June 11th, 2009 by Editor
From The Daily Herald:
In 1996, Elgin City Councilman Robert Gilliam unsuccessfully tried to ban pit bulls within the city.
Wednesday night, after hearing emotional, graphic and heartbreaking stories from residents who were attacked themselves or had their own dogs mauled by pit bulls, Gilliam pledged to re-examine the topic this summer.
Residents Wednesday asked the council to revisit a pit bull ban, or to at least toughen penalties, restrictions and regulations for violent and aggressive dogs that attack people and other dogs.
A May 12 incident in which a Gretchen Ohl’s Chihuahua was killed by two pit bulls on the near west side sparked the turnout, but it was clear that the problem had impacted many before last month.
…At at meeting for the Near West Neighborhood Association last week, James Rog, the lone animal control officer for Elgin Police, urged homeowners to call the department’s nonemergency number, (847) 289-2700, at the first sight of a dog on the loose.
Read this article in its entirety here.
And each of the individuals giving testimony is an expert in dog breed determinations right? No, they’re not! (and in fact neither are the law enforcement officials and animal control officers tasked with making breed determinations when a breed-specific ban is passed.) With the media reporting on so-called “pit bulls” ad nauseam, what “breed” would you expect people inexperienced in making proper breed determinations to say they or their dog was attacked by? “Pit bull” is not a breed which is why statistics on “pit bulls” are skewed and therefore meaningless. The CDC readily admitted this when they debunked their own study of dog bites from 1979-1998. The CDC noted:
“…to the extent that attacks by 1 breed are more newsworthy than those by other breeds, our methods may have resulted in differential ascertainment of fatalities by breed.”
Since the CDC’s own stats were based on media reports of attacks, how credible do you think those stats are? After all, what breed is a “pit bull-type dog” exactly? Doesn’t that sound like a vague characterization that could describe any medium- or large-breed dog? And it does describe countless breeds which is why countless medium- and large-sized breeds have been mislabeled as “pit bulls.”
The CDC acknowledges that the problem inherent with BSL is that it is impossible to determine breed with accuracy:
“…breed-specific ordinances raise several practical issues. For optimal enforcement, there would need to be an objective method of determining the breed of a particular dog. Pedigree analysis (a potentially time-consuming and complicated effort) combined with DNA testing (also time-consuming and expensive) is the closest to an objective standard for conclusively identifying a dog’s breed. Owners of mixed-breed or unregistered (ie, by a kennel club) dogs have no way of knowing whether their dog is one of the types identified and whether they are required to comply with breed-specific ordinances. Thus, law enforcement personnel have few means for positively determining a dog’s breed and deciding whether owners are in compliance or violation of laws.”
Perhaps that’s why the CDC does not recommend breed-specific legislation:
“Breed-specific legislation does not address the fact that a dog of any breed can become dangerous… From a scientific point of view, we are unaware of any formal evaluation of the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing fatal or nonfatal dog bites. An alternative to breed-specific legislation is to regulate individual dogs and owners on the basis of their behavior.”
Please contact the Elgin, Illinois Mayor and City Council here (or using the e-mail addresses below) and politely inform them that breed bans are unenforceable and ineffective. If there is any room for improvement in Elgin it’s that the city needs more than one animal control officer to police a city of almost 100,000 residents.
Mayor Edward Schock: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Mike Warren: email@example.com
Councilman Robert Gilliam: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman David Kaptain: email@example.com
Councilman F. John Steffen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Richard Dunne: email@example.com
Councilman John Prigge: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted in Breed-Specific Legislation, Elgin IL City Council