Thursday, March 17, 2016

Newark Update - or a man in a three piece suit, silk tie, two tone wing tips, and a fedora makes an "offer you can't refuse"

I promised to re-post on Newark.  Here is more.  This was posted April 11, 2015.   

I was sure that I was done talking about Newark's pit bull advocates but new developments bring me right back here.

When we left Steffen Baldwin, of Marysville Ohio he was negotiating with Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab Utah, looking for hints from a Best Friends lawyer living Massachusetts on how to change law in Newark Ohio.  You may wonder why individuals and organizations with such divergent addresses might trouble themselves about a lawful and thoughtful decision by elected Newark City Council members.  Good question.  Newark Ohio has a population of 47,573 per the last census making it the 20th largest city in the state of Ohio. This is not a huge metropolis, why the hysteria surrounding Newark Ohio?  Mr. Baldwin, as we saw in the last post, has also lobbied in St Marys Ohio (population 8332) after the St Marys City Council voted for a breed ban. Why the hysteria over small towns in Ohio?   Here is my suspicion, dealing with pit bull advocacy is very much like dealing with organized crime. Saying "no" is simply unacceptable.  The man in the three piece suit and fedora turns up with the "offer you can't refuse."  Best Friends is unable to let it go and has posted this Action Alert.  Best Friends wants pit bull advocates from all over the world to send messages of complaint to the Newark City Council.  "Now it's time to let our voices be heard and to send a clear message to these council members that discrimination is wrong for Newark, and it's wrong for Ohio."
Best Friends has made it easy, the system is fully automated for ease in attempted intimidation .

Here are some interesting facts.  In addition to Newark Ohio, Wauseon Ohio and St Marys Ohio have said no to pit bull advocates this year. Reynoldsburg Ohio, Bexley Ohio and Parma Ohio said no in 2014. Cincinnati pit bull advocates crossed state lines in 2014 to bully Ft. Thomas Kentucky.  Ft. Thomas said no to them.   So far in 2015 Best Friends has pushed anti BSL bills in Arizona, Washington State (foreshadowing here with Washington State), Montana, Kentucky and Georgia and lost in every one of these states.  State lawmakers are hearing from their actual constituents concerned about loss of home rule rights.  Despite the brags from professional pit bull advocates their recent legal record is poor. 

Here are some interesting facts.  In addition to Newark Ohio, Wauseon Ohio and St Marys Ohio have said no to pit bull advocates this year. Reynoldsburg Ohio, Bexley Ohio and Parma Ohio said no in 2014. Cincinnati pit bull advocates crossed state lines in 2014 to bully Ft. Thomas Kentucky.  Ft. Thomas said no to them.   So far in 2015 Best Friends has pushed anti BSL bills in Arizona, Washington State (foreshadowing here with Washington State), Montana, Kentucky and Georgia and lost in every one of these states.  State lawmakers are hearing from their actual constituents concerned about loss of home rule rights.  Despite the brags from professional pit bull advocates their recent legal record is poor.

The phenomenon of out-of-state interference in local control of dangerous dogs is not limited to Ohio.  A recent article from the Idaho Press-Tribune tells us that a pit bull centric lawyer from Washington state has written warning letters to Fruitland Idaho (population 4684), Payette Idaho (population 7433), and Payette County Idaho (population 22,836).  Per the Press-Tribune " Friday’s letters from the Animal Law Offices of Adam P. Karp request the municipalities change their definition of a “dangerous” dog as well as their definition of the dog’s breed. The letters claim the laws do not accurately define the “visual identification” of the dog’s breed, which could lead to unlawful detaining. Further claims say they are “targeting dogs based on speculation and scientifically-indefensible grounds” and the municipality “fails to accommodate those who assist disabled citizens as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Karp said in an email Saturday the letters were not official tort claims. “No notices of claim have been (or need be) filed in this instance,” he wrote. “Rather, the letters provide each municipality an opportunity to make a much belated, and vital course correction before suit is filed. The (letter) correspondence serves as a courtesy warning.”

Well how courteous of Mr. Karp to warn these small towns that from his office in Washington State he demands changes to laws in Idaho.  I find his arrogance absolutely stunning.  Surely Mr. Karp is aware that courts do not find BSL unconstitutional. 

Adam Karp and friend.

Please review the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court  Ohio v Anderson
Ohio Supreme Court Toledo Ohio v. Paul Tellings
Colorado Supreme Court Colorado Dog Fanciers v the City and County of Denver
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Steve Hardwick and Sharon Nally v. the Town of Cerido
The United States District Court N.D.  Ohio Eastern Division Tarquinio v. the City of Lakewood
United States District Court District of Colorado Colorado American Canine Foundation: and Florence Vianzon v. the City of Aurora Colorado  
United States District Court District of Colorado Sonya Dias et al v the City and County of Denver
United States District Court N.D. California American Canine Foundation v Sun
The list goes on and on but you get the drift here. 

