Elgin, Illinois to Consider “Pit Bull” Ban Yet Again

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Jun 11th, 2009
7 Comments
1598 Views

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: mayor@cityofelgin.org
Councilman Mike Warren: warren_m@cityofelgin.org
Councilman Robert Gilliam: gilliam_r@cityofelgin.org
Councilman David Kaptain: kaptain_d@cityofelgin.org
Councilman F. John Steffen: steffen_j@cityofelgin.org
Councilman Richard Dunne: rdunne@cityofelgin.org
Councilman John Prigge: prigge_j@cityofelgin.org

7 Responses to “Elgin, Illinois to Consider “Pit Bull” Ban Yet Again”

  1. Kayla says:

    Yikes. Hopefully they wont get far with this again. Id have to wonder how many times do you try before you decide is it really worth trying anymore!

  2. NPBB says:

    Right. How many times must your citizens come out in droves to tell you that they don’t want BSL? And why is it seemingly the same councilmen proposing BSL over and over? They say they do it to make the community safer, but at this point how could you NOT know that BSL doesn’t work? Even a cursory Google search can tell you that. There are so many communities either repealing BSL or back pedaling after initially considering it (Highland Park being the most recent in the Chicago area) thanks to a barrage of people from all over the country sending information about how ineffective BSL is, that if you don’t know by now that BSL doesn’t work you really should.

    One thing’s for sure. Because of all the adverse legislation animal owners have had to deal with in the past few years, we are becoming a formidable group of voters and our memory is long. So in a municipal election, can you really afford to lose the dog-owning vote? Because when you push BSL, that’s exactly what happens. Many people have lost elections by pushing bad animal legislation. (Yes, what’s Lloyd Levine of AB 1634 fame in California doing these days? My guess is not a whole lot.)

  3. Kayla says:

    Exactly! That is exactly how I feel. I dont know if they think showing sympathy for the ones they are looking into passing the BSL for he first place is helping them get votes. But how many people are there are going to vote for it other than dog owners. I just dont get it.

    Eventually the truth will get to everyone. How BSL doesnt work is being pushed around the internet or to cities everywhere and maybe not soon but one of these days this mess will be over. I think everyone is doing a good job in spreading the truths and/or statitics about BSL. Eventually you are just going to look dumb when you try and pass it!

  4. Brad Stewart says:

    You make some excellant and educated points. Any dog can become aggressive, and contrary to popular belief, alot of what a dog knows and how it acts is from what it has been taught. Much like a child, you teach a (any) dog to be a certain way, and that is how that dog is going to behave. Lets premote responsible ownership instead, of any animal for that matter. How about safety awareness for the public, teach people how to be safe and fend off attacks from dogs. EDUCATE, NOT ELIMINATE! Has anyone formed an organization to speak out against this yet? Lets start one. I feel an obligation to defend my “pitbull” that I adopted from Chicagolan Dog Rescue in 2004, who has been nothing but a great dog since we have had her. She is also so incrediblly vicous that she runs from pillows, ballons, and my 2 1/2 year old daughter. Educate, not eliminate.

  5. Katy says:

    I have had seriously frustrating dialogue with one particular councilman relating to this issue and I am hoping that level heads will prevail to over-ride his viewpoints. He comes across as an alarmist and refuses to educate himself on the true issues surrounding a breed ban. I just found this website – I’m happy it is here and hope that constructive information can be presented int his forum.

  6. Dayna says:

    That must have been councilman Prigge… I had an equally frustrating email conversation with him a number of months ago and was told he wouldn’t listen to anything I presented because it’s a matter of public safety and he was only going to listen to Elgin residents. Last I heard, this was in an effort to deal with Elgin’s “gang problem”- sorry guys, you’re dealing with the wrong end of the leash! I look forward to the day when people are well educated enough to not walk to the other side of the street when I’m walking my pit- who, much like Brad’s dog, is so mean that she’s scared of paper, plastic bags, and generally anything that makes noise.

  7. megan says:

    My mom was viciously by a lab that her uncle owned for 5 years she had to have several stitches in her face but no one even talked about punishing the dog instead they punished her for giving him a kiss. If it were a pit bull they would have put him to sleep.It makes me want to cry i have a 1 year old pit bull and i love him. People say that its not fair how we “blame” the victims but when we have to listen to the children screaming please dont kill my dog hes NEVER bitten anyone, Who are the victims know the poor children. My dear friend had a Pit bull that was a THEREPY DOG and a family member of 15 years but he had to be uthinized because she didnt move out of a “Banned Area” and her sibling SCREAMED when they killed there pet of 15 years HOW DO YOU THINK THIS IS WRIGHT! ARE YOU EVEN HUMAN?

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