Back in November, I wrote about Council Bluff's Iowa reporting that its pit bull ban has been an overwhelming success. Base on their numbers, in 2004, the year before the ban, they had 29 bites by pit bulls. In 2005, they only had 12, and in 2006, they had 5. Because the ban on pit bulls was causing there to be fewer pit bull bites, it was deemed that the ordinance was clearly a success.
I noted at the time that it was odd that the newspaper didn't ask about total bite numbers and whether or not public safety was really improved - but just took the pit bull bite numbers as proof of success.
Well, I just go the final tally of total dog bites for Council Bluffs, and it appears that they've done nothing to improve their situation.
In 2003, Council Bluffs Animal Control reports having 85 dog bites. In 2004, the year before the ban, they reported a huge increase to 131 dog bites. In 2005, the first year of the ban, they reported 115 dog bites and in 2006, they increased back up to 132 dog bites.
So basically, two years after instituting their pit bull ban, more people are getting bitten by dogs than ever before in Council Bluffs -- just by different types of dogs.
So are people in Council Bluffs safer from dogs because of the pit bull ban? The numbers say otherwise. And why is it me, a blogger in KC that is asking these questions and not the local media?
There are also a couple of other interesting notes in their breed-breakout numbers over these four years:
2003 -- Boxer bites: 2, Lab bites: 4
2004 -- Boxer bites: 1, Lab bites: 14
2005 -- Boxer bites: 1, Lab bites: 20
2006 -- Boxer bites: 12, Lab bites 23
Are irresponsible owners moving to different breeds of dogs? Is animal control working so hard to adjust its numbers to support the pit bull ban, that some dogs that were mis-labeled as pit bulls before now being labeled as something else? Now that Labs make up 23 bites, almost twice as many as the next highest breed (boxers and German Shepherds), and only 6 fewer than there were pit bull bites the year they banned them, should the city consider banning labrador retrievers now as well?
Folks, BSL doesn't work. It's never worked for anyone in eliminating dogs, or dog bites. It's bad, bad policy. Cities should learn from the failure of others before enacting their dog legislation.