Friday, December 19, 2014

Wauseon Ohio is under seige by pit bull advocacy

There is a theme to this post.

It is difficult for peaceful people to understand the investment in breed specific advocacy. Animals consistently implicated in the death or disfigurement of humans, why is there such hysteria to remove proactive local law to regulate them?

Efforts to change local law by appealing to residents and voters are grinding to a halt. We are not likely to see any  more attempts to remove breed bans appear on the ballot.  This has been tried only twice and failed in a spectacular manner both times. Those at the upper level of  pit bull advocacy want to avoid another loss at all costs so they are turning up the flame under the city councils of small communities all across America.  The landslide votes in Miami-Dade Florida and in Aurora Colorado clearly show that the public gets it.  The public is aware of the outrageous numbers of pit bull attacks, aware of the fatalities, aware of the suffering, aware of the costs.  The voters have said "no" so the small but wildly vocal and very well funded special interest group attempts to bully reluctant communities to drop breed bans and bamboozle state legislatures into passing state law to prohibit the use of home rule rights to pass BSL.  Yes, pit bull advocacy tried to this in six states this year.  They won in two states and lost in four states.  We will talk about this again sometime but back to current events in Ohio.                                                                      

Toledo Ohio

The Toledo Blade reports that the Wauseon City Council passed the first reading of a measure that would remove the city's pit bull ban.  Councilman Martin Estrada, a non dog owner,  was approached by "a number of individuals and groups" asking to bring local law more "in line" with state law which was changed by the passage of HB 14 in 2012.

No mention was made of the nine people mauled to death by dogs in Ohio in the first two years since the passage of HB 14.  Historical note, in the ten years prior to the passage of HB 14 Ohio had five fatal dog attacks.  It was not mentioned that two bills aimed at fixing the mess created by HB 14 are expected to be introduced into the next General Assembly.

Jean Keating appears to be leading the effort to change Wauseon law.  Ms. Keating does not live in Wauseon Ohio but she is heavily quoted in the article.   Per the Blade "The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, which played a strong role in changing the state code, provided Mr. Estrada with some information, research, and contacts."  Keating is president and co-founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates.

Toledo Ohio

In a series of articles on Wauseon Ohio the Toledo Blade adds an opinion piece slanted toward removal of a local breed ban "Pity the 'pit bull.'

In classic pit bull advocacy talking points the piece begins with excuses but prances right to claims that breed bans are falling all over the United States.  The Aurora Colorado vote to retain a breed ban in the November general election by better than a 2 to 1 margin was not mentioned.  The Aurora vote was historic in that it was only the second time that this issue has gone to voters. The first was Miami-Dade in 2012, that breed ban was also retained by local voters by a 2 to 1 margin.

The article goes on to list organizations opposed to BSL, We have the NCRC which is owned by the Animal Farm Foundation (extreme pit bull advocacy).  The HSUS and the AVMA appear on the list, both organizations are in the business of the rights and welfare of animals and have no concern with the welfare and safety of humans.  The CDC appears although in their last report listing fatalities by breed includes the statement " Despite these limitations and concerns, the data indicate that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities."  The ABA is simply infested with animal rights lawyers.

No mention of organizations created to further human health and safety that are also opposed to BSL. There aren't any.  General Practice doctors, pediatricians, plastic surgeons, orthopedic specialists, nurses, social service workers, leaders of neighborhood associations, the United States Postal Service, none of these have endorsed pit bulls.

Click here for the opinion of Dr. David Billmire, professor and director of the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.  The title of his opinion is "There is no need for pit bulls."  Here is a quote.
Based on my extensive experience, I believe that the risk posed by pit bulls is equivalent to placing a loaded gun with the safety off on the coffee table. In my opinion, these dogs should be banned. I know this is an unpopular stand in some circles, but how many mauled children do we have to see before we realize the folly of allowing these dogs to exist?  

The arguments made by advocates of these dogs are the same arguments made by people who feel that assault weapons are an essential part of daily living. There are plenty of breeds available that peacefully coexist with human society. There is no need for pit bulls."

