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« Happy Halloween | Main | Data vs Information (Part 4) »

November 01, 2007

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KCK Kills Dogs

I don't think the general population really understands the ramifications of BREED MISIDENTIFICATION. Even the average dogowning public doesn't get it.

1) We have laws written and upheld in some cases by Supreme courts, stating that a PB ban is not UnConstitutional and overly vague - dogowners know if they own a "pitbull".
2) We have awarded powers of enforcement to ACO's with little more than a GED or HS diploma and no background in dogs - to ID breeds of dogs for confiscation and conviction of innocent dogowners.
3) We have the local neighborhood busy bodies IDing breeds of dogs and reporting them to AC depts.

Right now in KCK a poor dog labeled a Boxer-mix by a shelter in a neighboring city has spent over 4 months sitting on death row at tax payer expense over Breed ID issues. We have a dogowner unfairly accused of owning an illegal dog in KCK, without the city having to put forth any effort to prove otherwise. This same dogowner has been threatened with jail time and fines. All this dogowner knows is, he has a mutt from a city shelter with the label "boxer-mix" and he is having a dickens of a time getting his dog back.

BREED ID IMO IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO IMPLEMENTING A BREED BAN.

Marjorie

One of my favourite examples of this general lack of knowledge was one day, while changing channels on television, I cam across that "Who wants to be a millionaire?" show.

The question was, "What kind of terrier was Toto, in 'The Wizard of Oz'?"...with four options listed.

The contestant, clearly puzzled, said, "I didn't know there WERE different kinds of Terriers."

I mean...come on! :-)

Caveat

Good one, Marjorie!

Brent, great post.

What really kills me about the whole 'breed' issue is that it's a complete red herring. It's irrelevant. It's sexy though, which is why it's a good hook for the removal of civil rights.

Somehow, responsibility for the burden of proof has been perverted.

We've all posted on comment boards at newspaper sites where the no-nothings spew mythology about 'pit bulls' and other types.

Of course, it's very easy to debunk their hysterical fantasies; however, it occurs to me that the burden of proof is on the one who says it's true, not on the one who says it isn't.

So, when pinheads like Skeldon, Nelson, Beck, Coren, etc, tell unsubstantiated campfire stories about 'breeds', they should have to prove the truth of their statements - and so should their flying monkeys in the media and the general population.

As an example, Coren, our Canadian version of a blowhard who fancies himself as an expert, was quoted in print for the umpteenth time as saying that 'rottweilers' have a bite pressure of 2000 psi (he switches between 'rotts' and 'pits'. This time, it was in a book, not a yellow rag.

I'd had it.

I emailed him, asked him for a reference because I, quite honestly, had been unable to find one - it doesn't exist. After a multiple email conversation with a lot of hems and haws, he admitted that there is no scientific basis for the statement.

He did this by not responding to my final email, which asked if it was then fair to say, based on our correspondence, that there is no scientific evidence for this oft-repeated myth.

His silence was consent.

In my opinion, the same burden should fall to half-assed legislators - if 'pit bulls', assuming they even exist, are so dangerous that their owners must be subjected to discrimination and isolation, then shouldn't someone have to have some actual proof of the premise? By proof, I don't mean news clippings, popular mythology or AR-driven issue notes. I also don't mean pandering opinion pieces written by the likes of Beck and Clifton.

I mean actual, peer-reviewed proof that is accepted by the scientific community and other experts in the art of reason.

How have we let these propagandists get away with it?

I smell a blog post coming on LOL

Brent

C-

I've always wondered about the burden of proof thing. I've stood in front of countless city councils having to "prove" that BSL doesn't work...but never once has any one of the yahoos that has proposed BSL every felt the need to prove it DID work. Sure they're able to say Denver and Miami have done it, so we should too -- but never have they had to answer the question of DID IT WORK THERE? The answer is no, but the burden of proof was still on us. It makes no sense. There are plenty of great case studies out there of cities that are actually getting this right (ok, not enough, but there are a few) - -why are we not duplicating those ordinances?

Sigh. It seesm so easy...and yet people don't want to listen.

Caveat

In many cases, they've reversed the burden directly onto a defendant, too.

People have been expected to prove that their dog is not a 'pit bull' (should be easy, there's no such thing) rather than the prosecution having to prove it is.

I'm fully convinced, getting back to the breed ID point, that many people believe that breed = species rather than that breed = race.

I don't think they believed this in the past, but thanks to the same propaganda machine, they do now. That's why even people who own dogs will say crazy things about 'pit bulls' - and think they are true.

