Garland County, Arkansas May Consider Breed-Specific Ordinance After Bull Mastiff Mauling

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Jun 17th, 2013
2 Comments
2362 Views

June 18, 2013 update:  As this article, which was published yesterday, shows, Garland County is now suddenly looking to restrict so-called “pit bulls” in addition to most likely mastiffs, because the Hot Springs Animal Control examined the dead Bull Mastiff and suddenly realized it was 50% “pit bull.”  So now the dog is 1/2 “pit bull” to fit Garland County’s BSL requirement, which must be why Animal Services Director Dan Bugg claims that the,

“Largest number of breed specific bites were pit bulls at 21 percent in 2008 and 2009. In 2012, I did the same type of study again. Pit bull or pit bull mixes made up 58 percent of our bites,” said Animal Services Director Dan Bugg.

As an Animal Services Director, shouldn’t he know better than to claim that “pit bull” is a breed? As we so often say here, “pit bull” is NOT a breed. The slang term “pit bull” can incorporate any number of actual breeds, their mixes, and lookalikes to the point where all Mr. Bugg’s stats would prove is that Animal Control is lousy at making breed determinations.  So, which came first, one wonders, the breed-specific ordinance draft, or the dog mauling?  Indeed, this whole situation is starting to stink to high heaven. It stinks of corruption and a dirty back-room deal.

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Editor’s note: Several things stand out here.  First, Mr. Gates, who is working on the breed-specific ordinance, acknowledges his ordinance wouldn’t have saved the victim, 5-year old Ayden Evans, had it been in place prior to his having been mauled.  In fact, a prior report of the events of the mauling note that the boy was throwing a tantrum and the dog mistook the boy’s actions for a threat against his owner.  This does not excuse what the dog did, but it should show that people need to be educated about not having their canines of any breed around a child unsupervised, and that children should be instructed in how to behave around their own animals and to stay away from other animals — domestic or wild — they don’t know.  I’m not victim blaming here, but pointing at breeds when there is human error (the owner’s), will not prevent future attacks.

Second, no particular medium- or large-breed dog does more damage when it bites, and even small-breeds like Jack Russells have been known to kill infants.   In other words, dog bites/maulings are not restricted to one breed, nor do certain breeds do more damage when they bite/attack, and to say so is to give credence to long-debunked urban mythology about certain breeds.  Third, stigmatizing certain breeds and keeping them constantly “locked up” is cruelty to the animal, and likely to bring about the very behavior the ordinance is seeking to curb. 

Fourth, there is no study that proves — at least via properly-gleaned data which employs the scientific method — that there is any such thing as an inherently vicious breed or breeds, and therefore no rational basis by which to pass a breed-specific ordinance.  There are, however, junk science “studies” and websites, faulty statistics, hysteria, and a media propagating that hysteria that report on only a handful of breeds to the exclusion of others that also bite and attack.  This kind of myopic reporting makes it appear as if there is a problem with specific breeds, when in reality, there is, and always has been, a problem with irresponsible canine ownership in a minority of people.  

Fifth, it appears as if Mr. Gates thinks that people shouldn’t mind if the County passes breed-specific legislation (BSL)  to unconstitutionally restrict certain breeds because it’s not an outright ban.  On the contrary, it is still unconstitutional to pass BSL, whether an outright ban or breed-specific restrictions, because the ordinance would still adversely affect law-abiding dog owners for no good reason (since BSL in any form is well known to not reduce dog bites or attacks) and thereby negate their due process and equal protection rights, in addition to the ex post facto violation of the incorrectly-named “grandfather clause.”

Please contact the Garland County Quorum Court Justices of the Peace here, and politely inform them that BSL in any form is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional.

From KNWA News:

During a heartbreaking interview last week, the mother of five-year-old Ayden Evans…said she supports new restrictions on dog owners in light of the Bullmastiff attack that killed her son May 9th.

…The attack was just the latest in a string of incidents that’s led to calls for the county to crackdown on certain breeds.

Now, elected officials appear ready to act.

“These are breeds that when they do bite, they seem to do significant damage,” said Garland County Justice of the Peace Mickey Gates.

Gates is working to craft an ordinance aimed at cutting the number of serious attacks.  Some are pushing for an all-out ban on certain breeds.

…But Gates said the plan that’s moving forward would not ban any breeds.

Rather, it would list potentially dangerous breeds and require owners to keep them locked up or on a leash .

Owners would also have pay to have a microchip implanted so dogs can be identified.

“We didn’t want to infringe on people that weren’t being part of the problem,” Gates said. “We wanted to be as least intrusive as possible.”

Gates concedes that the new rules would not have helped little Ayden who was mauled in the home of a family friend.

 

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2 Responses to “Garland County, Arkansas May Consider Breed-Specific Ordinance After Bull Mastiff Mauling”

  1. Amanda Shepherd says:

    I would like to move that Mr.Gates step down from his office peacefully or be forcefully removed by a petition from the hundreds of people who this will affect! Also I would like for the MOTHER of the child to be investigated and possibly charged with neglect for letting the child around an unknown animal

  2. I think it’s interesting too, that this article, which was published yesterday, shows that Garland County is suddenly looking to restrict so-called “pit bulls” as well because the Hot Springs Animal Control examined the dead Bull Mastiff and suddenly realized it was 50% “pit bull.”

    So now the dog is 1/2 “pit bull” to fit their BSL requirement, which must be why Animal Services Director Dan Bugg claims that the,

    “Largest number of breed specific bites were pit bulls at 21 percent in 2008 and 2009. In 2012, I did the same type of study again. Pit bull or pit bull mixes made up 58 percent of our bites,” said Animal Services Director Dan Bugg.

    As an Animal Services Director, shouldn’t he know better than to claim that “pit bull” is a breed? As we so often say here, “pit bull” is NOT a breed. The slang term “pit bull” can incorporate any number of actual breeds, their mixes, and lookalikes to the point where all Mr. Bugg’s stats would prove is that Animal Control is lousy at making breed determinations. But then we’ve known that Animal Controls aren’t very good at making breed determinations for a while now. We’ve known that since at least as long as Denver’s been killing innocent dogs under Denver’s breed ban, where their ACOs continue to call Boxer mixes “pit bulls.”

    And since we’re talking about Denver, anyone else get the funny feeling that Kory Nelson and/or Dogsbite.org are involved with the Garland County BSL proposal? Judging from the ignorant comments from Mr. Gates, et al, it certainly does sound like they’re involved.

    Regardless, this whole situation is starting to stink to high heaven. It stinks of corruption and a dirty back-room deal.

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