Here is another example of lawyer interference in local law, in this case the lawyer does have an office in the community.   Aurora Colorado has a breed ban and is very satisfied with how well it is working.  Pit bull advocates have challenged the ordinance so many times the city council got fed up and put it on the ballot.  Aurora voters supported their breed ban by better than a two to one margin. Done deal, the voters have been heard right?  Nope. Can pit bull advocacy admit defeat and move on?  Of course not. Lawyer Juliet Piccone wants the state legislature to step in and change law for her.  Please note that the Colorado courts (above) have ruled in favor of communities with breed bans. 

Image result for Juliet Piccone

Juliet Piccone with client Zona, a pit bull mix implicated in an attack upon a small dog, with a history of running at large, and hints of previous "incidents."  You can get Ms. Piccone's version of how Zona got in trouble with the law by clicking here.   Ms. Piccone raises funds relentlessly for her "pro bono work."   I'm not even going to get into that. 

I find the arrogance of pit bull advocates in general stunning.  Local law is local business. 

                                                           * * *

But yet again, I digress.  Back to Mr. Baldwin.  In a thread on his personal Facebook page he posts on a recent incident in Lakewood Ohio and he again calls on the Best Friends lawyer Lee Greenwood residing in Mattapan Massachusetts and the Huffington Post Animal Welfare Editor Arin Greenwood living in Gulfport Florida for assistance. The Greenwoods are brother and sister.  

Please google the Huffington Post articles and blogs about pit bulls.  A pit bull puff piece is published after every fatal pit bull attack and after pit bull attacks making national news. Over-the-top does not begin to cover it, the Huffington Post has a whole separate division for pit bull news but not for Pugs or Poodles, or Beagles.  I wonder why?  Possibly because no other breed requires this insane level of advocacy, but back to the central point.  Local business is local and pot stirring by professional pit bull advocates should be considered attempts at intimidation of local officials. 

Mr. Baldwin proudly announces on 4/9/2015 that he has made the big time.  He not only confers with Best Friends(motto - Bullying City Councils and State Legislatures in Order to Deny Home Rule Rights for Self Determination and Public Safety Everywhere) lawyers and Huffington Post editors he has been accepted as an intern at the Animal Farm Foundation (mission statement - Securing equal treatment and opportunity for "pit bull" dogs) but there is no concern for the victims of pit bull dogs, both human and animal.  Steffen has won the trifecta.

For those who may not be familiar with the Animal Farm Foundation, this is where the money starts. The New York heiress Jane Berkey spends her fortune to promote pit bulls.  Lots of wealthy folks might build a children's hospital, or fund a cancer research project, give a couple of million to their Alma mater.   Not Jane, it's pit bulls, she is the primary donor to the AFF.  If you like to read tax forms here is the 2013 Animal Farm Foundation 990. Ms. Berkey contributed $2,850,000 in 2013, $1,500,000 in 2012, and $1,500,000 in 2011. 

Please page through to the section covering gifts and contributions made by  AFF.  Lots of entries for neuter and spay surgeries. This is a very good thing and I support it fully.  You will also see multiple entries for AKC CGC testing,  AFF pays $150 PER DOG for pit bulls passing the test. You will also see payments made to shelters for placement of pit bulls. Nothing for Beagles though. 

Here is an interesting section from the AFF website Best Practices Adoption Policies and Procedures.  Keep in mind that pit bulls kill more Americans than all other breeds combined by a long shot.  The AFF feels that it is wrong to require experience with the breed, or a fenced yard, or adult adopters, or home ownership.  Insurance? Never mentioned.  Got children, other pets?  Should not be a consideration.  Background checks?  Mandatory training classes?  Good heavens, no.

Do not miss the Policy and Procedure section's glowing review on Longmont Humane Society. Longmont partners with  AFF, we discussed this particular shelter in our last post.  Here is a quote from the AFF Best Practices material "Sarah (Clusman, Training and Behavior Coordinator for Longmont) explains that the staff and volunteers are well aware of breed discrimination, and they hope to educate the public that dogs should not be judged by their breed, but rather by their individual personality."   Here is what happens in the real world, in 2012 16% of dog bites in Longmont were from dogs adopted out of the Longmont Humane Society.  

Congratulations Steffen.  Enjoy your four days at the Animal Farm Foundation intern program.  The grounds are lovely.  You will learn a lot.  Look what the proper Animal Farm Foundation training of dog wardens and animal control officers did for Montgomery County Ohio dog warden Mark Kumpf.

Mark Kumpf and Jane Berkey at one of Ms. Berkey's pit bull centric events.

