Shadyside, Ohio to Consider Banning “Vicious” Dogs

Unfortunately, folks in Shadyside have been getting some bad information.   Shadyside committee member Greg Warren told the press in a July 3 article that “pit bulls” are “a nuisance and dangerous” which is why Shadyside may be seeking to pass breed-specific legislation (BSL) banning them.  

Mr. Warren added, All the research shows the pit bull is the number one dog that will attack.”   What research?   Merritt Clifton?   Well, if so, may we refer the Shadyside Village Council to our resources section and particularly our Debunking page and our Debunking Merritt Clifton’s “Statistics” page.   So-called “statistics” on “pit bulls” are automatically false since “pit bull” is not a breed, but a type; a type which can describe countless actual breeds, their mixes, and dogs that bear an unfortunate resemblance to those breeds and mixes.   If you understand that “pit bull” is a conglomeration of breeds, mixes, and lookalikes, not a breed itself, then you can so easily understand why statistics on “pit bulls” are skewed, false, and therefore meaningless.   In fact, some have even confused Chihuahuas for “pit bulls,” so you have to wonder if there is a dog breed you couldn’t call a “pit bull.”  

Mr. Warren went on to say that, “The dogs dont just bite¦they continue to bite”…   Yet, Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D., who is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Georgia Savanna River Ecology Laboratory and an expert in training, handling, behavior and the anatomy of bully breeds, gave the following testimony in the Tellings v. Toledo trial in 2006:

¦pit bulls [which the court defined earlier as meaning the American Pit Bull Terrier] do not have locking jaws. Based on actual dog dissections and measurement of their skulls, the evidence demonstrated that pit bull jaw muscles and bone structure are the same as other similarly sized dogs. No evidence was presented to demonstrate that a pit bulls bite is any stronger than other dogs of its size and build¦[C]ontrary to information relied upon and perpetuated by earlier case law¦and law review articles¦assertions that a pit bull can bite with a ˜force of 2,000 pounds per square inch have absolutely no basis in fact or scientific proof.

The court also affirmed in its decision that,

Many pit bulls may also exhibit a behavior or trait referred to as ˜gameness, which, simply stated, is the ability or willingness to continue doing an action once begun, i.e. stick-to-it-iveness. Gameness, in itself, is not a negative trait. For example, the ability to carry out duties or trained tasks, despite injury, distraction, or frustration, is desirable in pit bulls which have been trained to be search and rescue dogs, protection dogs in the U.S. military, drug sniffing dogs, and therapy dogs.

As ever, dogs can be trained to do good things or bad things; the bad things are an indication of an owner problem, not a breed problem.  

And while the Toledo v. Tellings decision was overturned on appeal at the Ohio Supreme Court, it should be noted that there were accusations of evidence tampering at trial.   So much that surrounds BSL appears, even to the untrained eye, to be shady and corrupt.   Indeed, the Ohio Supreme Courts decision in the Tellings case was the first time that the public caught wind of the concept of a kangaroo court as pertains to BSL.

While we have sent Shadyside a letter explaining all these things to them, it is still of great help if other folks voice their polite and respectful opposition to BSL too.   You can contact the Shadyside Mayor’s Office at the following address (and thanks to StopBSL for providing this contact information):

Mayors Office
50 E 39th St.
Shadyside, Ohio 43947-1303
Fax: 740-676-1084

2 responses to “Shadyside, Ohio to Consider Banning “Vicious” Dogs”

  1. It should also be noted that the Toledo courts held that the city of Toledo could not make illegal (owning pit bulls) what the state made explicitely legal — even as a home rule city. So it would be unlikely that Shadyside’s law would hold up in court under that precedent either — particularly if they are not a home rule city (which they likely are not).

  2. You are so right Brent, and thank you for reminding me since I was remiss in not mentioning it. Yes, the most recent example of BSL being unconstitutional was a January 2010 ruling in Toledo which declared Toledos BSL beyond the purview of home rule power. So, based on that ruling, whether Shadyside was a home rule city or not, I doubt their BSL would be considered legal or constitutional, especially now that Ohio at the state level is seeking to remove the dangerous dog designation as applying to “pit bull dogs.”

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