Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great Letter to Dispatch Editor Regarding Whitehall Pit Bull Ban

This is a really awesome Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Sunday, June 22, 2008 edition of The Columbus Dispatch!

Hooray for Amanda! She really did her homework very well!

Campaign against pit bulls in Whitehall is sorely lacking in facts

I am writing in regard to last Saturday's letter from Whitehall City Councilwoman Jacquelyn K. Thompson, "Pit bulls inspire fear, must be removed from society."

I find it ironic that Thompson has chosen to invoke the names of great men known for their fight against prejudice, discrimination and hatred. Indeed, Thompson is a shining example of what President John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy fought against: those using the guise of betterment of society, when in fact they were simply hiding behind their words to cover ignorance and fear of the unknown, as well as blatant prejudice and discrimination.

I am not a part of a pit-bull lobby, nor do I even own a pit bull. I am amazed that Thompson is blaming her inability to pass a ban on the "pit-bull lobby."

Thompson was unable to pass her ban because, quite simply, the foundation of her proposed ordinance was myth, rhetoric and hysteria. The facts do not support bans as being effective in reducing dog bites and increasing public safety. Here are some facts:

• Just last week the Netherlands repealed a 15-year ban imposed on pit bulls and other breeds because it did not reduce dog bites.

• Aurora, Colo., instituted a pit-bull ban two years ago. Since that time, bite incidents have increased 43 percent.

• A Scottish study, two years after a breed ban was enacted, found overall dog-bite rates were unchanged.

• A study in Aragon, Spain, five years before and five years after the introduction of their Dangerous Animals Act, indicated there was no change in numbers of reported dog bites.

• The United Kingdom banned pit bulls in 1991. A study analyzing dog bites before the ban and after the ban revealed that the Dangerous Dog Act has had no effect whatsoever. Yet the U.K. spent $14 million identifying pit bulls and another $10 million per year in litigation.

• The province of Ontario, Canada, banned pit bulls in 2005, spending $170,000 per year trying to enforce it. The city of Windsor spends an extra $26,000 each year enforcing a pit-bull ban.

• During a 10-year period, Cincinnati spent $160,000 per year trying to enforce a pit-bull ban, which has been ineffective.

• While dog bites were spiking in Lucas County, Ohio -- despite the Ohio and Toledo vicious-dog laws -- the incidence of dog bites has steadily declined in New York City, which does not regulate dogs based on breed. In the absence of a breed-specific law, dog bites have decreased from 30,000 per year in the 1970s to 5,300 in 2001 and then to 3,956 in 2005.

• The Canadian city of Calgary enacted dangerous-dog legislation (similar to the alternative legislation proposed by Whitehall Councilman Bob Bailey) in response to an escalating bite problem. The results were incredible. Calgary saw a 21 percent decline in bite incidents, and aggressive-dog incidents have dropped by 56 percent. And the city's animal-control program pays for itself. Police work with animal-control officers in dangerous situations.

As to the claim of a "pit-bull lobby" bullying the community, city residents speaking out against an unjust proposal is hardly a lobby. Ohioans from nearby communities concerned with unjust legislation is hardly a lobby.

The only bullying I have witnessed was, in fact, perpetrated by Thompson, who consistently targeted and berated Whitehall residents, denigrated and made absurd accusations against other members of City Council and even took pot shots at the mayor. Bullying, Thompson? Here's a mirror.



Anonymous said...

Actually the bite and aggressive incidents in Calgary Alberta Canada dropped by over 78% ,all the monies obtained through their zero tolerance bylaws provides the funding for low cost s/n,child dog bite safety classes,public education,rescue work and an enforcement team better staffed than most police departments.NOT A PENNY now comes from city coffers after just 10 years in doing their good work.

Jo Ann said...

Thanks Anonymous. I appreciate your input.