Mr. Kumpf was all in for changes to Ohio law written by Best Friends but under the new law Ohio saw nine fatal dog attacks by dogs of several breeds in just the first two years.  Montgomery County, Mr. Kumpf's district, had TWO fatal dog attacks within six months.  At this point I should restate the connections between the Animal Farm Foundation and Best Friends Animal Society.

Best Friends Animal Society is outrageously committed to pit bull advocacy.  Best Friends employs Ledy Vankavage Esq to head their legal department.  Ms. Vankavage is a lifelong pit bull owner and registered lobbyist.  She has her fingers in every state.  Just google the Best Friends Pit Bull Initiatives or anything pit bull related on the Best Friends website.  This is too well documented to even bother with linking anything.  Ms. Vankavage is a close associate of Jane Berkey and serves on the board of directors of the Animal Farm Foundation (see tax records linked above).  Ms. Berkey supports Best Friends efforts to push laws that benefit pit bulls,  Berkey pays for faux Tobacco Institute style "research" proving the safety of pit bulls through the National Canine Research Council, a subsidiary of the Animal Farm Foundation (both owned by Jane Berkey), which is then given to Best Friends for use in campaigns to change law.  This incestuous and circular connection keeps the money moving and the pit bull propaganda machine humming.

Show of hands, does anyone still doubt the connection between smoking and cancer?  The federal government finally saw through the tobacco industry lies and regulated the stuff.  The same has come to pass with chemical industry trade groups.  Possibly the tide will turn against professional pit bull advocacy as well.   

You are in good hands Steffen. 

                                                                       * * *

One last update.  Remember the four year old child attacked by a pit bull recently adopted by the family?  We talked about this in the last post. The boy is off the vent and back home. Per The Olympian "On April 1, Gavin was mauled by Smash, the family’s newly adopted pit bull, while they were in the backyard. The boy has several broken bones, including his jaw, cheekbone and the bridge of his nose. He underwent two surgeries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle before he was able to come home.

“They had to take a piece of his rib and fix his eye sockets,” said his mom, Alissa Evans, 29. “But you can’t tell. The plastic surgeons up there are miracle workers.”

Read more here:

Gavin's mother has covered the mirrors in her apartment with towels so Gavin can't see the damage to his face.  In addition to the eye socket injuries, broken jaws, and broken nose, Gavin lost five baby teeth and four permanent tooth buds.  He has only two teeth on top now, he can eat only soft foods until his permanent teeth come in. This will be a long process.  Gavin will require extensive dental work in the future, likely implants.   For breed advocates who might like to make a contribution, there is a gofundme page.   Somebody please ask Jane Berkey for a donation.

Gavin's mother has made it abundantly clear that the dog is a "blue nose pit." 

Gavin Tobeck returns home.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Newark again. An old post with an unexplained number of page views bumps to the top of the blog.

An old post has received a tremendous number of page views in the last couple of weeks.  Why?

Mystery solved. Newark Councilman Rath has, zombie like, returned to  the pit bull issue. The election of new city council members has given him hope that his illogical quest might be successful this time. It failed last time and it was reported that Councilman Rath was in tears in city council chambers when the vote was taken.

What is the issue? Glad you asked!  Newark bans bit bulls but pit bull owners can exempt their pit bulls from all local regulations by simply training their dog to pass the AKC CGC test, a very simple little test.  Complete exemption, easy as pie.  Any reasonable dog should be able to pass with ease.  It appears that Newark pit bulls are unable to manage even this.  It was  reported that in the first year of the program only 3 pit bulls achieved exemption.

What might the answer be for Newark pit bull advocates?  Try again to drop the breed ban so the city can be filled with even more pit bulls that can't pass a simple test, this is their answer.  Last time pit bull advocacy (let no one forget that the huge numbers of pit bull advocates turning up at city council meetings are not Newark residents, this is a time tested tactic, fill up the room with pit bull owners to create a false sense of community support) challenged the Newark pit bull ban,  continued pit bull attacks in Newark made the news regularly.  Pit bull advocates took no notice and continued to advocate for complete deregulation.  Their thought process was "the breed ban is not protecting Newark from pit bull attacks so lets drop the ban and fill up Newark with even more bit bulls that are not insured, contained, or neutered and spayed."

What? Is that logical?    

In any case, I'm going to bump the most popular post and throw in whatever else turns up about Newark a bit later.  This post, originally a pit bull round up,  first appeared in April of 2015.  The title was " A rescue rising star with resume problems, lawmakers who read the news, attacks, shootings, and hysteria. Your average pit bull roundup."  I have edited out the average roundup material and left the Newark material.
                                                    * * *

In no particular order, we will begin.  The first story takes a detour that I did not expect.  Please enjoy the scenery.  

