Do You Believe in Coincidence? Neither Do We…
Update, June 1, 2010: According to a media report, it appears that the dogs in question were free-roaming through no fault of the owner. The dogs were discovered missing from their cages upon the owner’s return home and there was an apparent hole in the fence. As the owner herself has said, there should be a full investigation into this incident, including finger-printing of the empty cages and the hole in the fence, to determine the culprits of this crime and just who it was who put that 9-year-old boy’s life in jeopardy.
The people in Elgin, Illinois, must be thinking, “Here we go again!” after the Daily Herald reported yesterday on another supposed “pit bull” incident in which a boy, 9, in Elgin’s Festival Park was bitten by one of two free-roaming supposed “pit bulls.” Naturally, Councilman John Prigge is chomping at the bit and will almost certainly try to get something breed-specific passed, moving against the will of the majority of Elgin’s citizens again. Prigge is like the Terminator; he won’t stop until, I guess, he sees a lot of dead dogs. (And isn’t that what breed-specific laws always amount to: a lot of dead dogs?)
We have always wondered if Prigge has been promised something politically (like a state senator or representative seat perhaps?) if he can get a breed-specific law in some form passed in Elgin. He appears to have been installed by whatever radical animal rights group backed him. (He himself has cited PETA as reason to pass a breed-specific law, and yes, for those folks who don’t know, PETA is in favor of breed bans. He has also cited Denver’s supposedly successful “pit bull” ban as well which has led some to wonder if Prigge is being aided by Denver Assistant City Attorney Kory Nelson.) That’s why his only main objective in office thus far seems to have been to pass breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Elgin.
Funny how in the little over a year that Prigge has been in office he has had three, possibly four, “opportunities” (meaning supposed “pit bull” attacks) to pass BSL. I say possibly four incidents because in the third incident, which was right after Prigge lost a key vote for BSL back in March, the Chicago Tribune reported the dog in question as being a “pit bull,” but (an) Elgin city insider(s) reported the dog as having been a Boxer mix. Had the dog’s breed not been outed, there is no doubt the incident would have been used to push for BSL in April, a mere month after Prigge’s first initial square-peg-round-holing of BSL in Elgin. Instead, Prigge is poised to push for BSL again, a mere two months after his initial square-peg-round-holing of BSL in Elgin; a mere two months after he said this:
I do believe something’s going to happen…I think it’s inevitable…We need to have another occurrence to happen – hopefully it’s not a tragedy – and then there’s no turning back.
Was he promising another “pit bull” attack then, or just hoping for one? He said it was inevitable and a mere month or two later and there is a pretense for a breed-specific law. How convenient. And look what he said yesterday: “‘I knew we would be back here…’I’m rearing to go on this’.” Hmm…don’t you wonder just exactly how Prigge knew Elgin would be looking at BSL again, and so soon after his failed attempt in March? And yes, it appears that since Prigge’s failed attempt at BSL in March, there have been two incidents in Elgin where the dogs in question were or are being passed off as “pit bulls.” Perhaps that’s why (according to Elgin2030) Prigge has a police scanner. Is he just sitting around waiting to hear of any dog attack he can turn into a “pit bull” attack? Are you starting to understand how this game is played folks?
So, were the dogs involved in Friday’s incident “pit bulls” or are they just saying they were so Prigge can get his BSL? And what is a “pit bull” exactly? Elgin’s prior BSL ordinance defined “pit bull” as,
…any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.
Does it not follow, that if Elgin defines “pit bull” as three breeds and any dogs resembling those breeds that the term “pit bull” as they define it could describe countless numbers of dogs???
Skewing statistics in this way renders these stats void and irrelevant, and yet cities like Elgin keep citing these kinds of statistics as if “pit bulls” are at epidemic levels. Going forward, do folks in Elgin understand that if Elgin passes a breed-specific ordinance using the above definition of a “pit bull” that even if they don’t own what they think is a “pit bull” they just might have their dog confiscated anyway (for non-compliance) if the City thinks it looks like a “pit bull”? Do folks in Elgin who own a dog understand that this isn’t just about “pit bulls,” but that all medium- and large-breed dogs could potentially come under scrutiny? Do folks in Elgin understand that BSL is forbidden under Illinois state law? Do folks in Elgin understand that BSL is a constitutional issue and not a ‘home rule’ issue, particularly as Toledo, Ohio’s breed-specific ordinance was just deemed unconstitutional because it was shown to exceed the purview of home rule power? Indeed, Toledo is currently in the process of drafting a non-breed-specific dangerous dog law, and a representative from that district is currently trying to overturn Ohio’s statewide breed-specific law, which is an acknowledgment that Toledo’s and Ohio’s breed-specific laws didn’t work! So why do BSL proponents still not get that BSL is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional???
The bigger issue in Elgin, and certainly the bigger threat, is that these dogs were free-roaming. [Actually, while free-roaming dogs are a problem, they can be a symptom of larger societal problems: gangs, drugs, and thuggery. These are the real problems; problems that the City of Elgin hopes nobody notices. At least the 9-year-old victim of these supposed “pit bulls” is alive. Does anyone care that Larkin High School sophomore Edgar Guerra-Guzman, 16, was fatally stabbed by two teens on May 22?!?! If you click the preceding link, you can flip through mugshots of alleged murderers, an alleged would-be murderer, an alleged drug deal, alleged gang members, and even someone who threatened a judge (allegedly), all in Elgin. Clearly, gangs, drugs, and overall thuggery are the biggest problems Elgin has, but Prigge and the Elgin City Council are drudging up the incredibly divisive “pit bull” thing again??? A 16-year-old boy is dead! Where’s the outrage over that???] Any free-roaming dog is a potential threat. That’s why Elgin has a leash/containment law. But what would have potentially kept the 9-year-old Elgin boy from being bitten is another Animal Control Officer or two (since Elgin has approximately 100,000 people in residence and only one Animal Control Officer). So, this latest so-called “pit bull” incident isn’t about breed. It’s an issue, as ever, of dogs free-roaming and the larger societal problems that cause there to be free-roaming dogs in the first place.
And since it is Councilman Prigge and the Elgin City Council who appear poised to cause strife amongst Elgin citizens with what one can only assume is their forthcoming breed-specific ordinance, which promises to once again be divisive and the cause of great discord in Elgin, do Elgin residents worry that there were people conjecturing about corruption and wrong-doing on the parts of some City officials/councilmen during the last bout of BSL in Elgin? Do Elgin citizens find the timing — a holiday weekend — of this latest potential push for BSL a little suspect? And don’t Elgin citizens find it slightly odd that there have been only a handful of “pit bull” incidents to make the paper in the last decade in Elgin, but since Prigge’s been a councilman there have been 3-4? Do you believe in coincidence? Neither do we.
Read more about it:
Why BSL is unconstitutional