Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Kill This Dog Because of What it Looks Like

Let's kill this dog because of what it looks like.

That's the position of Montana Democratic State Repesentative Robyn Driscoll, who has introduced a bill to eliminate all "pit bulls" from her state.

If her bill, H.B. 191, becomes law, folks in Montana with any pit bull-type dog (including all Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers), will have to surrender their dogs to the state, which will then euthanize them within 10 days.

How serious a problem are pit bull attacks in Montana?

The National Canine Research Council reports that over the course of 43 YEARS (1965-2008), there were just 3 fatalities in Montana from any and all dog bites. That's ALL dog bites, not just pit bulls.

Yet, in 2005 alone 251 people in Montana died from traffic accidents, and 1,400 people died from smoking. Far more people are killed in Montana every year by lightning strikes than by dog attacks (much less pit bull attacks). And don't even think about fatalities caused by falling off of horses, overturned tractors, and fatal levels of alcohol intoxication. Swimming pools have killed fare more people in Montana than pit bulls.

So why is Ms. Driscoll focused on pit bulls?

Simple: She's a biggot.

Like all biggots, she has demonized something based on sensational press reports and her own insular way of seeing the world.

Get the facts? Why? Get the data? Who needs that? Measure and assess relative risk? Where's the fun in that?

And so, you have politicians like Ms. Driscoll doing to pit bulls what others would just as quickly do to gays, blacks, Muslims, Jews, and Native Americans.

The good news here, is that you have a chance to generate a little heat so that politicians like Ms. Driscoll can see the light.

Here's what you can do: Call and email Ms. Driscoll and the Chair and Vice Chair of the Local Government Committee to which her ill-informed piece of legislation has been referred.

Be polite, but be firm. Let Ms. Driscoll and the Committee know what you think about ANY policy that would kill dogs -- or people -- based solely on what they look like. Ms. Robyn Driscoll's phone number is (406) 534-4874 and her email is >>

The Chair of the Local Government Committee to which the bill is being referred is Ms. Elsie Arntzen, and her email is >>

The Vice Chair of the of the Local Government Committee is Ms. Betsy Hands, and she can be emailed at >>



YesBiscuit! said...

I see that picture and I want to squueze and kiss that dog. I must be nuts.

Anonymous said...

A lot of this really does look like classic diplacement behavior. Bigoted, xenophobic legislator or activist feels surrounded by 'dangerous' alien others but is prevented from expressing his/her antipathy publicly out of a desire not to be shamed and seen as the creep they are -- so he/she goes after the next convenient target -- dogs.

Caveat said...

Good post :>)

All of these bans are based on fiction - news reports, mostly, victim reports and made-up junk science.

It's magical thinking taken to an extreme.

And yes, it is bigotry - against people. Thanks to relentless propaganda, many believe that 'pit bulls' (which aren't a breed at all) belong to lowlives. In fact, the average owner is a white, middle class woman who is educated, owns her home and is gainfully employed. That's what I've seen here in Ontario as well, especially with the very rare purebreds (rare in Canada) but also with the mutts people would call generic 'pit bulls'.

So what they are really saying is that they don't want poor people and/or brown people to own dogs of any kind but especially dogs they think are 'dangerous'.

Now, I admit I've questioned the judgement of people who are barely scraping by financially who acquire a dog, which is a relatively expensive pet to maintain. However, I don't want to take their dogs away and kill them. I'd rather see at-cost vet services made available in depressed areas.

Some of these balloon-heads think there is wide public support for 'breed' (which is really shape) banning. Actually, there isn't. Media hacks make it appear that way by often giving a platform to a hater, or someone who has been bitten or attacked by a dog.

I don't want to sound harsh, but someone who gets bitten, especially by a strange dog, is no expert on dog behaviour or on breed identification. Yet self-serving politicians and media hacks pander to these people in order to create, then appear to be addressing what is essentially a fabricated 'crisis' - usually relating more to their chances of re-election or big for audience share than to any perceived danger from dogs.

