survive. It would also decrease the numbers of this breed that are overwhelming animal shelters all over the nation.) 

STATISTICS ON PIT BULL BITES / FATALITIES 

According to the Injury Law Firm Fuicelli & Lee in Colorado, statistical sources show that, “From 2010 to June 2021, there were 430 fatal dog bites, with 185 of those coming from pit bulls, and another 41 that were pit bull mixes.” 

  • 60% had Pit Bull in their bloodlines (either full-blooded or a mix) 
  • 7% had Rottweiler in their bloodline 
  • 4% had German Shepherd in their bloodline 

DO WE NEED FEDERAL REGULATION?

 

 

Donors to major humane organizations which consistently lobby against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)—including Best Friends Animal Society, the Humane Society of the U.S. and American Society for the Protection of Animals—need to be asked why they are taking this position. 

There is no shortage of Pit Bulls and they are statistically proven to be the most abused breed, with no special effort by their enthusiasts to protect them. 

A national requirement for special permits which include pictures to be taken from four angles to capture unique characteristics, wearing a federal ID tag, and which included the consent of the owner to allow unannounced inspection of the premises and the condition and security of the animal shouldn’t offend a caring owner who understands the abuse of the breed. 

It would also go a long way toward protecting the dogs and to assure they are not being fought and reduce the number of human and animal victims by preventing escapes. If they were just pets, their value would also increase by breeding the aggressive genes out of the bloodline(s). 

It is not unusual for the federal government to make requirements on groups of animals for public safety, such as the CDC’s suspension for dogs imported from high-risk countries for rabies, which has been extended through July 31, 2023. 

Rabies vaccination mandates also fall under federal laws for safety, as do such items as children’s car seats, firearms, and the basic requirement of insurance for vehicles. 

Many products/items that can result in injury to children and the elderly in particular are subject to some type of state/federal regulation or oversight (for example, car seats or medications and nutritional supplements). 

Attacks by Pit Bulls on humans and animals—are a national and worldwide tragedy which must be stopped by increasing penalties. Dog fighting is already outlawed at the federal level by the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, signed by the President in 2019. 

IS BSL ALWAYS BAD? 

We also need to ask whether we agree with these groups’ blanket opposition to Breed Specific Laws (BSL). Is it good to not have any restrictions on Pit Bull ownership (e.g, age /criminal background/mandatory spay/neuter) that can protect them from being used for fighting or breeding? 

Is it worth the risk of having victims (animals and humans) maimed for life or killed, rather than have restrictions on how many can be owned and mandated requirements (such as those formerly in Muskegon) to attempt to keep them safe from human predators that place them in fights to die or kill to save their own life? 

NEW GROUP OF “NO BSL” ADVOCATES 

A new group of “No BSL” advocates is PitBullInfo.com, which uses stats from all organizations that support its agenda; such as, ASPCA figures showing “20% of mixed dogs are Pit Bulls.” 

It also has a section titled, “BSL Continues to Crumble,” showing a chart of all the towns, counties and cities that have reversed “No BSL" laws or Pit Bull bans. The latest is Estill Springs, TN, which covers an area of 4.5 square miles and had a population of 2,267 in 2020. 

LOCAL LAWS ARE ALSO INADEQUATE 

No. California Pit Bull Attack Severely Injures 10-Year Old Lab And Owners 

 

Stella, victim of attack. [Photo provided by Ted Pease] 

CA pets and their owners have become the victims of Pit Bulls in two tragic attacks this week and one Northern California community is “pushing for changes in animal control laws,” according to city of Trinidad resident, Ted Pease. 

A March 19 article described the savage, senseless mauling of Stella, a 10-year-old Black Labrador-mix while walking with her owners, Ted Pease and his wife. 

He described how the off-leash Pit Bull sprinted approximately 200 yards and violently attacked Stella a total of three times—two of which were after she had escaped the dog and ran and that she was “pretty well chewed up—neck/face and left front foot crushed.” 

The Pit Bull’s owner arrived and took the dog before Animal Control Officers arrived, the article states

Both Pease and his wife were injured and required immediate medical care. Among his injuries, he stated that the dog bit off the end of one of his fingers. 

“The attacking dog…has been ‘quarantined’ in her owner’s home since Wednesday,” he explained. “The dog’s owner has not answered or returned my phone calls, nor responded to us in any way,” he said

Pease contends, “The county’s regs on violent dog attacks is obviously woefully inadequate….” He says he is working with officials to make changes. 

Information can be obtained here regarding efforts to revise county and city codes. 

Two Pit Bulls Viciously Kill Tiny French Bulldog, named “Baby”


On March 8, two Pit Bulls headbutted until they tore the backyard fence at the home of Michael Fleck and his wife in Santa Rosa, CA.  They then killed their beloved 3-year-old French Bulldog, named Baby.

It happened on the day they were away, paying tribute to his brother who had just died of cancer. It happened about 10:45 a.m. and no one was home.

