Great Bend, Kansas Still Mulling “Pit Bull” Ban

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Jun 20th, 2013
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Editor’s note: Municipalities should absolutely care about protecting children and indeed all of their citizens, but that’s precisely why citizens shouldn’t lobby for breed-specific legislation (BSL), whether an outright ban or restrictions, because BSL has a decades-long history of not working.  Indeed, if people really wanted to keep their children and communities safer, they’d be lobbying for legislation — like a dangerous dog (owner) law with escalating fines and penalties for irresponsible dog owners of any breed — and the Animal Control to enforce it.  As the article below notes, Great Bend already has a dangerous dog law, so it simply needs to be enforced, and as mentioned in a prior post, Great Bend’s biggest problem is not a breed problem, but a free-roaming dog problem.  So dangerous dog (owner) laws and leash and containment laws have proven successful in communities with free-roaming dog problems; BSL on the other hand has a proven track-record of inefficacy.

And Ms. Snapp would do well to stop reading that doggy-killer website Dogsbite.org, although Ms. Snapp might find it interesting to note that the owner of Dogsbite.org, Colleen Lynn, has recently admitted that breed-specific laws do not reduce the number of dog bites, yet for some inexplicable reason, she continues to push BSL anyway.  Anyone who cites “pit bull” in their statistics as if that were a real breed is automatically discredited as a proper source since there is no breed “pit bull”.  The slang term “pit bull” can describe countless breeds, mixes, and lookalikes, which is why stats on so-called “pit bulls” are so high: they are a conglomeration of breeds, mixes, and lookalikes (which even the CDC acknowledges).  For example, Boxers are often called “pit bulls,” but then we’ve seen people call Labradors “pit bulls” too, so what breed of dog or mix couldn’t be called a “pit bull”?

In addition, no dog is “bred to fight” as Ms. Snapp contends.  A dog of any breed can be bred for certain traits, like strength and athleticism, but it is the human that trains that dog in its behavior.  So, a person with bad intentions could train a dog of any breed to fight, or a person with good intentions could train that same dog for agility trials, or search and rescue.  Both employ traits like strength and athleticism, but it is the human that trains and directs the behavior, whether good or bad.  That’s why Michael Vick’s former dogs were so easy to rehabilitate; because if dogs can be trained in bad behavior, they can also be trained out of that bad behavior and trained and rewarded for good behavior.  After all, dogs don’t know right from wrong; it’s up to their human owners to train them in proper behavior.

From the Great Bend Tribune:

Twenty or so Great Bend residents piled into the City Council chambers Wednesday evening to voice their opinions on banning pit bulls within the city limits and other vicious dog-related problems.

By the end of the hour-long hearing before city’s committee charged with drafting recommendations for the council, a two themes emerged.

First, there is a very vocal contingent of pit bull owners who love their dogs and feel they are being punished for the acts of irresponsible owners.

Second, there are those who still view the embattled breed as inherently dangerous and should not be allowed in town.

“It’s not a dog problem,” said Charlie Keeler. “The problem is with the people.” 

He went on to ask why existing ordinances against vicious dogs are not enforced.

“I am quite opposed to a pit bull ban,” said another audience member. “You are punishing responsible owners.”
The speaker went on to say that breed-specific bans are costly, ineffective and could cause authorities to target dogs that look like pit bulls.

Gladys Chism told the committee that the city needs stiffer fines and better enforcement. “That’s the solution.”
Even the pit bull owners said there is a issue with dogs running at large. Not all of these are pits, but they all cause problems.

But, “if you look at the facts and put emotion aside, the numbers tell the story,” said Elise Snapp. In 2012, 61 percent of fatal dog attacks were by pit bulls with the next most lethal breed (rottweilers) coming in at 8 percent.

“We’re talking about the safety of our children,” Snapp said. “What price would put on our lives?”
She said only 5 percent of the population owns pit bulls. Everyone else has the right to feel safe when at a park or somewhere else in public.

These dogs are bred to fight, she said…

The committee will meet next at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10. The members will review the comments and start preparing their recommendations to take to the Council. The meet will be open to the public.

 

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