"Mixed breeds, pit bulls, Labs bit the most in 2014." This is a stat filled article published last January in the Newark Advocate before the final vote on possible repeal of Newark pit bull regulations.  (Spoiler alert, pit bulls will continue to be regulated in Newark). Here is the quote that sums it up "Newark police took reports on 71 dog bites throughout 2014, with 12 of those attributed to unidentified mixed-breed dogs. Another 10 were attributed to pit bulls or pit bull mixes." Keep in mind that at the time this article was written pit bulls were banned in Newark unless certain conditions were met. 

Here is a second quote from the Newark Advocate article "So far in 2015, Newark police have taken reports of three bites, all of which were by pit bulls"  More on the three pit bull attacks logged Newark in January.  From the Newark Advocate, dated 1/30/2015 we find that a bite was reported 1/29/2015.  The victim told police that his neighbors dog had bitten him unprovoked and that he believes the dog to be a pit bull.  On 1/20/2015 a man was reported to have been bitten in the face by a pit bull.  On 1/12/2015 a man's dog was reportedly attacked by a pit bull and the man was bitten on the hand while trying to separate the pit bull from his dog. Per the Newark Advocate. "Police Sgt Paul Davis said police do take and receive reports of dog bites involving dogs that are not classified as pit bulls, but Newark has not received any so far this year.“Pit bulls are the majority,” Davis said. No other reports of dog bites have been taken by Newark police in 2015."

 Quick review, pits are banned in Newark unless the pit has passed the AKC GCC test.  This is a quick and simple test and one would think that pit bull owners would line up for it, just passing the test exempts the pit bull from regulation. One would be wrong, only THREE pit bulls have achieved exempt status since this option was made available to pit bull owners in 2013, all other pit bulls in Newark are illegally owned.

The article includes a quote so foolish that I include it here.  The quote is from Steffen Baldwin, president and CEO of the Animal Cruelty Task Force, a private and non government affiliated animal rescue group despite the very official sounding name.  Here is the quote " If you take a dog out of an environment and you put it in a new one, its behavior will change."  "It's not the breed, its not some genetic thing from 200 years ago... It's  all about the environment the dog is being put in."  Mr. Baldwin lives in Marysville Ohio in Union County, he does not live in Newark Ohio but spoke to the Newark City Council in favor of deregulation of pit bulls.  The majority of the City Council did not buy it and eventually voted to retain their pit bull ban.  This may indicate that the majority of city council members did not sleep through high school science classes where genetics was taught.  Changing a dog's address does not change the actual dog.  Recent news accounts of maulings by newly adopted pit bulls and fatal attacks by newly adopted or fostered pit bulls make this clear.  *See links at the bottom of this post.*

Here is where we take the detour, video of the city council meeting where Mr Baldwin spoke is posted online and I spent some time watching it.   Click here and you can watch it yourself. I recommend it.  At 3:58 into the video Steffen Baldwin gets up to speak.  Note the back of his jacket, it says Animal Cruelty Task Force in large yellow letters. Sounds legal doesn't it?  It is a private humane society in Union County Ohio not an entity of any level of government. Mr. Baldwin goes on to state that he has been requested to come to Newark and speak to the city council.  At 8:37 Baldwin goes on to speak briefly of the Mike Vick dogs that were rehabilitated and served as therapy dogs.  WHAT? A google search tells us that three of the 50 Vick pit bulls have participated in hospital visits.  The huge majority of the Vick pit bulls lived in sanctuaries or in extremely controlled situations.  Some were hit by cars, two were involved in an attack at Best Friends Animal Society where a non Vick pit bull named Beans was decapitated by a Vick pit and that pit went on to maul and nearly kill another of the other Vick pits.  Despite constant training some of the Vick pits took fully six years or more to pass the AKC CGC.  For more information click here

After the foolish quote from the January Newark Advocate article and the Mike Vick "rehabilitated fighting pit bull therapy dogs" remark I HAD to know more about Baldwin.  Here is how Baldwin describes himself and his organization taken from his Linked In page"Since leaving the military at the end of 2001 I have spent the last thirteen years employed in the nonprofit sector with increasing levels of responsibility beginning with the YMCA in an entry level position, and spending the last eight years as an Executive Director. Most recently, I have taken my nonprofit skills along with my experience with animals and as a Humane Agent, to form my own private nonprofit organization known as the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Ohio, or ACT Ohio, to provide free animal cruelty investigation services to rural counties in need."

Here is how it works, Ohio revised code only allows a Humane agent to work in the county where they live so ACT Ohio pays for the required training of a volunteer in that county and pays that volunteer mileage for calls.  All good so far.  ACT Ohio has volunteers in several counties. Humane investigations are fine and necessary, go for it. 

We understand the business, lets understand the businessman. 

