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Malcom Gladwell, author of many titles, many of which are found in The New Yorker, gave the pit bull world (and hopefully many others) this little gem a few years back: Troublemakers: what pit bulls can teach us about profiling.

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The KC DOG BLOG put out an interesting read on a Denver-area suburb and it's pit bull ban.

The ban was challenged, and the court proceedings began Nov. 17th, 2008. So while there seems to be a reasonable argument that the ban is not increasing public safety (IE. dog bites may have risen across the board since the ban's inception) the town of Aurora is intent on keeping their BSL intact.

The KCDB post has several links to news articles from the Denver area, one of which has an interview from the Dir. of Denver's Animal Care and Control, and a link to a 2 year report on dog bites from the Aurora township. All in all, this post in worth the time.

Edit to add:

(11/19/2008) The Denver Post reports that the Judge ruled in favor of the Aurora pit bull ban.

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While looking around the intra-web for interesting people, good ideas, and otherwise thoughtful blogs or websites, I often come up with stuff that I feel should be shared.

I found one of those posts at the Dog Politics blog. It's an older post that dates back to 2007, but I feel that it is still relevant.

In the main, the post deals with the HSUS, a group that has been pretty rough on Pit bulls for decades, and Mandatory Spay and Neuter (MSN) for Pit bulls.

Now, at first glance, MSN for pit bulls may seem like a good idea as the shelter numbers suggest that there are just waaaay tooo maaaaany Pit bulls looking for homes - many of which are ultimately euthanized for lack of adoption. Now, supporting MSN is a touchy topic to begin with but any group pushing MSN for certain breeds of dogs is, well, one more form of Breed Specific Legislation.

I invite you to read this post from DogPolitics.com, which takes a look into Breed Specific MSN and the HSUS' agenda.

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My buddy, Drayton Micheals, at Dog Star Daily put together a great post on a rarely discussed topic: the financial aspect of BSL. I am not familair with any materials from BSL promoters that account for this aspect of their "plan." In my estimation, this is one more aspect of a shortsighted approach to public safety - the hallmark of Breed Specific Legislation.

The following is an excerpt from Mr. Micheals' fourth installment of his "Dangerous Dog Diatribe", which is a look into the amount of money that is going into these laws:

Most of the focus on BSL is placed on dog behavior and how to effectively reduce dog incidents that are injurious or fatal. There is another aspect that does not get spoken about by proponents of BSL, the cost to implement such legislation and the lack of effectiveness of the approach.

Since its inception around 1989 BSL has not reduced dog - human fatalities or serious injury statistics; they have held steady. How can a breed ban even begin to be enforced? How can you really be sure there are no “Pit Bulls” in your city? You cannot, and this is the fundamental problem with BSL, it is unenforceable and the cost does not justify the results.

Drayton's post, complete with citations, will hopefully provoke many to re-examine their support of BSL. And for those that are already in the fight to keep BSL out of their communities, this post will provide many productive talking points. It is a lengthy post, indeed, yet the amount of information is justified by the many misconceptions that are inherent to discussions about BSL.

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There are many blogs that expose Breed Specific Legislation for what it is: a knee-jerk approach to public safety. In the spirit of efficiency, I have provided a link to the KC Dog Blog section tagged, "Failed BSL". The write-up's found at this link are a look into cities that have enacted Breed Specific Legislation.

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From the Pit Bull Rescue Central website, I have linked a game called "Find the Pit bull". The significance of this game, while seemingly childish, is very powerful. Many folks are willing to attribute horrible acts to pit bulls, yet struggle to correctly identify a pit bull - the pit bull game is a perfect example of this.

Take into consideration that not everybody is able to correctly identify "pit bulls" - a term that is often times used to include several separate breeds - and apply that idea to those that are providing information on dog bites: law enforcement, animal control, journalists, and John Q. Public. The point? It is very likely that a good number of incidents attributed to pit bulls did not involve a pit bull at all. This is a very plausible scenario.

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Many that seek to set the record straight on Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) claim there is a strong media bias influencing public perception of certain breeds, which in turn influences legislators.

The following is an excerpt from a National Canine Research Council (NCRC) evaluation of news reports and pit bulls:

On June 4, 2008, at least 29 news articles were run on a story about a Los Angeles boy "mauled by a Pit bull." Some of the headlines were:

"LA toddler hospitalized after being mauled by Pit bulls" - Fresno Bee

"2-year-old stable after pit bull bites his face" - LA Times

The Mercury News even reported that two Pit bulls attacked the child. Another article described the dog as the "family Pit bull." The Los Angeles Times reported the boy in "critical condition after he was bitten by a pit bull."

