Greybull, Wyoming Passes 1st Reading of Extreme Pit Bull Restrictions, Animal Control Measures

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Oct 26th, 2013
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Greybull, Wyoming’s Animal Control officer, Doug Youngerman, has introduced several Animal Control measures that are both extreme and an invasion of privacy, not the least of which involves breed-specific legislation (BSL) for so-called pit bulls, which passed its first reading on Monday, October 21, 2013.

Forget the absurdity of requiring a tiny town of approximately 2,000 people to have annual kennel inspections and to require that cat owners license and microchip their cats, Greybull’s Animal Control officer Doug Youngerman said his ordinance proposal,

. . .  also gives him “more teeth to go after dogs that are being badly abused in town,” by allowing him to go onto private property to conduct animal welfare investigations.

I guess we’re supposed to forget that trespassing on private property without probable cause and/or a warrant is a violation of 4th amendment privacy rights.  But then there’s always a claimed, good reason for rights-negaters to take your rights.  They wax poetic about the need for public safety, or in this case animal welfare, but in the end what the public is often left with is neither animal welfare or safety. 

For instance, some municipalities have passed breed-specific legislation claiming it protects “pit bulls,” which is an Orwellian double-speak maneuver since we know full well that BSL increases owner relinquishments of dogs, which translates to skyrocketing kill rates, and BSL doesn’t even keep the community safer.  In fact, as Denver and Miami-Dade have shown, BSL actually increases dog bite-related hospitalizations. 

And yes, of course dog fighting should be outlawed, and no one would contest that part of Youngerman’s proposal which would make it illegal for anyone to “willfully allow any animal to fight, worry or injure another [sic] animals.”  But why does that provision have to attend a breed-specific provision as well?  In other words, if indeed dog fighting is a problem in Greybull, why can’t Youngerman crack down on blood sporting instead of also restricting so-called pit bulls?

Indeed, Youngerman’s ordinance outright declares “pit bulls” vicious, defining the “pit bull” “breed” as three breeds and their lookalikes:

The ordinance would set as a definition for pit bull “any American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or any dog which as [sic] the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly in any one or more of the aforementioned breeds.”

Again, as Denver has shown, that “any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly in any one or more of the aforementioned breeds” part can get municipalities in trouble since Denver repeatedly mistakes Boxers for “pit bulls;” i.e. Denver cannot discern what is and what is not a “pit bull” as defined by their own ordinance.

Youngerman insinuates that Greybull should support BSL since his proposal is not an outright ban, claiming his justification for restricting “pit bulls” is that “We have some very scary pit bulls out there.”  So Animal Control officer Youngerman is afraid of dogs?  Is that what this is about?  No, Greybull doesn’t have scary dogs; Greybull has some scary dog owners who, if Youngerman’s testimony is correct, abuse their dogs. 

The Greybull Standard noted that the “new ordinance would put an end to the days when owners left their pit bulls tied to a chain in their yard.”  You would think this would mean that Greybull would be considering a provision to codify proper and humane tethering.  Instead, Youngerman’s ordinance proposal would actually codify animal abuse since, if it were approved,

. . .  owners would be required to keep their pit bulls “indoors, in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel approved by the town’s animal control officer or in a fenced area approved by the animal control officer, except when leashed.”

If the pit bill is out its confined area, it would have to be on a leash no longer than 4 feet and it would have to be muzzled at all times, states the ordinance. A pit bull owner would also be required to provide the animal control officer with two color photographs of the pit bull.

Requiring “pit bulls” to be constantly kenneled and muzzled is abusive to the animal and likely to bring about the very behavior the ordinance claims to want to curb!  To put that another way, Youngerman’s ordinance proposal would make it a requirement by law to abuse “pit bulls”!

Add the usual hysterical why-won’t-someone-think-of-the-children-type statements — “I’m afraid of what could happen” if we don’t take action, said Youngerman. “We’re going to have a child or another human being killed. I’m trying to get a handle on this before we have an attack.” — and voilà, you’ve got a hysterical piece of legislation, a breed-specific law, that even the White House acknowledges is impotent legislation that does not keep communities safer. 

Councilman Bob McGuire was the lone voice of reason, casting the only “no” vote during the first reading of Youngerman’s ordinance proposal.  McGuire said,

. . . he’s been chewed on by all breeds in his 30 years in law enforcement and that he felt the ordinance was a kneejerk reaction.

He said it boils down to personal responsibility. He said a vicious animal is a vicious animal. “If the meter reader can’t walk into your yard with the expectation of safety, that is a vicious animal,” he said. “As the owner, you have to take responsibility, either by building a kennel or providing for safety.”

McGuire said the town already has an ordinance on the books and that the new one isn’t needed.  People just need to be responsible for their pets, he said.

McGuire stated the obvious: That Greybull doesn’t have a vicious “pit bull” problem, or even a vicious dog problem.  If anything, Greybull has an irresponsible pet owner problem, and nanny-state, overly-punitive legislation never made citizens more responsible. 

We’ve seen this “model” Animal Control ordinance, or parts of it, being proposed for years all around the country, so it is well known that its source is a radical animal rights group.  We’ve seen kennel license requirements that were excessive and severe, and yes, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of BSL with its attending overreaches, so ACO Youngerman’s ordinance proposal is nothing new.  What is surprising is to see it in Wyoming in a town of less than 2,000 people. 

If it’s true that even a tiny town in Wyoming, or its government, will subscribe to the ideology of radical animal rightists and will consider their Socialist, and unconstitutional “model” legislation, then this country really is in a lot of trouble, because it has clearly been taken over by extremists.  But they don’t just want your dog.  They want your rights.

 

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