The Pit Bulls lived nearby and a neighbor got a call that they were roaming and biting fences.  This was not the first time they had been out , neighbors said.

After Michael returned, he watched his surveillance camera video and saw that the dogs had pulled and chewed on the fence until they got ahold of Baby’s leg and then chased her to a corner, where they killed her. 

“The Fleck’s Rottweiler, Grandma, sat in the backyard yelping and howling as the 80-100-lb. Pit Bulls-- attacked her little friend. The dogs “pumped” Grandma around a bit, Fleck said, but the focus was on Baby,” according to the Sonoma News report.

“In the video Grandma is just yelping,” Fleck said. “She was heartbroken.” Though devastating, the incident wasn’t a complete surprise. A day earlier, a neighbor called Sonoma County Animal Services to report that the dogs were destroying fences in the neighborhood.

Fleck reported Baby’s death to Sonoma County Animal Services. The Pit Bulls’ owner was then given the option to surrender the dogs to be euthanized or take the case to court, according to the Operations Manager.

Both dogs were euthanized on March 11.

“People don’t know what to do, who to call, or what to say when they see a loose dog,” Areyan said. “This could’ve been prevented.”

Read entire article by the Press Democrat here .the home of Michael Fleck and his wife in Santa Rosa, CA.  They then killed their beloved tiny 3-year-old French Bulldog, named Baby.

It happened on the day hoth were away, paying tribute to his brother who had just died of cancer. It happened about 10:45 a.m. and no one was home.

The Pit Bulls lived nearby and a neighbor got a call that they were roaming and biting fences.  This was not the first time the call had gone out , neighbors said.

After he returned, he watched his surveillance camera video and saw that the dogs had pulled and chewed on the fence until they got ahold of Baby’s leg and then chased her to a corner, where they killed her. 

“The Fleck’s rottweiler, Grandma, sat in the backyard yelping and howling as the Pit Bulls--  weighing about 80-100 pounds each-- attacked her little friend. The dogs “pumped” Grandma around a bit, Fleck said, but the focus was on Baby,” according to the Sonoma News report.

“In the video Grandma is just yelping,” Fleck said. “She was heartbroken.”

 Though devastating, the incident wasn’t a complete surprise. A day earlier, a neighbor called Sonoma County Animal Services to report that the dogs were destroying fences in the neighborhood, Fleck said.

Fleck reported Baby’s death to Sonoma County Animal Services. The pit bulls’ owner was then given the option to surrender the dogs to be euthanized or take the case to court, according to the Operations Manager.

Both dogs were euthanized on March 11.

“People don’t know what to do, who to call, or what to say when they see a loose dog,” Areyan said. “This could’ve been prevented.”

Read entire article by the Press Democrat here .

San Antonio Revises Animal Control Laws after Fatal Pit Bull Attack on Air Force Veteran

  

Following a February Pit Bull attack in San Antonio, which killed 81-year-old Air Force Veteran Ramon Najera Jr. and wounded his wife and first responders, instead of civil penalties, ACS will now issue criminal citations to the owners of dogs who leave their property and bite residents. 

Ramon Najera was trying to protect his wife, 74, from the dogs on February 26, when they broke free from a yard and killed him, according to the Daily Mail. 

The dogs were owned by Christian Alexander and his wife Abilene Moreno. He claimed he was not responsible and “had taken care when raising them.” 

His wife admitted that the dogs “had attacked people twice before and were confiscated by the authorities before. But (their) kids begged them to take them back.” “We were coming back and I saw the dogs behind the gate but they were full of blood,” she said. 

ACS has been actively inspecting properties where canines are deemed dangerous after an investigation or have been involved in an attack for which a victim has filed a dangerous dog affidavit, according to the memo. 

Although there are 103 dogs designated as dangerous in San Antonio, only 43 of their owners are in compliance with state regulations, the memo said. 

Owners of dangerous dogs must obtain liability insurance of $100,000, install permanent signs informing the public that a dangerous dog lives at the residence and obtain special leashes and muzzles. 

Of the 60 out of compliance, 45 have significant compliance gaps, including dogs “being free of restraint,” according to the memo. 

AMERICA IS FAILING VICTIMS—HUMANS AND ANIMALS 

Multi-millions of dollars are spent by governmental animal control agencies. An equal amount, if not more, is donated to non-profit humane societies and animal charities to keep both animals and humans safe. There is no a lack of funding, but—until now- no demand for results. 

BOTH ARE FAILING!! This is a national problem. People, especially children and the elderly, are being attacked and killed on their own streets and in their own yards by dogs they can’t control or avoid—some stray, some owned. 

We need Pit Bulls and other dangerous dogs to have special restrictions, if necessary, to not be a danger, nor to be deliberately harmed by anyone, without consequences. 

We need innocent victims of attacks to have training and job opportunities and the resources to heal physically, financially, mentally and emotionally---because their lives will never be the same.

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a regular contributor to CityWatch.)