Perhaps the media should not bear the brunt for this serious error, as the source of the breed mis-identification was found to have originated from the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD should not attempt to identify breeds of dogs or comment on canine behavior. The average police officer is no more skilled in breed identification than is the average reporter. Perhaps in the realization of this, the LAPD later referred all inquiries on the dog involved in this incident to the city's animal services department.

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services released a statement declaring the dog involved in the attack on the boy was "in fact a shepherd mix."

Note: Acknowledgement is given to the Los Angeles Times for printing a "For the Record" remark on the erroneous breed identification of the dog in this incident. On June 7th the LA Times printed the following: "An article in Thursday's California section about a boy attacked by his family's dog quoted authorities as saying the dog was a pit bull. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services said Friday that the animal that bit the toddler was a shepherd mix."

However, this small retraction cannot possibly undo the damage that was done by the media. All the headlines run by the LA Times which initially identified this dog to be a Pit bull have not been pulled and can still be found in the LA Times archives.

Additionally, more than one attorney website and dog bite "advocacy" website has picked up this "Pit bull attack" story and posted it on their website as additional "evidence" of the nature of Pit bulls.

Please read the rest of the NCRC's report, The Media: A Reliable Source of Information on Dog Attacks?, which exposes many similar examples of errors in the reporting of dog attacks by the news media.

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Here is a snippet from a media source sensationalizing a "pit bull attack." The report goes on to describe a hectic and troubling scenario in which a young girl was in danger.

Here is a snippet from a different media source of the same event, which includes information from the police report:

Folks, I hope you all are giving a fair amount of consideration to the power of suggestion, and the media's influence over public opinion. Now, factor in the understanding that pit bulls have been sensationalized by the news media for decades; and as a result are feared, and legislated against, in a manner that is not only rediculous but unwarranted. Good dogs die. Good owners lose their dogs. Public safety is not increased. Tax payers get the bill.

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Many folks involved with animal concerns (IE. how our society deals with animals) seek to make a positive impact - a good thing, right?

In this pursuit, most will become aware of the many organizations that work toward this end.

However, some folks that get involved may not stop to think about the unintended consequences that may come from their donations and support.

This blog entry from Lindsay Biddle at the APBTNetwork Blog gives a look at the distinct differences between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.

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Breed Specific Legislation does not take the appropriate approach toward increasing public safety with concerns to dogs.

The assumptions that allow BSL to be enacted are flawed, and do not address why dog bites occur – the most important aspect in working toward public safety.

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Often times, BSL will come about after a well-publicized “dog attack.”

In general, the dogs involved are said to be at least one of a handful of breeds: pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, or chows.

This in turn causes a concern among some in the community, and legislators are pressured to pass new legislation in the name of public safety.

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- “Certain dog breeds are inherently different than others, and are therefore more dangerous.”

- “Pit bull (or Rottweiler, German shepherd, etc) attacks are always in the news paper.”

- “When was the last time anyone ever heard of a (insert perceived good dog breed) attacking a kid?”

- “Studies show these breeds are the ones that account for an overwhelming number of dog bites”

The list of assumptions associated with BSL is long and engrained in our society, yet easily bested when approached with reasonable information and a level-headed evaluation.

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Working Pit bull.Com: Diane Jessup's website has nearly anything and everything pit bull - great info for those new to the breed.

Dog Watch: Solid strategies for fighting BSL.

For Pit's Sake: Great BSL information.

For Pit's Sake: Home to several Search and Rescue pit bulls.

Out of the Pits: Organization that provides many community services using pit bulls.

Understand A Bull: general pit bull, BSL, and rescue information.

Pit bull Rescue Central (PBRC): Forms and insights on how to battle BSL.

NAPBTA-BSL-packet: BSL info-packet from the NAPBTA.

National Canine Research Council: media analysis and breed specific research.

The Pit bull Place: Informative and welcoming online community.

The HSUS attempted to fund raise for the care of Micheal Vick's dogs, while at the same time suggesting that the dogs needed to be killed.
And to add insult to injury, they weren't even planning on taking possesion of the dogs.

Contact the HSUS and tell them this is unacceptable!

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