Lets begin by taking a look at the resume that Mr. Baldwin AKA Steffen Evan Finkelstein, has posted on Linked In.  Start at the bottom with Education, The United States Military Academy at West Point 1999 to 2001 (three years) with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, wow!  West Point has a Cadet Honor Code.  Keep this in mind.

Cadet Honor Code - Wikipedia

There is no graduation date but the intent is clear, those looking at this material are supposed to think Baldwin went to West Point. Here is the problem, West Point does not offer a bachelor's degree program in Philosophy.  West Point is the Army, they train those who they feel are officer material for fields that benefit the army. Philosophy does not fit here. It must be also be noted that West Point is a four year program, no exceptions.

Do you accept transfer students?
No. Students in college or with previous college credit may apply to West Point if they meet the basic requirements. However, those students still enter West Point as plebes (freshmen) and must complete the four-year program.

Just above Education we find work experience. 

The first listing is United States Army Imagery Ground Station Operator/Paratrooper with dates July 1998 to December 2001.  How did one person spend three years at West Point to get a four year degree in a field that is not offered by West Point and in the same time frame serve as a Ground Station Operator and Paratrooper, discharged from the Army in 3 years and six months ? 

Six months after Army discharge Baldwin begins an entry level job as a Youth Sports Coordinator, current salary for this position is $11 per hour.  

Also listed at the YMCA is a job as After School CAPS Supervisor, CAPS is a before and after school program for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade and the pay range would be expected to be about the same. The YMCA jobs are listed as June 2002 through August 2005.  This is apparently part time.  From June 2003 to August 2006 Baldwin has another part time job.  He served as a Funds Development Manager for a drug treatment facility.  From a pair of $11 an hour part time jobs at the Y to another part time job as a Funds Development Manager?  Logical?  Not particularly. 

It gets more illogical.  The next job is listed as Executive Director for the Victor Valley Community Hospital Foundation (a community hospital that went bankrupt in 2010).

At this point Baldwin is about 26 years old with no documented bachelor's degree much less an MBA and he is Executive Director of a hospital foundation? Logical?  Not particularly. Baldwin has only one recommendation on his Linked In page, someone from this period. She refers to him as an "exuberant Development Director." 

In 2008 Baldwin comes to Ohio for a position as Executive Director of the Union County Humane Society, a private Humane Society with more members on the Board of Directors than actual employees.    Baldwin quit this job in 2013 stating that his heart was in the field and with Humane investigations 

According to a post on his Facebook page dated March 10th the resignation was not that simple. He had been written up for what his board of directors considered to be inappropriate use of time "spending too much time on animal cruelty investigation work" and described that write up as "humiliating." In response he incorporated his own private humane society, ACT Ohio.  Baldwin lists himself as founder and CEO. ACT Ohio has two full time employees, Baldwin and an office manager.  Be clear about this, Baldwin considers ACT Ohio a business, he refers to the ACT Ohio facebook page as his "business page."  Checking Guidestar for ACT Ohio tells us that the organization does have 501c3 status (the ACT Ohio website does not include this information) and files the 990N tax form for non profits.  This tells us a bit about the financial side of ACT Ohio, less than $50,000 a year in gross receipts. 

Baldwin has not removed or updated the status of his failed  consulting business from his Linked In resume.  His failed tattoo parlor, Lions and Lambs, in Marysville never made the resume.  A PDF of the Linked In resume has been saved.

Baldwin was interested in joining the staff at Franklin County Shelter as Director very recently. He did not get the job.

 Resumes are submitted for jobs and background checks are done.  Even the most casual review of Baldwin's resume turns up what we have looked at here.  Resumes that have gaps and obvious overstatements of qualifications are do not bring job offers.  Mr. Baldwin found this out. 

But cheer up Steffen, life is about to get better.  You have aligned yourself with Best Friends Animal Society (motto - Bullying City Councils and State Legislatures in Order to Deny Home Rule Rights for Self Determination and Public Safety Everywhere) for assistance in fighting Newark Ohio's pit bull regulations. (Baldwin also lobbied in St. Marys Ohio after city council voted to regulate pit bulls. St. Marys is in Auglaize County, Baldwin has no business here either).  Why is it Baldwin's calling to negotiate with an out of state PAC to change law in a community where he does not reside in a county where he does not  reside?  It is not legal for Baldwin to act a Humane Officer in another county but he feels comfortable in continuing attempts to change law there even after the city councils have voted no on the proposal?