Here are more studies by doctors on the topic.
The effectiveness of Breed Specific Legislation in decreasing the incidence of dog bite hospitalizations in Canadian people living in the Province of Manitoba.   2012

Periorbital trauma from pit bull terrier attacks  2012


In the ophthalmic setting, pit bull terrier attacks most frequently involve children and result in eyelid lacerations. Canalicular injuries are common after these attacks

Dog bites of the head and neck:an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment. 2014.  Conclusions
The patients most likely to suffer dog bite injuries of the head and neck are children. Although a number of dog breeds were identified, the largest group were pit bull terriers, whose resultant injuries were more severe and resulted from unprovoked, unknown dogs. More severe injuries required a greater number of interventions, a greater number of inpatient physicians, and more outpatient follow-up encounters. Healthcare utilization and costs associated with dog bites warrant further investigation.
Mortality, mauling and maiming by vicious dogs. 2011
Conclusions: Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.

Dog bites of the head and neck in children. 2011.  "Most injuries were soft tissue related, however more severe bites and injuries were observed in attacks from the pit-bull and Rottweiler breeds"
Pediatric Dog Bite Injuries: A five year review of at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 2009  The most common breeds included pit bull terriers (50.9 percent), Rottweilers (8.9 percent), and mixed breeds of the two aforementioned breeds (6 percent).
 A ten year, two institution review of pediatric dog attacks: Advocating for a nationwide prohibition of dangerous dogs.   2008   "Our cases present the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as our cases only
represented consultations directed to Plastic Surgery. The Province of Ontario, Canada has banned Pit Bulls since 2004, as have several American cities. We describe the scope of the problem, preventative guidelines, and outline why organizational advocacy in plastic surgery should be directed towards a national prohibition of dangerous dogs."

Pit Bull Mauling Deaths in Detroit.  2009  This study is autopsy material.  The photographs are sobering.

I realize that breed specific advocates may doubt the relevance of these studies, and many more just like them.  After all they are studies done by actual medical doctors, not a single vet tech is quoted.


Toledo Ohio

The Blade reports a possible delay in the passage of a law to remove the Wauseon pit bull ban.  During a 12/11/2014 meeting of the city council County Dog Warden Brian Banister gave his thoughts on the proposal and he opposes removal of the ban. Per the Blade " Mr. Banister said while some “pit bulls” and “pit bull” mixes will never be a problem, he said when they do attack, the dogs routinely inflict more damage than any other breed.  “The differential in it is the fact that if that ‘pit’ attacks, that attack is going to be greatly, greatly more severe than a normal dog,” he said.
“It’s inherent in their DNA. ‘Pit bulls’ were hunting dogs, used as a catch dog for wild boar hunting and bear hunting. These dogs were bred to fight. Is every ‘pit bull’ out there a fighter? Absolutely not, but that is what is in their DNA. That is what they were bred to do.”
Councilman Estrada countered with the claim that BSL is unconstitutional which is false.  The Supreme Court of Ohio has upheld the constitutionality of BSL in the State of Ohio V. Anderson.  Click here for the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in the Toledo V. Tellings case, a reversal of a lower court's ruling that the city of Toledo's BSL was unconstitutional.  Appellate courts in twelve states plus the District of Columbia have ruled BSL constitutional. The United States Supreme Court has refused to rule on BSL stating that regulation of dogs properly belongs on the state level.