More like this, please!

Jonathan Setter said...

Dear Terrierman,

My letter to Ms. Driscoll is as follows and was sent this morning.

"Dear Ms. Driscoll,

My name is Jonathan Setter and I live in Cape Town South Africa. I am a keeper and occasional breeder of working terriers and have a keen passion for all terrier type and working dogs. I have read with much shock, about your proposals to outlaw and subsequently euthanise all 'pit bull type" canines in your state. It may come as a shock to you to receive correspondence from such a distance about the welfare of dogs, though I would like to draw your attention to some statistics related to dog attacks in your state in the hope that you will be able to see that the point of view in your proposal for their banning and mass euthanasia is heartless to say the least. Please peruse the following;

"The National Canine Research Council reports that over the course of 43 YEARS (1965-2008), there were just 3 fatalities in Montana from any and all dog bites. That's ALL dog bites, not just pit bulls.
Yet, in 2005 alone 251 people in Montana died from traffic accidents, and 1,400 people died from smoking. Far more people are killed in Montana every year by lightning strikes than by dog attacks (much less pit bull attacks). And don't even think about fatalities caused by falling off of horses, overturned tractors, and fatal levels of alcohol intoxication. Swimming pools have killed far more people in Montana than pit bulls.'

I live in South Africa, a country that has been ravaged by years of policy that divided people up based solely on their physical appearance. I am a white man who is married to a black woman. Twenty years ago, this was a crime for which both my wife and I could be jailed. I am greatly disappointed to hear that such a cruel and unfair piece of legislation is even being considered in a country that I have had the pleasure to spend many months of my life and for which I have a great deal of respect for being a symbol of civil liberty.

If this law was to be applied to human beings, it would be regarded as bigotted and genocidal. I appeal to you to consider how much suffering and conflict could be avoided in this world if the human race were to start looking at issues and entities on a level that goes a little deeper than surface appearance. It would also be wise to consider that this proposal creates the potential fopr serious domestic disruption as not everybody is going to part with their dogs as easily as you might think. You stand capable of criminalising members of the public who have prefectly good dogs, just because you are judging them by their appearance.

It is my sincere prayer that reason and compassion will prevail in the case off the many good strong and loyal dogs whose lives are now needlessly under threat by this piece of legislation. I hope that " the land of the free and the home of the brave" also applies to your dogs for years to come.

Please do not introduce "canine apartheid" into your still free country.

Yours sincerely
Jonathan Setter
Terrierman-Cape Town South Africa
" He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion"

The American nation is wise enough to see the unfairness of policies like this I pray.

Cape Town

Anonymous said...

Egads! I SO TIRE of the Pit Bull witch hunt! And yes, Pit Bulls ARE a legitimete breed, with possible UKC registration, just not recognized by the AKC, which DO recognize "American Staffordshire Terriers", which are just a form of Pit Bull. I worked in a Vetinary for four years, where we boarded dogs as well, and I handled HUNDREDS of Pit Bulls(very common dogs in the American South), and I never had ONE that was aggressive to people, that I could not handle! I can say that for very few other breeds! This attitude towards them is a complete turnabout to the Pit Bull's former reputation, which was as the all-American, totally dependable dog. They certainly CAN be made aggressive, as they are highly trainable, and alas, end up in the worst possible hands too often. But what these STUPID legislators do not realize, is that once a breed like this is outlawed, and becomes unavailable, what do the dog-abusing scumbags of society do? They just aquire other breeds with aggressive reputations, and proceed to ruin their images! How many breeds do you have to outlaw before you get it, that it ISN'T the DOGS that need punishing, but the abusive HUMANS!!!!!....L.B.

Caveat said...

When I say it's not a breed, I mean 'pit bull' is not a breed - it's a slang, street term for a shape of dog which is sometimes a purebred but most often a mongrel.

Here in Ontario, since September 2005, they've killed over 4,000 supposed 'pit bulls' strictly because of their appearance - and only one was a purebred dog. Numbers are from the OVMA.

