Friday, September 21, 2012

This story makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it makes me think

This story comes from Akron Ohio. It has all the classic details of a pit bull attack. Children playing in the street, a lovely September evening in a residential neighborhood with well kept lawns and homes. And "SOMEHOW" a pit bull gets loose.

Most of the children were able to jump on top of cars to avoid the pit bull but a six year old wasn't lucky. Unable to climb to safety, he was bitten on his head, legs and buttocks. A 911 caller is quoted "There's a pit bull biting people. Please hurry. It just bit a baby. Just get somebody out here please. This dog is gonna kill somebody." This part makes me cry. The Norman Rockwell vision of childhood has children outside after dinner, playing ball, talking to friends, riding bikes, parents sitting on porches or cutting grass. This is not an expectation in pit bull intensive neighborhoods.

But cheer up, all is not lost. And this part, I'm a bit ashamed to admit, makes me laugh. Horrified neighbors called the police and one caller explains that the dog owners are out in the street trying to gain control of the dog. It is not going well for them. "If they don't get hit by traffic, or the pedestrians don't beat the hell out of them, the dog is gonna kill them while they are fighting."

The final tally for the injured is three. The six year old was transported to Akron City Hospital by a neighborhood resident, his condition is listed as serious. The pit bull owner's 14 year old son and 35 year old girlfriend, who tried to gain control of the dog were both bitten and transported to local hospitals for treatment. The dog owner, Andre Brown has felony conviction and a 20 year criminal history. Brown arrived at the scene and according to the video simply took his dog in the house and refused to surrender the mauler. Please keep in mind that his own son and his girlfriend were on their way to local hospitals and this individual's only concern is his dog. I hope the girlfriend keeps this in mind. Since Brown has refused to surrender the dog a court order must be obtained before this clearly vicious dog can be removed from the neighborhood. Brown was cited for allowing his dog to run loose but I don't think the residents of Dietz Avenue can take much comfort in this.

Here is where I start to think. How many breed specific advocates make comments after these attacks? "I have a pit bull that would just lick you to death. All my neighbors just love him, he plays with all the neighborhood children." Contrast this with the 911 caller "If they don't get hit by traffic, or the pedestrians don't beat the hell out of them, the dog is gonna kill them while they are fighting." If the pedestrians don't beat the hell out of them.... these neighbors clearly do NOT love this dog, or the owners.

Akron has just announced changes in procedures for Animal Control due to this outrageous attack.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Still more pittery from Ohio, September 14, 2012

On July 23, 2012 Sarah Ziebro, age 30, was attacked by her pit bull.  Ziebro was living in Florida but formerly lived in Parma Ohio.  Her brothers live in the Cleveland area and are attempting to raise money for their sister's medical bills because she was uninsured.  The family business, Relentless Recovery repossesses between 20 and 35 cars per day and the brothers are hoping that Cleveland area residents will sponsor any amount per car.  This is an unusual idea but a pit bull mauling generates huge medical bills. 

Ms. Ziebro has suffered for seizures for nearly 10 years.  On the day of the attack she seized and the dog attacked her.  Ziebro's brother John stated "Whether this dog was startled, or something else, we'll never know.  But as Sarah seized helpless on the ground, the dog attacked her.  Until this assault, the dog had never displayed any form of aggression towards Sarah, and was normally quite and docile."

Ziebro's carotid artery was torn, she was transported to the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton for surgery.  Per John Ziebro, the plastic surgeon who worked on Sarah, Dr. Melinda Lacerna, told him that the facial injuries were among the worst she had ever seen from a dog bite.  The surgery required 600 sutures and four hours of surgery to repair Ms. Ziebro's face.

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I am including this one because it illustrates the sorry legal state of affairs regarding vicious dogs.  An article dated September 11, 2012 deals with a 20 minute mauling of a Springfield Ohio man by 3 Cane Corso dogs.  The victim was life flighted to Miami Valley hospital in Dayton Ohio for treatment of his injuries. 

The victim and his girlfriend rode bicycles to the home of a friend, Karlon Avery, the owner of the Cane Corsos.  The victim was attacked after he crossed an invisible fence and attempted to pet one of the dogs.  Police were called, they shot one of the dogs. The other two dogs are in quarantine.  Avery has mixed feelings about the mauling of his friend stating that he has warned the victim about the dogs in the past. 

Here is where the story gets interesting.  A spokesman for the local Humane Society stated there have been two other "incidents" involving Avery's dogs.  In both cases children have crossed the invisible fence and were bitten by the Cane Corsos.  The dogs were not designated as vicious because the law considers these bites provoked because they were on property.  Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody said no charges are being considered because the most  recent victim was on Avery's property as well.

Obviously Avery does not have these dogs under control if this same event has occurred THREE times.  His invisible fence does nothing to protect the public from dogs who have bitten children twice and mauled an adult.  If Avery had a swimming pool on his property he would have to build an actual fence to prevent accidental drownings.  There have been THREE bites from his dogs, one of them a severe mauling. Avery needs adequate confinement for dogs known to be aggressive.  Like it or not, sometimes non family members will cross onto private property, a mailman, meter reader, zoning inspector, child chasing a ball.  These people should not be exposed to a well known risk.  Avery and his dogs have three strikes, this is enough.