Mr. Estrada goes on to state that there is no true way to identify a pit bull.  Please review again the ruling in the State of Ohio V. Anderson for the opinion of the Ohio Supreme Court that pit bulls can be identified by "a dog owner of average intelligence" and plenty of reasons why they should.  Here is a short quote " In Vanater v. South Point, supra, the court found that pit bulls have the following behavioral traits: "* * * a) grasping strength, b) climbing and hanging ability, c) weight pulling ability, d) a history of frenzy, which is the trait of unusual relentless ferocity or the extreme concentration on fighting and attacking, e) a history of catching, fighting, and killing instinct, f) the ability to be extremely destructive and aggressive, g) highly tolerant of pain, h) great biting strength, i) undying tenacity and courage and they are highly unpredictable." Id. at 1240. The court further found that pit bulls possess the quality of gameness, which it described as "the propensity to catch and maul an attacked victim unrelentingly until 
173*173 death occurs * * *." Similarly, in Singer, supra, the evidence presented at trial established that pit bulls "possess inherent characteristics of aggression, strength, viciousness and unpredictability not found in other dog breeds. * * * [U]nlike other breeds which retreat if they are injured in a fight or an attack, a pit bull will often bite, clamp down with its powerful jaw, and maintain its hold until separated from its victim." Finally, the Florida ordinance regulating pit bull ownership which was upheld in State v. Peters(Fla. App. 1988), 534 So.2d 760, states that pit bulls are distinguished by "* * * a high [in]sensitivity to pain, extreme aggressiveness towards other animals, and a natural tendency to refuse to terminate an attack once it has begun * * *." Id. at 764.

The city council president requested additional time to study the issue and get the opinion of residents of the community.   A prudent choice.   

Toledo Ohio

Leaving no stone unturned in the effort to repeal the Wauseon pit bull ban, the Toledo Blade announces the showing of the breed specific advocacy classic "documentary" Beyond The Myth at the Wauseon Public Library on 12/15/2014.  This event was sponsored by Fulton County No Kill, closely associated with the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates led by .... Jean Keating.

I have asked many friends if they have ever seen a notice for a movie being shown at the local library debunking the vicious reputation of Beagles, or Pugs, or Irish Setters.  The Truth About Golden Retrievers?  Poodles - Bad Rap or Just Like any Other Dog?  Oddly, no one has. 

Toledo Ohio

Continuing non stop coverage of the pit bull ban in Wauseon Ohio (population 7,332) the Blade reports breathlessly that a second reading of the ordinance to remove the pit bull ban passed. The vote was three in favor, two against, and one abstaining).

Three individuals spoke in favor of the ordinance.  Only one of the three was a local resident.  

Prior to the meeting the council voted 3 to 3 on a motion to table the second reading.  Mayor Huner broke the tie moving the issue forward.  

The final reading will be January 5, 2015.  Prior to the final reading the ordinance will be reviewed by the safety and code committee, the police chief, and the city's legal council.  

                                                                         * * *  
St Mary's Ohio 

This story did NOT come from the Toledo Blade, you may notice a difference in the reporting.

The article begins with "ST. MARYS — Keeping stride with other communities around the state, St. Marys City Council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating “pit bulls” at its meeting Monday."
The new law in St Marys is based on the newly rewritten  Lima Ohio law.  Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey supported the law.  

St Marys Mayor Pat "McGowan said the city did not receive the backlash that some municipalities receive when passing restrictive laws on the dogs. Some opponents of pit bull legislation say it causes unwarranted bias against them and that dangerous dogs all a result of care of the owner rather than the breed.

“I think we did not face any opposition because people are beginning to realize their is a problem,” McGowan said. “There are a lot of people that let them free and don’t even follow the leash law. Most do but it only takes a few to ruin it for other people. We have a lot of walkers and we have had a lot of complaints about walkers encountering dogs.”

                                                                         * * *

Why is the Toledo Blade so invested in pit bulls?  Many newspapers have individual reporters with a heavy breed specific bias but at the Blade the disease infects everyone right on up through the editors to the owners of the newspaper.  The Blade has gone from reporting news to driving it and even creating it.  The Blade's sister newspaper in Pittsburgh has a similar bias but a bit less hysteria.  Toledo elected officials appear to share the affliction.  See the previous post for more insanity from the Toledo City Council.

Is there something in the water in Toledo?  Was last summer's tap water ban a red flag revealing something sinister?  Is continuous low level exposure to toxins in the drinking water driving insanity in elected officials and newspaper executives?    

