After two loose, so-called pit bulls attacked a Beagle in August, Breckenridge, Colorado is not only considering a breed-specific law (BSL) for “pit bulls,” but also for breeds like Doberman Pinschers, unnamed breeds of mastiff, German Shepherds, Malamutes, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, Huskies, and possibly others.
Although Colorado has, since 2004, prohibited breed-specific dog bans, Breckenridge is citing Denver as a supposed BSL success story. What they neglected to acknowledge, however, is that Denver’s “pit bull” ban has cost millions in taxpayer dollars and has regardless been enforced poorly with Denver’s ACOs repeatedly being unable to discern what is and what is not a “pit bull” as defined by their own ordinance.
As Denver (and Miami-Dade County) has also shown, BSL actually increases dog bite-related hospitalizations. And if that’s still not enough proof for Breckenridge, even the White House recently acknowledged that BSL is impotent legislation that does not keep communities safer.
So what’s the problem in Breckenridge? Because at a presentation to the town Council in September, Police Chief Shannon Haynes cited statistics that showed that,
. . . since 2011, the town has issued 15 citations for 31 bite calls, none of which involved pit bulls. There have been 86 citations for 115 dog at large calls.
It sounds like Breckenridge has a free-roaming dog problem, not a “pit bull” problem. Yet Haynes maintains that,
Statistically, the number of bites is not more than other dogs . . . Its the severity of the bite that comes with a pit bull.
Really? Breckinridge is going to dust off that old tale and tell it as if it were fact?
Again, the urban myth that “pit bulls” supposedly have locking jaws (and the variant of the locking-jaws myth, the more-powerful-bite-force myth or the they-do-more-damge-when-they-bite myth) has long since been debunked. As such, when public officials cite the locking-jaws mythology in an effort to make their pro-BSL argument appear credible, they just make utter fools of themselves.
A survey on the Engage Breckenridge website showed that most Breckenridge citizens were opposed to breed-specific legislation in Breckenridge. According to the Summit Daily, “In the comments, people advocated more preventative measures such as holding owners responsible . . . ” Should it be that a town’s citizens are smarter than their governance?
If Breckenridge’s citizens can understand that the issue is one of responsible dog ownership, not breed, then why do so many of Breckenridge’s council members seem to be unsure or leaning towards a breed-specific ordinance? Yes Breckenridge, note the following elected officials’ leanings, and make sure to vote out those who do not come to the educated, intelligent conclusion that BSL is impotent, unconstitutional legislation, that does not make communities safer:
Mayor John Warner, Councilman Ben Brewer and Councilwoman Jennifer McAtamney said they wanted more information and to reach out to the community. McAtamney said she was concerned about bigger dog problems, such as dogs on the loose. Councilmen Mike Dudick and Gary Gallagher said they would support a ban.
And if that still does not rouse your town council to do the right thing, have them take a look at what Denver considers “success”: