Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cincinnati in the news again, or A Tale of Two Cities

With HB 14's changes to Ohio law and the end of Cincinnati's breed ban things have sure changed in that city. Several weeks ago I received an e-mail from a Cincinnati resident, she already wants the breed ban back. Per her report, pit bulls are everywhere and they are a menacing presence.   She is afraid to walk her dog in her own community, afraid to use the community dog park.  It would  be a pretty safe bet that these pit bulls are uninsured, state law no longer requires it. Many of these dogs may well have been kept in Cincinnati during the breed ban, it would be foolish to believe that banned dogs do not exist in breed ban areas but they are kept in a bit more careful manner.  When your neighbors have the ability to report your banned dogs for running at large, or menacing, or report an owner for breeding banned dogs, then it is in the dog owner's best interests to keep a low profile.  Now anything goes. This post is a comparison of the experiences of Cincinnati Ohio and Miami-Dade Florida.

Pit bull advocates have worked for years to reverse breed bans. Breed specific advocacy put a tremendous amount of pressure on Florida state government to void the home rule rights of Miami-Dade.  "Lets Make A Deal" was played between the State Legislature and local government, Miami-Dade's pit bull ban was put on the ballot. A great deal of advocacy money was spent in an effort to convince voters overturn Miami-Dade's breed ban.  Best Friends Animal Society brought in baseball pitcher Mark Buehrle.  (It should be noted that Mr. Buehrle came to town demanding that local law be changed to accommodate his recently obtained pit bull.  Mr. Buehrle played in Florida for one season and was traded to Toronto, another area with a breed ban. The man has no luck.) It came as a shock to the pit bull industry that by an overwhelming margin the residents of Miami-Dade voted to keep the breed ban.

Contrast this with Cincinnati Ohio, another breed ban city.  Shortly after the passage of HB 14 it was announced that Cincinnati was  looking at changes to "bring local law more into keeping with state law."  This phrase usually indicates a sell out, and did in this case.  Cincinnati's breed ban was dropped..

The dangers of this sell out are becoming clear.  Susan Mazzei, a 71 year old Cincinnati resident found a stray pit bull and gave it a good home, hers.  It did not go well for her.  She was hospitalized for a mauling that occurred in her own home.  It was later revealed that the dog had bitten her previously and had also killed a cat.  Ms. Mazzei failed to consider possible reasons why this dog may have been abandoned, like a history of aggression.

Abandoned pit bulls are turning up, things did not go well for this one.

Cincinnati is finding dog fighting in town.  Five spectators were arrested and an Animal Control officer was bitten and will require rabies shots.

The Cincinnati area has experienced its first dog mauling death

The wife of Bruce Whitman,candidate for Appeals Court was mauled as she was posting campaign signs.  Virginia Conlan Whitman's injures were severe, she spent 5 days in the hospital and time confined to her home receiving home nursing care.

Recently in the news is the story of a Cincinnati area resident who found three pit bulls on Craigslist.  He brought them all home only to be mauled by them three weeks later.

Which city made the better deal?  Miami-Dade let the voters speak and they did so loudly with a 2 to 1 vote to keep their ban.  Cincinnati law makers partnered with breed specific advocacy without consideration of the sentiments of their constituents.  Those constituents are not happy with the result.  Voters have long memories, members of the Cincinnati City Council might keep this in mind.