Don't drink the water in Toledo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lunacy in Toledo

One learns to expect outrageous dog advocacy stories from Toledo but this one is so far out there it requires its own blog post.  We will cover a lot of ground, from the Vatican to Toledo with a stop in Arizona.

Very recently it was reported that Pope Francis remarked to a child grieving the loss of his dog that heaven is open to all creatures and that the boy would see his dog again.  Toledo Councilman Jack Ford, former mayor of Toledo and a non Catholic, took that and ran with it. Ford wants "death row dogs" to get a "second chance" and wants dog warden Julie Lyle to hire an outside evaluator to assess the dogs.  Ford said per the Toledo Blade "“When the Pope made that comment, that just did it for me. ... There is nothing wrong with being progressive to help any living creature,”


Councilman Ford.

Reality check, dogs are on "death row" for a reason, aggression, illness, old age with disability.  In Toledo that decision to euthanize at Lucas County Care and Control is made by Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle.  Lyle was hired as county dog warden succeeding former dog warden Tom Skeldon with the blessing of the Toledo Blade. A little history here, The Toledo Blade, in association with Toledo area pit bull advocate Jean Keating,  participated in a lengthy campaign  to drive former Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon from office because of his protocols for dealing with pit bulls. This quote is from Jean Keating "the only way to end it, once and for all, in Ohio was to remove Tom Skeldon. That became my mission and consumed much of my time for about two years."

Lets look at what Julie Lyle is sending to "death row."  The Toledo Blade runs a daily feature, "Lucas County Dogs for Adoption" which also lists dogs euthanized at the shelter.  Today is  12/16/2014 and here is the list of euthanized dogs.  First is a pit bull, stray, brought in by animal control, bit someone in the community.  Second, a pit bull that failed the behavior evaluation, brought in by police, a stray.  Third, a Chihuahua mix with a severe injury, a fear biter and a stray.  Number four, a pit bull, owner surrender, failed behavior evaluation.  Number five, another pit bull failing the behavior evaluation, a stray.  Sixth, a Boxer, failed the behavior eval, owner surrender. Seventh, a Beagle in extremely poor physical condition, emaciated and unable to stand, an owner surrender. The final dog on the list is another pit bull, a stray, failed the behavior evaluation, brought in by a citizen.  No rescue group stepped forward to take these dogs.  Does anyone think that like these, failing behavior evaluations, and dogs too badly injured, or too old and sick to be humanely kept by their owners should be returned to the community?  

Councilmen Mike Craig and Rob Ludeman have taken leave of their senses and agree with Ford.   The three held a news conference stating "said the pound should consider “a stronger sense of basic fairness,” or due process, for dogs before the canines are killed."  “I would like the dog warden to implement a pilot program for dogs, similar in concept to the guardian ad litem program we currently have for children, that would take the dog warden and her team out of the role of total evaluator, prosecutor, and ultimately executioner, and bring in an individual from the outside to evaluate the dog prior to final disposition of its life,”

Councilman Ludeman
Toledo District 3
Councilman Craig

The zany trio suggest that the guardians ad litem be volunteers, amateurs, like say, Jean Keating the well known and high profile pit bull advocate.  Keating has not been suggested for this position, only my opinion on this part.  

Long suffering Lucas County dog Warden Julie Lyle has said that no such program exists  in any shelter and that the Lucas County shelter already has four evaluators on payroll.  Per the Blade “There’d be absolutely no reason to have outside folks do it when we have the most certified evaluators than any shelter I’ve ever seen,” “I think it’s important that we have trained, certified evaluators that know dogs, and that’s what we have.”

The Blade goes on to the mandatory quote from Jean Keating, her thoughts on the souls of pets.

At this point I would like to mention a pilot program already in place at the Lucas County shelter dealing with dogs failing the behavior evaluations.  Dogs failing the food guarding portion of the behavior evaluation are given additional time in the shelter and are free fed in an effort to reduce food guarding behaviors.  After a week the dogs are reassessed and if improvement is noted they get another week. Rescues are involved in this process and they will receive an incentive of $100 for each dog they take from the program and the $50 transfer fee is waived.  Of the first 27 dogs participating in the study eighteen failed to improve and were euthanized, six went to rescues ($600 paid in incentives and a total of $300 in waived transfer fees) and three more are still at the shelter.  