 Best Friends Animal Society is the out of state animal rights PAC that wrote HB 14, the epic fail bill to deregulate pit bulls in Ohio and "finally give dog wardens the tools to deal with dangerous dogs."  Not so much. Nine Ohio residents were killed by dogs of several breeds in the first two years after passage of HB 14.  Deaths in the previous DECADE?  Six.  The bill protects violent dogs and their owners at the expense of the peaceful public. At least two bills are expected to be introduced into the new General Assembly to clean up the mess left by HB 14.  Best Friends is also pushing for bills to be introduced in multiple state legislatures to prohibit BSL, denying the home rule rights of cities fed up with pit bull attacks and fed up with tax supported shelters housing unplaceable pit bulls for months to years.  So far this year Best Friends attempts to pass laws to prohibit BSL have failed in Arizona, Montana, Kentucky and Washington State.  An additional fact - Rhode Island has a bill to reverse the anti-BSl bill passed there last year.

Money comes with partnering with Best Friends and pit bull advocacy is all about donation dollars.  Best Friends Animal Society shamelessly and boldly promotes pit bulls in complete denial of the reality of pit bull violence, spending endless streams of cash on lawyers and lobbyists.  Why do pit bulls require this level of advocacy?  If pit bulls are what Best Friends Animal Society claims they are shelters would have no problem placing them.  This Facebook post made by Steffen Baldwin has already been removed but a screen shot was saved.  Apparently someone at Best Friends advised Mr. Baldwin to hide the evidence.

Lee Greenwood is a Massachusetts based legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society headquartered in Utah.  Greenwood began his employment with Best Friends in 2014 and is already active in Kentucky, Georgia, and Delaware that I know of and probably more than that.  Greenwood is only one of many lawyers and lobbyists employed by Best Friends, Best Friends has lobbyists in all states.  Is there a comparable coast to coast cabal of consultants, lawyers, and lobbyists for Collies or Corgis?  For Poodles or Pugs?  Beagles or Bichons?  No, normal dogs do not require this level of advocacy.  
Expect more of Steffen's story in a self published book expected this summer.  Baldwin's words "so stay tuned for that in a few months and thank you to everyone who has followed either the business page or my personal page in the past two years"

I suspect that Baldwin may be a genuinely kind and altruistic person but he has made self promotion a life's work.  I am genuinely sorry for his troubles but he is blind to opposing points of view, like those of the victims of his beloved dogs.

Back to where we started with this detour, West Point has a cadet honor code, "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do."  Wise words and a valuable policy.  Mr. Baldwin, I suspect you find this post eventually, the section at the bottom was written for you. 

Back to Newark and the end of the detour. If you can get through Baldwin's remarks to the city council on the video, the next speaker is another non-local, a representative of another out of county Humane society who is anxious to place pit bulls with families in Newark.  It is to the shelter's advantage to have the dogs unregulated and without insurance requirements. 

                                                        * * *

This is information that has apparently been missed by Steffen Baldwin and other breed specific advocates. Possibly missed because these breed specific advocates are on the road constantly to make speeches defending the breed not at home reading the news.  If there is a similar list featuring Beagles adopted out of shelters, or Poodles, or Pugs I would like to see it.  This section is mostly a personal message to Mr. Baldwin.  When he speaks in public he admits that there are large differences of opinion on pit bulls but gives little credence or consideration to victims.  I would like him to see the other side of the pit bull problem.

Pit bull mauls the family that adopted it from a Philadelphia shelter on day two in the adoptive household.   The shelter's original response was that the dog "was very friendly that's why it was allowed to be adopted by the family "   Don the pit bull was a half price special at the shelter's "St. Pitty's day adoption event.

But wait, Don the pit bull has a bit of history.   The shelter had previously placed Don with a foster who returned Don the very next day because he attacked another pit bull in her home causing injuries that ran up a $700 vet bill. The foster responsibly reported the attack and she spoke to a reporter of her conversation with a representative of ACCT"I said to her, 'That dog attacked my dog, what if it attacks a kid?' She said, 'Don't worry about it, he won't do that,'" "I couldn't believe it. That poor family, the kids - it could have been my kids. How can someone sleep at night knowing that they adopted that dog out knowing that it viciously attacked my dog,"  

Note, the people in the photo with Don are volunteers at ACCT who promoted the dog relentlessly.
Did rescue by the shelter and TWO attempts at rehoming change Don?  No. 

                                                                    * * *

Pappy, the  Albuquerque pit bull and a known biter was given another chance and released into a new home in the community where not surprisingly he killed another dog.  Did putting Pappy in new surroundings change him?  Absolutely not. 

                                                                * * *

Rita Woodward AKA Rita Ross suffered a heart attack as she was being mauled by dogs she was fostering for a local rescue group.  Ross's  skills as a foster were well thought of by others in the group and she specialized in pit bulls.  When police arrived the dogs were actively feeding on Ross's body.    Were these dogs transformed by their improved living conditions?  No.

Eugene Smith was killed by his own pit bull as he took down his Christmas tree.  Smith adopted the pit bull from a rescue group last May.  Did an improved living situation change this pit bull?  No. 

                                                                    * * *

Rita Pepe was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull as she was walking in her neighborhood.  Mrs. Pepe's injuries were severe, she died several weeks later.  The pit bull had recently been adopted from a local shelter and had escaped from the new owner's home.  Did an improvement in his living situation change Booker the pit bull?  No. 
 branford animal shelter adopts out attacking pit bull

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Child attacked by her new neighbor's rescued pit bull. The pit bull owner warned neighbors up front that the dog was a problem.  The child's mother told a reporter "The one who attacked her was adopted and it was abused previously," "And it had issues with women. He told us not to approach it, pet it, anything like that."  Did a change in the environment  change the dog?  No.

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An Ohio rescue group sent a pit bull to a family to foster.  Jada the pit bull spent two days in the foster home  before the father was attacked by Jada causing thousands of dollars in medical bills and a three day stay in the hospital.  Here is a quote from a news story on the attack " After the attack, the Montjoys learned Jada had been in another foster home where she had bitten. The organization retrieved Jada from the house and the next day she was put down.  “I know there is assumed risk taking a pit bull into my house,” said Greg. “But at the same time, I have the head of the rescue assuring me that this is a great dog that has been fully evaluated and is perfectly safe in my house."

Did two re-locations and two opportunities for a new life change Jada?  No they did not.

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 A four year old child attacked by a pit bull adopted by his family just 4 weeks previously.  The child required airlift to a major medical center for treatment of the injuries to his face.  Below  is a photo of the pit bull, that is the child's blood still on his face.  The dog was given to the family by a friend of a neighbor.  Watch the video with the link.  The child is in the hospital on a vent and his mother is telling a reporter that a great dog Smash was.  Smash's previous owner is interviewed and he states that Smash was dog aggressive but not human aggressive.  Classic.

Did relocation change this dog? Apparently not.

Do you wonder what the four year old boy's injuries might look like?  This might help.  Let me introduce a little girl named Naty, first photo is prior to her attack, second photo is a hospital photo taken after her attack in 2009.  This courageous child has a personal motto  "It's OK not to be perfect."  Remarkable.

Another before and after.  This is Kara  Kara Hartrich died from massive blood loss and multiple bites to her head, neck and arms after being attack by her familys pit bulls
Please click here to read what Kara's mother wrote about Kara's death. Kara was killed by the family pit bulls. Or you could click here to watch Roxanne Hartrich speak about Kara's death.

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I'm on a roll now with video.

Here is Dax Borchardt in the arms of his father, Jeff Borchardt.
Beyond the interview, essay of a fatal pit bull mauling
Click here for an interview with Jeff speaking about the death of his son.

This is the after photo, how VERY sad.
Daxton Borchardt Memorial
Pit bull advocates might consider a donation to Daxton's Friends for Canine Education and Awareness.
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Here is Beau Rutledge.

Here is a link to video of Beau's father Jeremiah speaking of the loss of his son.  Beau was killed by the family pit bull. 

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I'm going back a few years for this one but it becomes timely, follow along please. 

On April 16, 2009 five year old Frankie Flora was attacked and mauled by his aunt's pit bull as they were playing in the yard.  The pit bull was a rescue from Out of the Pits, a New York state pit bull rescue group.  Per the Out of the Pits website " "Out of the Pits, a non-profit organization founded in 1996, is dedicated to the rescue of those Pit Bulls that have been abandoned and abused. We seek to educate the public about the true nature of the Pit Bull and to restore the breed to its former position of esteem in the hearts and minds of people everywhere."

Here is the "true nature of the Pit Bull"

Before and after photos of Frankie Flora

Frankie's courageous fight for recovery led him to be named a 2010 Children's Miracle Network Ambassador and even brought Frankie a visit to the White House.
 Frankie flora pit bull attack survivor
Here is a link to a great deal of information on Frankie, please read and remember this when you speak to city councils on your personal desire for deregulation of pit bulls. 

Here is a link to information on the Frankie Flora Bill introduced into the New York State legislature.

Frankie, his mother Maria, and state Senators Gipson and Breslin, sponsors of the Frankie Flora bill.

The New York Post has just written an article on pork-barrel grants found in the state budget.  Per the Post "Even pit bulls got love from Albany, with the budget appropriating $5,000 to Out of the Pits, a group that aids stray dogs of that breed."  What are lawmakers thinking here?  The Frankie Flora bill is still in the legislature and the legislature has awarded a grant to Out of the Pits?  

Was the pit bull rescued by Out of the Pits and placed with Frankie Flora's aunt changed by the  rescue experience?  Apparently not.  Did lawmakers in the state of New York learn anything here?  Apparently not, they awarded a grant, this is taxpayer money here, to the very organization responsible for Frankie's injuries.  It should be recognized that the all powerful and extremely well funded Animal Farm Foundation, a pit bull advocacy organization (motto - Securing Equal Treatment and Opportunity for "Pit Bull" dogs) is owned by wildly wealthy New York state heiress Jane Saul Berkey is based in New York State.   Coincidence or political pull?  