Victims include litters of 6-week old puppies seized as 'illegal' and senior dogs who lived peacefully in neighbourhoods all their lives but weren't muzzled on the front porch. Tell me who can identify such a young pup to any degree of certainty, especially when they are not well informed about dogs in the first place.

Most of these purported 'pit bulls' are obvious Boxer or Lab crosses, or just multi-generational randomly bred dogs that are reverting to the pariah type, as all dogs would eventually.

These laws have nothing to do with dog or owner behaviour - it's all about looks. Period.

There are 3 - 5 purebreds, over 20 lookalike purebreds and an unknown number of mutts that the non-dog savvy call 'pit bulls'.

On that basis alone, I'd say 'pit bulls' are obviously the safest dogs around.

And yes, in the US, the American Pit Bull terrier is the most popular registered purebred dog, hands down. The ADBA registers about 250,000 annually (worldwide but most in the US). I don't have the UKC figures handy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is true that a lot of mutts out there are part pit bull terrier, and a pit bull mix is often a great dog! With those numbers of the purebreds you just mentioned, plus all the zillions of mixes,plus the fact that the worst people get them for the worst reasons, if pit bulls were the danger that the media makes them out to be, we'd have thousands of people being mauled and killed on a daily basis! It's just not the case, of course...L.B.

Anonymous said...

There are no bad dogs but bad owners, educators and breeders of dogs !
Unfortunately for the pitbull has been chosen by many people who make a shield for their lack of backbone or, worse, violence. As a matter of fact.
Another example:
if 70 (80 or 90 ...) pitbull (or any other socially dangerous race) at a rate of 100 are well behaved. Unfortunately, there are 30 who are not and I do not see why should I risk of encountering one of these, only to give others the pleasure of owning

Holders of pitbull (or other breeds deemed dangerous), should not be angry with what was written, but should set a good example to those who have not raised their own dogs or future owners

Should be prohibited the mix with other races that increase the aggressiveness and management!

Throughout the world the same story !


Jonathan Setter said...

Hi Mirko,

if we look at the human race and the effect that they have on alm,ost everything that they touch, I think it would be fair to say that they also count as a dangerous breed. the stats about pit bull attacks speak for themselves. far less pitbulls attack people than other people. You make a good point about responsibility, but the stats in this particular case speak for themselves. 3 dog attacks in how many years? This is a stupid piece of law in the making.

j CT

Anonymous said...

Mirko--if Pit Bulls are OUTLAWED so people like you don't have to worry about the few bad ones, then you are going to have to worry about the few bad Rottweilers/ Dobermans/ German Shepherds/ Akitas/ Mastiffs/ American Bulldogs/ Bullmastiffs/ Cane Corsos/ Dogo Argentinos/ Fila Brasieleros/ Great danes/ etc., etc., etc.!!!!!!!! Which are the breeds that people that shouldn't have dogs will get to replace their outlawed Pit Bulls! Is this fair? Is it even sensible? Of course not! Are we going to outlaw ALL these breeds? Heck, people can make Labrador Retrievers vicious if they try hard enough! Outlawing breeds IS NOT the answer! And people who own these breeds can't exactly set a good example if their breed is outlawed, can they? Truth is, THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of Pit Bull owners DO set good examples, but you see how little good it has done for general perceptions.....L.B.

Anonymous said...

"3 dog attacks in how many years? This is a stupid piece of law in the making."

In Europe, the most dangerous dog is the German shepherd, statistics based on complaints to the authorities,But never demonized by politicians, TV and newspapersande.


Anonymous said...

L.B.>> lists of dangerous dogs:

This is a scam!


Every nation protects its breed! The Spain protects the perro canario (Not the list E) etc. .....
the England the bull dog and derivatives (Not the list UK)etc..., and so on,the Germany ,the Rottweilers { Not the list D}, etc. .... This is why I say that is a scam!

The lists are useless!

As usual: They needed an enemy No. 1

$$$$$ POLICY! € € € € € € € €!