One dog that failed in the program was being rehabilitated at the Toledo Correctional Institute through the Prisoners Helping Dogs program.  The dog bit his inmate trainer in an aggressive response over a toy and was euthanized. When the prison population is being bitten by dogs being groomed for re entry into the community we have a problem.  Shout out to Mickey the mauler and Sheriff Joe Arpiao and a link to the Mickey cam.  For those who might be aware of the story here, Mickey mauled a small child and was expected to be euthanized.  Pit bull advocates went wild demanding that Mickey should live out his life in comfort. Mickey will live out the remainder of his life in luxury at a no kill shelter run by Sheriff Joe Arpiao.  

Here is a photo of Mickey's victim, Kevin Vincente as he is today.

Here is Kevin after his attack

But I have digressed yet again, back to the new program to save dogs that have already failed the food guarding portion of the behavior evaluation at Lucas County Care and Control.

Several dogs showed initial improvement in the shelter but no rescue was willing to take the dogs so they were euthanized.  It has been announced that in the future any dog showing improvement will kept at the shelter (at taxpayer expense) until a rescue turns up that will accept the dog. How much money is being invested here?  This program was suggested by the president of the Lucas County board of Commissioners Carol Contrada. Presumably the residents of Lucas County are paying the bills.

It is important to recognize that dogs from this program are not offered for adoption to the public directly from the shelter because of public safety concerns.  Rescues with limited financial resources to compensate a potential victim of a mauling by one of these dogs will, however, traffick them right back into the community.  

Here are Dog Warden Lyle's thoughts on that.  Ms. Lyle said once the county shelter sees potential aggression in a dog, it cannot be adopted from there out of a concern for public safety.
It seems that the Toledo officials who went shopping for a dog warden without scruples after the resignation of Tom Skeldon may have gotten a bit more than they expected with Julie Lyle and it seems that the Blade is not pleased.  It appears that the expensive program already in place to save dogs that have failed behavior testing is not enough. 

As usual, I have digressed.  Lets return to the Pope.  The Pope never made the comments that form the basis for former Toledo mayor and current city councilman Ford's desire to save "death row" dogs 
Per Religion News Service "  There’s only one problem: None of it ever happened.
The Italian version of the Huffington Post picked up the false story and and it went viral, false but viral.  Who knew that Italy was also infested with Huffington Post animal advocates?  

Here is the teaching of the Catholic Church.  Catechism of the Catholic Church Part three, Life in Christ 2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.  

Here are the thoughts of Pope Francis regarding pets and children. He warns against placing animals above children in importance. Per Religion News Service  "But he went a step further and strongly criticized those couples who choose not to have children, saying they had been influenced by a culture of “well-being” that says life is better without kids.  “You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the pope said.  “It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?
The Catholic Church teaches that the priority in spending money should be to the relief of human misery and even uses the hard to accept word "unworthy" in spending money on animals when humans are in need.  The Pope has clearly said that children are to be valued above pets.  

In Toledo a non-Catholic former mayor has stated that a comment the Pope did not make inspired him to promote a program to give second chances to dogs already judged by professionals too dangerous or too sick to return to the community at tremendous financial cost and an early record of failure in Toledo Ohio.  Using the comment not made by the Pope the councilman has suggested that dogs already evaluated by professionals be again evaluated, this time by amateurs. These dogs are to be sent to rescues, many will be fostered in private homes.  Children, peaceful neighbors, gentle pets will be put at risk. The Pope has warned against elevating animals over children while a child devastated by disfiguring injuries and now blind in one eye  struggles to recover.  The dog causing the injuries lives in luxury with a mauler cam in his well appointed room so the mauler's fans can watch him anytime they choose.  


My head spins.

I need to rest in a dimly lit room with a cool cloth to my forehead.  I was hoping for sense and found none.