'Pit bulls' are a great choice if you want to instil fear and elminate as many dogs as possible. It is an ubiquitous shape of purebred and mixed breed dog. Basically, any short-haired dog with a whip tail, even without the typical characteristics of the purebreds lumped together by officials, is a 'pit bull'.

Becky

Every comment above is significant and worthy of more comment than I can make, but I MUST remark: ALL of this stuff is SOOOO important, and the more that we discuss all of this, the more we learn. My problem is: How do we get all of this across to the public and the media?? They are, like, stuck in Never Never Land or something...

The very fact that cities have proposed and passed BSL, while requiring citizens and experts to try to 'prove' this legislation is not necessary or effective is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. This very proof is required of our cities, NOT of us!

Then, once the unconstitutional ban is passed, Nikko's story, mentioned above, is about the clearest, most perfect example of very serious violations of a citizen's rights. KCK has YET to provide one single SHRED of evidence establishing this dog as 'PREDOMINANTLY' pit. And last I heard, is STILL requiring the burden of providing and paying for DNA testing, which has not yet been proven to be conclusive, to be on the defendent.

For me, the most serious part of this is WHY is no one helping us? WE are all protesting, yet WHERE is our protection? We may as well be shredding and kissing our Constitution goodbye, seems to me, and I do not understand why and how it is happening?

WHO do we turn to for help??

Becky

and apologies --- I neglected to touch on the breed ID issue, actually intended to be covered by my first sentence above. But I must add that this breed ID and breed MIS- ID, BY the GP, BY the media, BY AC, and everyone else, is far more serious than the media will allow us to expose.

Yes, not only is this one of the biggest problems w/ BSL, but it is THE biggest problem w/ the propaganda that is being fed to the GP. Under any 'normal' circumstance, the media is supposed to be held to the truth. Why is this not so when it concerns our dogs? HOW and WHY is the media getting away with this and WHAT can we do about this very serious problem?

Brent

Becky, I don't know what the answer is to this one. The onus of proving yourself (and your dog) innocent is a VERY disturbing trend in these cases that I really wish people would wake up to. I know that people have been trying to fight BSL using property rights as a stance for decades, but I really think that the due process argument has even more weight. Granted, if the new DNA testing becomes accurate enough to use (and actually includes pit bull breeds), cities will be able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars proving these dogs are "pit bull" breeds instead of using the resources to focus on real issues....maybe if we can force cities to waste enough money on this process we can get average joe citizen to wake up to these problems.

Becky

I agree w/ you there, Brent. Because I think 'dogs as property' can more easily be redefined or shot down than can Due Process. And at this time, I am not putting it past any government to try to redefine our pets.

With the dog being the property, violation of this right, such as w/ Nikko's owner, is especially anguishing -- afterall, it's not like them holding someone's bag of herbs from them. But the total absence of due process in this case is alarming!

If this man is ever able to find a worthy lawyer, I believe he could sue the pants off this city for this violation. And if that was successful, I believe THAT could stop some of our cities dead in their tracks.

Caveat

With Toledo, the Appellate Court overturned the ban partly because owners of so-called 'pit bulls' did not have a chance to prove whether or not their dogs were vicious.

They also mentioned the subjective nature of determining whether or not a dog even is a 'pit bull'.

I know the Ohio Supreme Court reinstated the ban but I'm still shaking my head over the bizarre ruling they handed down. It just didn't make sense.

But I think the right to due process is a very strong one.

I also agree the property rights argument is not strong. Property is banned, redefined, seized all the time - eminent domain, anyone?

Here in Canada we actually don't have entrenched property rights but we are still winning some cases. We will go to Appeal over Ontario and hope to win there.

Just saying that while I definitely get the 'guardian' vs 'property' argument I'm not convinced it's a sound point in the case of a 'breed' ban.

Certainly, if dog ownership in general were outlawed, it wouldn't hold water.

Becky

Caveat, your last statement is exactly what I fear will eventually occur. Given what cities are already getting away with, there is no reason NOT to be afraid this might eventually happen.

Caveat

It will happen incrementally as we are seeing now but not openly and suddenly.

It's quite obvious that if you want to stop a rare and minor occurrence, the dog nip (most of them are just little nicks), the only way is by banning dogs completely.

The reason I don't think even the most unbalanced politician would suggest such a thing is simple numbers. The estimated population by household that owns a dog is 48% in the US. That's a lot of angry dog owners, who vote.

In fact, I've been wishing for a long time that there was a way to harness that demographic's energy to fight what's going on now. If people only understood that this isn't about 'pit bulls' and never was, their outrage and determination would make breed bans and the rest of it a thing of the past.

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