Kirksville, Missouri Councilwoman Still Believes Long-Debunked ‘Locking-Jaws’ Urban Myth

March 25, 2011 update: Unfortunately, BSL passed in Kirksville.   While our thanks go to Mayor Kuhns for voting against BSL, the rest of the Council appears to have been hellbent on ignoring the overwhelming evidence of the inefficacy of breed-specific legislation, instead subscribing to the hysteria, skewed statistics, and junk science of the opposition.   Going forward, we will certainly be avoiding Kirksville and will not patronize any of its businesses.

Last week, I sent the Kirksville, Missouri Mayor and City Council a letter opposing their proposed breed-specific ordinance that would ban so-called “pit bulls” within the city.   To some of those folks’ credit, including Mayor Kuhns, they took the time to research the issue and realized that their city’s time, money, and efforts would be better spent elsewhere, like on enforcement of their existing laws.   Yet still, one council member, Councilwoman Martha Rowe, had this to say to a local paper:

“Councilmember Martha Rowe supports the pit bull ban. She said she spoke with a few people about pit bull cases and has heard other stories of aggressive pit bulls. She said she understands that any dog can be trained to be aggressive, but she worries about the pit bulls ability to lock its jaws during an attack.”

Really Ms. Rowe?   You still believe that urban myth after I provided the following evidence confirmed by a court of law, offered up by a Ph.D., and published in a document put out by the American Dog Breeders Association?:

“The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of [American Pit Bull Terriers] show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any [other] breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of locking mechanism unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier” (Source: American Dog Breeders Association, “Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier”).  

So let me get this straight, Councilwoman Rowe believes anecdotal “evidence” and long-debunked urban mythology about the so-called “pit bull” over actual court testimony provided by a scientist, Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, who is the Senior Researcher at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and an expert in training, handling, behavior and the anatomy of bulldog breeds?   Councilwoman Rowe believes stories she’s heard about that non-existent “breed” “pit bull” over an educational pamphlet put out by the American Dog Breeders Association who are widely renowned as experts on the American Pit Bull Terrier?   Really???

So now do you see why the shameful ignorance and downright laziness of some elected officials gets under my skin the way it does?   Because when elected officials choose to stay ignorant about breed-specific legislation and believe instead the rhetoric of radical animal rights groups that want “pit bulls” exterminated to fulfill their own agenda, then that is precisely the result: a lot of dead, innocent dogs at the hands of those who ought to know better.   Indeed, they are elected to know better!

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