Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BSL works, but rational people know that already.

The Valley Breeze, a publication out of Pawtucket RI, gives us a thoughtful article on how well breed specific legislation actually works.  On September 10, 2013 the Valley Breeze stated 

Bites by pit bulls have dropped dramatically since 2004

 How can this be when organized pit bull advocacy makes the blanket statement that BSL does not work?

Per the Valley Breeze
"PAWTUCKET - The city has seen a dramatic decline in the number of attacks by pit bulls since a 2004 ban on the breed went into effect, according to data released by local officials.
In response to an open records request by The Breeze, the Pawtucket Police Department and Pawtucket Animal Control, through City Solicitor Frank Milos, provided documents showing just how rarely pit bulls have attacked people or animals in the city since the ban was enacted."

Actual numbers are provided for pit bull attacks prior to the breed ban and post breed ban. In the four years prior to the passage of the bred ban police responded to 71 incidents involving pit bulls.  These incidents involved both biting and/or scratching.  Fifty one of these attacks were on people, twenty of the attacks were on animals.  

In the ten years since the passage of the ban there have been 23 pit bull attacks reported to police, 13 of them were attacks on people, 10 attacks on animals. 

Here are year by year totals.
2000 (prior to the breed ban) 20 attacks, 18 attacks on people, 2 on animals
2001                                                   14 attacks,  9 attacks on people,   5 on animals
2002                                                   17 attacks, 14 attacks on people,   3 on animals
2003                                                   20 attacks, 11 attacks on people,   9 on animals

2004 (post breed ban)                  8 attacks,  5 attacks on people,  3 on animals
2005                                                     1 attack on a person, zero on animals
2006                                                     3 attacks,  1 attack on a person,  2 attacks on animals
2007                                                     4 attacks,  1 attack on a person,  3 attacks on animals
2008                                                      no attacks
2009                                                     2 attacks, both on people
2010                                                      no attacks
2011                                                      2 attacks, both on people
2012                                                     no attacks
2013 The Rhode Island Legislature failed to consider the safety of state residents and said "yes" to the special interest lobby of breed specific advocacy and animal rights.   A law was passed in the state legislature  that snatched away the home rule rights of communities, communities may not pass breed specific legislation.  Here are the Pawtucket  totals for 2013 so far,  3 attacks, one on a person and two on animals.

Per the Breeze "John Holmes, Pawtucket's veteran animal control officer and the key proponent of the 2004 ban, said the numbers before and after 2004 "speak for themselves."
"The law's worked," he said. "We didn't put this law in to destroy pit bulls, in fact, quite the opposite."
The last serious pit bull attack in Pawtucket was the day the bill was signed into law, said Holmes. Residents have been safer because of the ban, he said.
"Public safety has always been the issue," he said. "They're just missing so much of what this is all about. We're going backward here."

Of course there is a pit bull owner speaking out against the Pawtucket breed ban, the law that has worked so well to protect the public.  Enter Al Alix, "  Al Alix, the lifelong city resident and real estate agent who plans to challenge the city's pit bull ban in court, told The Breeze he questions the numbers provided by the city. Instead of taking so much time to enforce a blanket ban, said Alix, officials should be spending more time getting to know the dogs they are trying to keep out of the city, like his pit bull "Chubs."

What part of the actual numbers does Mr. Alix fail to understand?  This is black and white stuff here.  

Law makers in Pawtucket intend to continue to enforce their breed ban, Mr. Alix intends to challenge the law in court.  It must be noted that even without the challenge to the Pawtucket breed ban Mr. Alex will be spending some time in court and "Chubs' figures large in that process.  Mr. Alex was cited for violation of the leash law (in addition to harboring a banned breed dog but that is not mentioned in the article).  The hearing originally scheduled for this coming Friday has been postponed until September 20th at 9 a.m. in Pawtucket Municipal Court.  Depending upon the outcome of that hearing  Alex states he plans to "take the city to court" over any effort to take Chubs away.

OK now, here we have it.  The "responsible owner" of a pit bull, in a community with a 10 year old pit bull ban, who has been cited merely with a failure to leash that pit bull (in a community with a pit bull ban) and feels that he has been wronged and that the law needs to be changed to suit his tastes.  Never underestimate the capacity for self interest in the average pit bull owner, or the ability to simply ignore laws that were meant to regulate the exact behavior exhibited by that pit bull owner.

Hey Al... pit bulls are banned in Pawtucket, and leashes are required on all dogs.  THIS MEANS YOU! 

Pretty standard stuff.