At SwayLove my #1 goal is to oppose breed-discriminatory legislation and prejudice against any dog breed or type. It is the supreme evil that perpetuates all of the many wrongs that so many of us are up against. Over the past year this very issue (MSN-BSL) has been pushed in numerous jurisdictions around California. Many of us have been working very hard at spreading the word in regards to the true intent behind such a move. You will often hear me say some version of what this post title claims, that the mandatory sterilization of dogs deemed by whomever to be Pit Bulls is a dog banner’s 2nd option. I’ve taken a fair share of criticism from well-meaning people that just don’t get it. I’ve watched certain Pit Bull owners, advocates and rescues stand on the sidelines and not get involved with such legislative attempts. I can’t assume to know their motivation, but I can take note when they do nothing to spread the word or show up in opposition.
Here is the latest example of such intent, from Jurupa Valley City Councilman Micheal Goodland (who is bringing forth the legislation):
It’s like owning a wildcat, a tiger. A Pit Bull is a wild animal. I wouldn’t ever trust them, and that’s because of what I’ve seen. I’ve seen severe injuries to people’s limbs. Children being mauled. I’d like to see them banned altogether.
This comes on the eve of Jurupa Valley’s Thursday City Council meeting where they will pitch the idea of passing a Pit Bull sterilization law. This is the following of a plan by Riverside County and it’s spreading from city to city within the county, just as they intended it to.
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, from 10/8/2013:
Our goal after we pass the ordinance today is to pass it on to our 28 cities, so that we uniformly have some type of ordinance in place for the entire county. These dogs are being bred to be dangerous, to fight, to kill, and as a result we’ve seen a lot of terrible incidents, so it’s been a significant public safety problem for our residents.
Stone is the same Supervisor that back in October also compared Pit Bulls to tigers, calling them vicious and killers. He also pompously talked as if he was a geneticist, which he definitely is not, while an actual geneticist was sitting in the audience and gave a public comment that directly refuted his asinine claims. The Board of Supervisors ignored this man’s testimony outright. If it couldn’t get any worse, Jeff Stone is also the same guy that gets his “statistics” from the nefarious DogsBite.org (common amongst BSL-pushers), which is nothing more than an anti-Pit Bull hate group. Stone’s fellow Supervisors had many of the same erroneous and inflammatory things to say while proudly and broadly indicting millions of dogs who simply look a certain way.
Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison, another Pit Bull-obsessive ban-happy bureaucrat of the highest order, desires to see them banned but knows that he cannot currently propose such move. He, like Riverside County and Riverside City before him, went the route of presenting the “dog banner’s 2nd option.”
I don’t think this ordinance is as effective as what I had hoped, which was a ban, but I think we have to do what we can.
There’s no sound policy reason why a community like Pasadena shouldn’t be allowed to ban such dangerous animals.
So the spay and neuter ordinance is a tepid response to an urgent problem. At present, it’s all we can do, supposedly. We should change this state law and then immediately ban Pit Bulls from Pasadena before we have another attack that might cause death or severe injury to a kid or a senior.
Madison has went on to compare Pit Bulls to rocket launchers, machine guns and time bombs, saying that they are a “clear and present danger.” Hell, he might as well claim that they are members of Al-Qaeda or that Osama bin Laden has magically sewn himself up into all of their bodies. The fearmongering rhetoric is apparent, and it couldn’t be more false or sensationalistic.
Back to the October article where Jeff Stone lays out Riverside County’s plan if I may. Check out this quote…
People are raising them and finding out they are dangerous, they are sticking them in our pounds and our K-9 centers, and we are euthanizing them and we want to reduce the euthanasia in our dog kennels.
^This is misinformation at its finest. Dangerous? That’s a convenient cop-out term, scapegoating them in mass without even knowing the first clue about any of their individual owners or the reasons behind their relinquishment. First of all, most of the dogs that end up in kill shelters end up there precisely because of the perpetuation of negative stereotypes that exist throughout society when it comes to Pit Bulls. These things manifest themselves through lack of housing or renting opportunities, breed restrictions, insurance requirements, draconian animal control taking advantage of low-income communities, etc. These stereotypes are further inflamed by the sweeping and sensationalistic rhetoric coming from people like Stone and Madison and Goodland, who have relied upon these tactics in order to force their legislation through without challenge. This plays 100% into fear. Fear is what kills these dogs.
Second, the Riverside County “pound and K-9 centers” that Stone is referencing above are run by the massively disingenuous Robert Miller, who stockpiles the majority of his dogs deemed by the shelter to be Pit Bulls into 3 different buildings that are locked down and inaccessible to the public. What other end comes out of that continuous action, other than a bunch of dogs who have no chance at adoption/networking and who will eventually end up dead? You tell me.
So when the duplicitous Robert Miller and his political shills from Riverside County cry “low adoptions,” when they make the unjust claim that these dogs are all “unwanted,” it’s a big fat lie. It is insincerity on steroids. It is the shifting of his actual employment duty as a shelter manager onto the public. He can just kill in secret, without lifting a finger, and then blame the public and the dead dogs, as justification to alienate and kill more dogs.
We know how to improve public safety. It is improved by genuinely educating the public, embracing the community instead of vilifying them or their dogs, offering low-cost or free (and accessible) resources, and by actually enforcing the already existing breed-neutral laws that are on the books. Further, there are 3 overriding circumstances that universally fit most instances where a dog of any breed or type is found to have killed a human. Those are: Roaming and loose dogs, chained and tethered (resident yard, non-family) dogs, and unsupervised children. Many times these tragic incidents involve more than 1 of these circumstances in combination. This is a matter of human recklessness and little else. In a country full of more than 75 million dogs and 300 million people, the evidence of deference shades any attempt to paint dogs as blanketly vicious or dangerous. It’s simply not scientific or true.
I’ll end by saying that this is not about overpopulation. This is not about shelter killings. You don’t even have to read between the lines because the evidence is out and in the open. This is about aiming to sterilize “Pit Bulls” out of whatever area and circumventing state law that says that you cannot ban dogs by breed or type. The sterilization option is the next option. This is a fact. If this was truly about overpopulation then why just Pit Bulls? And further, why do these efforts come aligned with the abhorrent and all-encompassing vilification of Pit Bulls? Please answer either of those questions. If they want to have honest discussions about overpopulation or shelter kill-rates then I’m quite sure that people would be willing to have those debates. That is not what is happening. Attend a meeting. See it for yourself. This is about the demonization of all dogs fitting the subjectively slang term “Pit Bull.”