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From the Toledo Blade, dated 7/14/2012.  Even after changing state law to suit local sensibilities, Toledo is still an unhappy place.  City Councilman D. Michael Collins is insulted that the new and very pit bull friendly Lucas County Dog Warden did not appear at a Public Safety, Law, and Criminal Justice committee meeting to discuss enforcement of vicious dog laws.  Given the no-show of dog warden Julie Lyle, Collins cancelled the meeting and sent requests for a great deal of information on the Lucas County Dog Warden's office.

Collins was later told that Joe Walter, Emergency Management Agency director would appear at the meeting in place of Lyle but Collins said "He's a nice guy but her doesn't have anything to do with this."

Collins has requested information on procedures put in place in Lucas County as it relates to Toledo's vicious dog laws and how many cases have been investigated or prosecuted with the Toledo Police Department or the Lucas County Dog Warden's office under the new law.  He also wants the number of dog bite complaints for 2011 and 2012 to date and the number of dogs that have been classified under each category of the dog law.  Collins will also request information from the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Board of Health, which also tracks dog bites.

Collins has said "Even though we have three separate institutions involved, there should be coordination of efforts so these records and the proper levels of prosecution are going on."  Collins does not feel that the County is doing enough to ensure vicious dogs are kept under control and was disappointed that Dog Warden Lyle was not available to discuss the issue. 

It is gratifying to see an elected official recognizes that the new law has not made Toledo safer and is actually following up on the new state law and looking for enforcement.  I suspect he will find that there has been little enforcement and even less prosecution of owners of vicious dogs.

Cleaning up the backlog of pit bull attacks, mega pit bull roundup, September 14, 2012

These will be in no particular order, I'm just cleaning house this morning.

This one is for you Crashedlife...In a story dated August 27, 2012, Columbus Ohio police shot two pit bulls after three citizens were bitten while attempting to help another dog that was attacked by the two pit bulls.  Lets hear it from pit bull advocacy "human aggression is DIFFERENT from dog aggression."

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From Ashtabula Ohio, in a story dated August 30, 2012, Police responded to a call regarding a cat owned by senior citizens being torn apart by two pit bulls.  Police and the Dog Warden spoke to neighbors who demanded the dogs be picked up.  The Dog Warden followed one of the  pit bulls back to a residence with a tall stockade fence and watched the pit bull calmly climb over the fence and back into its yard.  Both of the pit bulls belonged to Wanda Kelley who stated that she was aware that her dogs regularly climbed over the fence.  The same two pit bulls had killed another cat the previous day.  The dogs were transported to the APL in Kingsville.  No further information was available on the ultimate disposition of these dogs.   No information was available on the thought pattern of Ms. Kelley, how can you KNOW that your dogs are able to escape from your yard and terrorize the neighborhood and kill other people's pets and think nothing of it until the Police appear on your doorstep.  Another "responsible pit bull owner"....

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From Canton Ohio, a nine year old boy was transported to Mercy Medical Center after being bitten by two dogs, a pit bull and a boxer mix.

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In Lucas County Ohio (Toledo) Humane Ohio offers reduced cost spay or neuter for pit bulls only through programs called Fix-a-bull, and Primp-Your-Pit.  The cost to the pit bull owner is $5.  For pit bull owners who do not reside in Lucas County, the same services are offered for $20.  Ohio or Michigan pit bull owners are not required to have current licenses on their dogs.   I find it offensive that all low income dog owners are not  given the same services, but at the same time I recognize that even with the ridiculously low priced surgeries, pit bulls have the absolutely lowest rate of spay and neuter of any dog breed in the United States, as reported in the JAVMA April 1, 2011 issue.  One would think that "responsible pit bull owners" should not require such special treatment  given that a million pit bulls are euthanized in American shelters every year.

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In a story dated September 12, 2012, Elyria Police shot a pit bull seven times with an assault rifle after the dog burst through a garage door to charge the officers.  Police were responding to a call regarding a man threatening his neighbor with a hand gun. Sylvester Oliver, 63, was charged with 2 counts of aggravated menacing, disorderly conduct persisting, and dog at large.  Oliver, reportedly smelling of alcohol, was arrested and taken to Lorain County jail.  There was no report on the condition of the pit bull.

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In a story dated September 10, 2012, a College Hill (Cincinnati) woman was transported to a local hospital after being mauled by her own pit bull inside her own home.  Susan Mazzei was listed in serious condition.  Mazzei, age 71, found the abandoned pit bull in the woods near her home several months ago.
Reports indicate that this pit bull has bitten Mazzei previously and also killed a cat.  Hard to imagine why this dog was abandoned isn't it?

Cincinnati dropped its pit bull ban last spring and has already had a mauling death by a pit bull/designer dog mix.  Attack stories out of this city are increasing but current local and state law was written by an animal rights PAC.  As in other areas, when animal rights organizations write law regarding vicious dogs, only vicious dogs are protected.  After Mrs. Mazzei is discharged from the hospital she may pick up her dog after paying a $50 fee because the dog is now considered vicious.  And this protects the public how?

