Galesburg, Illinois Not Seeking Breed-Specific Ordinance but Adding to Existing Vicious Dog Law is Looking at the Wrong End of Leash
From the Register-Mail:
After a 7-year-old boy [Ryan Maxwell] was fatally attacked by a family friend’s pit bull, city officials and area legislators have talked about reforming laws on dangerous dogs to prevent further attacks. With a ban on a specific breed of dog out of the question, political leaders might find it difficult to substantially strengthen local laws.
A state law that prevents breed specific legislation has withstood recent legislative challenges, and Illinois cities that have tried to ban pit bulls have been ordered to stop enforcing those laws. Galesburg’s ordinance regulating dangerous and vicious does not differ greatly from other surrounding cities, and follows closely to a state statute on dogs.
Despite how radical animal rights activists like Merritt Clifton disgustingly attempted to exploit the death of this boy by lobbying for a breed-specific law (BSL) in Galesburg, the fact of the matter is that Illinois has a statewide prohibition of breed-specific laws, home rule or not.
And as an aside, shouldn’t animal rights activists have cared about the fact that the poor dogs in that yard were constantly tethered and starving? But they don’t care, do they? We already know they don’t care about the innocent little boy who was killed, but the fact that they also don’t care about the dogs who were likewise victims should be an eye-opener to those who think animal rights groups care about domestic animals. No, their agenda is to end domestic animal ownership, and they’ll even exploit the death of an innocent little boy to accomplish their agenda. What’s the agenda? To pass legislation, like BSL, that goes on to see countless innocent dogs needlessly killed.
Regardless, it wouldn’t have mattered if there was a breed ban, breed-specific restrictions, or an anti-tethering law. Ryan Maxwell would still have been a victim. Why? Because those dogs were victims. In fact, the article about the Galesburg, Illinois incident clearly states that the dog in question was abused by his owner:
“The baby was taken away from us too soon by a mistreated dog. A lot of us are thinking that knowing Ryan, and the type of kid he was, he was probably going to feed the dogs, because they were starving. We were told their ribs were showing” [Paula Johnson, the boy’s great-aunt] said.
So, the dogs were abused. Do you still want to blame the “breed,” or should we maybe look at the other end of the leash to the dogs’ owner who was starving them?
These dogs were reportedly constantly tethered in their backyard, were neglected, and starved. In other words, their owner was already breaking the law on several counts, and I wonder how many times Animal Control had been called. Does anyone really think a breed ban would’ve made the dogs’ owner suddenly start abiding by the law? So why on earth is anyone in Galesburg or elsewhere talking about a breed ban or even the failure of Galesburg’s existing vicious dog law? The dog in question wasn’t vicious. He was starving. That is owner neglect, not a breed issue. Putting the onus on a dog when he is being starved or otherwise abused is to look at the wrong end of the leash. The fault was the owner’s and the only way to curb that kind of owner neglect and abuse is to so severely penalize it that it prevents abusive owners from continuing to own and abuse dogs, which likewise deters others who would become abusive owners.