Camanche, Iowa to Again Consider “Pit Bull” Restrictions

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Oct 21st, 2010

Editor’s note:  Here we have what looks like more false statistics on that non-existent “breed” “pit bull” when what Camanche really has is a free-roaming dog problem. (Please also note that the CDC bite stats referenced in the article below have long been debunked and dismissed as inaccurate by the CDC themselves.) I fear someone has been tickling the Mayor and Council’s ears with falsities and urban mythology about “pit bulls”; lies that we have debunked time and again, like that “pit bulls” have locking jaws, that all “pit bulls” have ‘gameness’ which supposedly makes them more aggressive, and that they were “bred to fight.”  The bulldog breeders I have talked to all say the same thing:  No dog is bred to do anything, let alone fight.  Traits are selected for, yes.  But these traits, if one is successful in achieving them, do not make dogs inherently good at let’s say hunting.  Owners of hunting dogs have invested hours upon hours in training their dogs; they don’t come out automatically trained to point or retrieve.  Likewise, dogs hundreds of years ago may have been bred for qualities that might have availed themselves to being better fighters in the heinous bloodsport of dog fighting, but where these traits are found, these qualities can also make for good search-and-rescue dogs, good drug-sniffing dogs, and good therapy dogs.  In other words, dogs are what you train them to be, and that is of course true for all dogs of any breed.  (And as Michael Vick’s former dogs showed, dogs trained to fight can be rehabilitated and go on to make perfectly pleasing family pets, and, in fact, both Sports Illustrated and The Washington Post did excellent write-ups on how well Vick’s former dogs are doing.)

Perhaps someone should enlighten Camanche about the animal rights agenda to end domestic animal ownership, and how breed bans are a part of it.  In addition, DNA tests are rife with inaccuracies and should never be relied upon to determine breed in order to uphold BSL, especially since, again, “pit bull” is not a breed.  Camanche’s existing dangerous dog law would be more than sufficient to police free-roaming dogs and their irresponsible owners if there was enough Animal Control enforcement, which it doesn’t sound like there is.

Please contact the Comanche Mayor and City Council by forwarding your e-mails to the City Clerk, Ms. Sheryl Jindrich, or via snail mail to:

City of Camanche
917 3rd Street
P.O. Box 77
Camanche, Iowa 52730

Please politely inform them that breed-specific legislation — whether breed-specific restrictions or an outright ban — is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional.

From the Clinton Herald:

During Tuesday night’s Camanche City Council meeting, a discussion was held on the possibility of legislation on pit bulls. 

…City Administrator Tom Roth said he feels a pit bull ordinance is a good idea. He said that while Camanche does have a good ordinance for dealing with dangerous dogs, it is reactive instead of pro-active. He said he fears that by the time they know it is a dangerous dog, it is too late.

Under the current ordinance, if any dog attacks another animal or a person or shows a propensity for attacking, Public Works Director Dave Rickertsen can deem it to be vicious. The dog can then be impounded and the owner will be entitled to a hearing in front of the mayor.

Roth said one of the previous challenges to pit bull ordinances was proving a dog was a pit bull. He said now there is a genetic test that for $75 or $80 a veterinarian can take DNA and prove it is a pit bull.

“I really believe they (pit bulls) are different. I think research is out there to show they’re different. And I think they pose a risk to folks that other dogs don’t because of those differences,” said Roth. “I would hate to be sitting here, trying to explain — if we had one of those tragedies that makes the newspaper —why we didn’t think it was a pro-active measure.”

“How can we decide just on that breed? Doesn’t our ordinance cover, like you said, all breeds. That’s where we went the last time with this, that we were covered; that we didn’t have to say ‘pit bulls’ because we’re covered with all breeds,” councilwoman Linda Kramer said.

Police Chief Robert Houzenga said there are two different schools of thought on the topic. He said many will say there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Houzenga also referenced a 10-year pit bull study from the from the CDC from 2000. He said according to that research, pit bull types of dogs were responsible for one-third of the fatal bites across the country. Houzenga said pit bulls were originally bred to fight bulls.

“You’re going to have these people say that pit bulls aren’t aggressive towards humans, but they’re aggressive towards other dogs because it’s a breeding thing and they’re predisposed to this type of stuff,” said Houzenga. “Trouble is, if you’re walking your dog, and a pit bull attacks your dog, what do you do? You try to get them to stop fighting. And it doesn’t take long for the pit bull to decide that ‘two legs or four legs makes no difference to me, I’ll bite you too.’”

“Nobody has any personal axe to grind with pit bulls. You know what I mean? I don’t dislike dogs. I don’t dislike pit bulls, German shepherds or any kind of dog. But I really believe that — and Bob (Houzenga) just talked about it a little bit — the evidence will show that pit bulls are different. They’re different in their nature. They’re different in their strength. They’re different in the manner in which they approach an attack. They’re just a different breed,” said Roth.

…Mayor Jim Robertson said the problem is if the police do not see it, they cannot ticket them for their dogs running at large. He said citizens can sign the complaints themselves, but many seem reluctant to become involved in the process.Kramer pointed out that there have been other instances of dog attacks in the city from other dog breeds. She acknowledged the statistics on pit bulls. However, she said at one time, German shepherds and rottweilers may have had similar reputations. Kramer said she thinks they already have a good ordinance that should apply to all dogs. She also wanted more information on Clinton’s policy.

City Attorney Tom Lonergan said that he has been city attorney for Camanche for a long time and for at least half of that time he has supported the passing of a pit bull ordinance. He said pit bulls make up a small percentage of the dog population, but are involved with a large percentage of the fatalities and serious injuries.

“Obviously those dogs have extreme strength. They were bred for it. They never retreat. Once a confrontation happens, they will not retreat and they don’t respond to pain. So it’s a very serious occasion for those people responding to it,” said Lonergan.

“Dogs are well and fine. I’ve got nothing against dogs. But we’re looking at ‘The dogs have rights. The dogs have rights.’ No, people have rights. And a dog that’s misbehaving always has a person that’s also involved in that misbehavior also,” said councilman Paul Varner. “I want to make sure that whatever we do is more pro-active as opposed to reactive, so we don’t have a 2-year-old kid getting chewed up or worse yet.”

“Because to tell you all the truth, if it’s between that 2-year-old and that pit bull, that pit bull goes. That 2-year-old has definitely more rights than that pit bull,” said Varner. He said that applies to any breed of dog.

The council agreed to table the issue for further discussion. The matter will be discussed at the already scheduled special goal-setting meeting on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.

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