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From Youngstown Ohio and dated September 14, 2012.

 A new pit bull owner remains hospitalized and his dog is dead after the dog attacked him on Wednesday.   It is reported that the attack left this unidentified pit bull owner with a severed artery in his leg.  He was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center where he was rushed into surgery to repair the damaged artery.

I will simply quote the well written article written by John Goodwin of the Vindy.

"Dave Nelson, deputy dog warden with the Mahoning County Dog Pound and Adoption Center, said the man had acquired the adult male dog about two weeks ago and was trying to put the dog into a pen when the animal turned on him.
Police and Nelson arrived in the area to capture the dog, but the animal reportedly attacked the van Nelson was driving and continued to act aggressively after being hit with a tranquilizer.
“We tried giving him water. I tried everything to calm him down. I don’t know what went wrong. ... He started attacking the wheels of my truck. The last thing you want to do is put a dog down like this, but we had no choice,” Nelson said.

Police chased the animal through various East Side streets before catching up to the dog on Edgar Avenue. Officers were forced to put the dog down with three shots from a shotgun.
The dog is being checked for rabies.
There was no word late Thursday on the man’s condition, but Nelson said he will be cited for failure to confine the dog and failure to obtain licenses for four other dogs on his property." 

Another "responsible pit bull owner" it appears.

Less than a day later Police and Nelson responded to a call on another pit bull attack.  This time it was an attack on a postal worker.  For all the pit bull owners who feel that their size and skill will allow them to control their pit bull at all times, this might be an eye opener.  At the time of this attack the pit bull owner was outside hosing the animal off when the mailman appeared.  The dog bit the mailman on the arm.  The mailman was transported to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for treatment.  This hospital may have an Emergency Room bay set aside for pit bull mauling victims.  The pit bull's owners confined the dog to the house but they will be cited for failure to license the dog and possibly other violations.  Youngstown law requires pit bull owners to carry $100,000 in insurance and to keep the dogs in an enclosed pet or on a leash no longer than four feet.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pure politics. Special interests rule.

I am weeks behind on Ohio pit bull attacks and will get to those shortly.  This post is about politics, pure and simple... follow the money.  The link at the bottom of this post is to an opinion piece by Cleveland Plain Dealer writer, Thomas Suddes.  Suddes has written about special interests in the past and this morning's column made me think.  He has nothing to do with pit bulls, or dogs in general, but he is right on target on the State Legislature.  I quote Mr. Suddes "Each state representative is supposed to represent 117,000 of his or her neighbors and each state senator 350,000 of his or hers.  They're not supposed to represent the lobbyist locusts that swarm the Statehouse."  "It's a good bet that your legislator's campaign is funded by "the interests" (including caucus leaders and unions) in Columbus, not the pie suppers held at the township firehouse."

Legislators follow the money.  Special interests rule in many places, but Ohio has been absolutely sold to them.  This is how HB 14 became Ohio law.  The big guns were all here and pushing hard for deregulation of dangerous dogs, public safety be damned, Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA, the AVMA, the Animal Farm Foundation is everywhere that Best Friends goes.

The big bucks come from special interest donors and they send their lobbyists to press the flesh, make their desires known in the State House, and from party PACs.  These PACs do not reveal the names of donors (special interests and the lobbyists who represent them), they are not required to do so.   Ohio has a website where interested parties can see who gives Senators and Representatives cash, interesting reading. 

Here is a "for example" to illustrate the point.  In a recent election I refused to support a candidate who repeatedly voted to drop Ohio regulations on vicious dogs. I contacted his first-time-candidate opponent to offer my support and to actually work in his campaign. This looked like a golden candidate, military man who graduated from one of our military academies, honorable service record, he looked like someone with ethics. There were several chatty e-mails exchanged.  The campaign manager was delighted with my offer to work in the campaign.  "Wonderful!  We want you to come to a meeting where you can meet the candidate, We want your full support and we can absolutely use your help." As a final question I was asked why I supported this candidate over the incumbent.  I told this person  about my attack and experiences with breed specific advocates.  The conversation was over... I never heard another single word from the campaign or the candidate.

This candidate was elected, and was not in Columbus long enough to put his pens in his new desk before he signed on as a sponsor for HB 14. Checking his contributions, he was given over $500,000 for his campaign, from the Republican party PAC.  It just so happens that Barbara Sears, the Representative who introduced HB 14 (and earlier versions) is Assistant Majority Leader in the Ohio House of Representatives, high ranking legislators control the money. This brand new Representative sold his vote to the party for the money to run his campaign. 

Wonder how he feels about his vote now?  In the first four and a half months of deregulation in Ohio, pit bulls killed two Ohio residents, one of them a three day old baby girl.  She was killed by her grandmother's pit bull. 

How does Barbara Sears live with her part in this sad mess?  She was not only the proponent for this ill conceived bill, she actually allowed a special interest PAC to write it.  Ohio has term limits and Sears will no longer be in the Ohio House when the full impact of HB 14 is felt, but her name is found in the first paragraph of every news article on the bill.  HB 14 will be Sears legacy.