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Mr. Baldwin, if you make the choice to take risks with you and yours, that is your decision.  The communities that have voted to keep their proactive pit bull regulations have done so thoughtfully and lawfully with the intent to protect their residents from the losses suffered by these families and many others. 

I promise, this is the last one.  Consider the future of this pit bull owner, mauled by her own pit bulls, she was physically normal prior to the attack..

Click here for video of Linda Henry, she has changed her mind about pit bulls and now favors regulation.  I can give you the result of the effort to regulate pit bulls in this town.  The councilman who introduced the proposal dropped it because of death threats he received from pit bull owners.

pit bull

Linda Henry

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Here is a link to a recent story about a problem surfacing in Shelters and rescues in American cities, recycling known biters back into the community.  Don't miss the letter of complaint dealing with the known own biter pit bull Pappy.

This quote on the dog that attacked a child comes from Merritt Clifton's Animals 24/7
 “A pit bull named Mugsy Malone was officially declared dangerous even before he attacked a 3-year-old girl. The dog has twice come and gone from our animal shelters. The attack on the child was not enough to warrant euthanasia under our practices. Neither was the fact that Mugsy Malone killed a small dog, and also bit a man in our own facility. Mugsy Malone went on to injure a shelter volunteer, but was transferred to Fur & Feathers Animal Assistance of Pie Town. There he injured the two founders of the organization.”
This is outrageous!  Who is looking out for the safety of the public?

Apparently nobody is looking out for the safety of the public. 
3/3/15  A spokesperson for Fur and Feathers Rescue feels Mugsy Malone isn't ready to adopt out right now but she believes that he may someday be ready to go back into the community.  You can't make this stuff up.

This last article was published in 2013 but it has bearing on our topic, shelters and rescues that are committed to saving known dangerous dogs at the expense of public safety.  The Longmont Humane Society was ticketed by police on suspicion of keeping a dangerous dog, Bridgette the pit bull.  This was big, Humane societies are seldom ticketed.  The pit bull was being fostered for the Longmont Humane Society and attacked a neighbor and the neighbor's leashed dog. The ticket was the result of police awareness that a "disproportionate number of dog bite reports in the city were coming from animals adopted out of the Humane Society". Investigation into the record of Bridgette, the attacking pit bull, revealed that she had a history of biting animals and humans and had been declared dangerous in another county.  Bridgette also got into a fight at the shelter. Bridgette was in training for control of her aggression while at the shelter and shelter trainers "determined that she was progressing well" this allowed her to go to the foster (who was a shelter volunteer).  Bridgette attacked the neighbor four days later.  Did any of these changes in environment or training attempts change Bridgette? No. 

Investigation revealed that in 2012 nearly 16% of dog bites in Longmont were traced to dogs adopted out of the Longmont Humane Society.  At the time this article appeared in October of 2013 13% of dog bites in Longmont were traced to dogs adopted out on the shelter. 

Did relocation of these dogs change them?  The answer here is no. 
Longmont police ticketed the Longmont Humane Society on suspicion of keeping a dangerous dog when a dog in foster care attacked a neighbor and his leashed
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These are  recent attacks, required no effort to find and are just a few examples of the problem.  Pit bull advocates refuse to acknowledge the danger of the breed/type.  Denial leads to more suffering and death.  Advocates have the right to their opinion but they do not have the right to appear before lawmakers and state that absurdity is fact.  Those who get their news from actual news sources know better.  A better use of time and resources would be working toward laws mandating neuter and spay of pit bulls and their mixes.  The dogs suffer, they are abandoned on the streets or surrendered to shelters primarily due to aggression issues.  Pit bulls languish for months or years in shelters with no hope for placement because the public reads the actual news and they want safer family dogs.  Roughly a million pit bulls are euthanized in shelters in the United States EVERY YEAR, 
Those who claim to love the breed are the only ones that can solve the problem.  Those who claim to love the breed must to stop breeding dogs destined to suffer and die, and cause suffering and death in the community as well. Without the tremendous numbers of pit bulls in shelter cages there would be none of the current hysteria to rescue and place them.  Pit bull rescue groups could relax, organize picnics, enjoy life. 

Steffen Baldwin includes this phrase in every Facebook post he makes "#don't bully my breed #stop BSL."  Here is a suggestion, don't bully peaceful communities that place a higher value on the safety of residents than on the personal choices of breed specific advocates who do not live in the community.

We will conclude this post with a photo of Mr. Baldwin wearing a shirt that sums up his thought pattern. It is a pity that he can't see the other side of the problem.

Much more to come.