Sunday, August 5, 2012

The impact of HB 14.

The Wapakoneta Daily News recently published an article on the impact of HB 14.  This article is a breath of fresh air, it considers the safety of the public. 

Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey stated, per the article "In my opinion, this law was a mistake."  "There are some state officials who have predicted we will see a steady increase in pit bull attacks." 

Critics of the law feel that the new law creates more red tape for dog wardens and allows dogs "one free bite" before dogs are considered dangerous.  This law was written by lawyers at Best Friends Animal Society, an animal rights PAC headquartered in Kanab Utah.  The law was not written to protect the public, it does exactly what it was designed to do, it creates a legal nightmare for any community attempting to declare any dog vicious.

Supporters of the bill, like State Senator Keith Faber, R-Celina, and Auglaize County Humane Society Director Sandra Harrison feel that the new law bases legal action on behavior rather than breed.  A victim must be created in order to find a dog dangerous or vicious. Insurance will not be required until AFTER an attack.  Too late for the victim,and with no requirement for insurance, the victim pays the medical bills. 

Harrison goes on to the foolish and stale pit bull talking points "We feel the legislation is more correct.  I don't think it is fair to label one breed of dog.  There are many breeds of dog that bite.  If they can label one breed without a dog performing a vicious act, wouldn't that be like profiling? I think it is very much like profiling, and we shouldn't do that in this country."  Possibly Harrison has not considered that dog breeds are developed for a purpose.  Pit bulls were bred for an activity that is so violent that it is a felony in all 50 states.  It is not profiling to acknowledge the purpose of the breed.  No dog fancier considers it "profiling" when Border Collies participate in herding trials.  Nobody considers it "profiling" when Bloodhounds are brought in to search for a lost child. 

Breed specific legislation has proven to make communities safer.  Here is the experience of Council Bluffs Iowa:
2004 - 29 pit bull bites
2005 - 19 pit bull bites and a breed ban is passed
2006 - 7 pit bull bites
2008 - 2 pit bull bites
from 2008 to 2010 - 0 pit bull bites.  Statistics like these are repeated in many communities with BSL. Nearly 400 communities and counties across the United States have some sort of BSL.  All US Army and Marine bases, twelve Air Force bases, and 3 Navy bases have BSL

Laws regulating pit bulls in some manner have been passed in Omaha NE, San Francisco CA,  Springfield MO and Reading PA.  These communities are well satisfied with the results, in addition to drastic reductions in bites and attacks, shelter euthanization of pit bulls falls too.  Everybody wins, safer communities and fewer pit bulls die.

Per the Wapakoneta Daily News article, in Ohio "St. Marys and Wapakoneta have breed-specific legislation.  Buckland and Cridersville both are currently discussing the passing of legislation to restrict or ban specific breeds. Waynesfield Police Chief Nathan Motter said he is considering making a proposal in the future at a Waynesfield Village Council meeting."

Both Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey, and Mercer County Dog Warden Tom Powell feel safety gets lost when considering which animals attack more.  Powell had this to say about the new Ohio law "I hated to see it done."  He went on to discuss a recent pit bull attack in his district where a pit bull owner was attacked by his own dog, causing severe injuries.  Three pups of the female dog involved in that attack also became aggressive.

Bailey went on to state "I've handled dogs since 1982.  I have completely changed my opinion in this matter based on what I have seen since I have been a dog warden.  The dogs in our area that have been involved (in attacks) have shown no signs of abuse."  "If that prey drive kicks in and a pit bull attacks, you are at its mercy until it decides to stop."

Both Bailey and Powell have said that they do not support the new law and they feel that "time will tell if the new legislation provides ample protection for the public."  Auglaize County Commissioners also feel that the issue will need to be revisited in the future."

One can hope that the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association will consider Dog Wardens Bailey and Powell for leadership positions.  OCDWA President Matt Granito and Treasurer  Mark Kumpf have sold out the safety of Ohio families by their active participation in the promotion and passage of HB 14.  In the first four and a half months after passage of the bill two Ohio residents were killed by family pit bulls.  In the 24 years of pit bull regulation in Ohio there were only four actual pit bull mauling deaths.