Editor's note: Since this originally published I've update an error in my numbers on KC's euthanasia stats. The originally euthanasia numbers I had were actually combiled for all animals, not just dogs, and I didn't catch it when combing through several thousand rows of data. I've updated the info here, and all conclusions still remain the same.
So in July of 2006, a Kansas City, KS (not Missouri) woman, Jimmy Mae McConnel, was attacked and killed by two dogs. Following the attack, many city councils in the area started looking into dangerous dog ordinances.
As a part of this, Kansas City, MO decided to follow the San Francisco ordinance to mandate that all 'pit bulls' be spayed or neutered. So in August of 2006, KCMO passed an ordinance nearly identical to San Francisco's ordinance. Giving people a couple of months to comply with the law, the ordinance officially took affect December 1, 2006.
The head of animal control in KCMO has been very generous with the information she has provided me. So to the best of my ability, I'm going to try to narrow this down to the essential information.
2005 Bite Numbers
Total Bites: 331 (40 Severe)
"Pit Bull" Bites: 76 (7 Severe)
Rottweiler Bites: 28 (2 Severe)
Labrador bites: 25 (5 Severe)
German Shepherd bites: 47 (10 severe)
Chow Chow bites: 33 (4 severe)
2006 Bites (37 Severe)
Total Bites: 305
Pit bull bites: 67 (12 Severe)
Rottweiler bites: 15 (5 severe)
Labrador Bites: 35 (3 Severe)
German Shepherd: 51 (9 Severe)
Chow Chow: 15 (0 Severe)
Cocker Spaniel: 3 (0 Severe)
2007 Bite Numbers
Total Bites: 312 (27 Severe)
Pit bull: 79 (11 Severe)
Rottweiler: 14 (2 Severe)
Labrador: 29 (1 Severe)
German Shepherds: 46 (1 severe)
Chow Chow: 11 (1 severe)
Cocker Spaniel: 5 (1 severe)
Some quick thoughts on this.
From 2005 to 2007 total dog bites dropped 6%
Severe Bites dropped 33%
"Pit Bull" bites actually increased 4%, and severe bites by "pit bulls" increased by 57%.
Of these biting breeds -- none appears by percentage to be more involved in severe bite cases per bite than any other breed. On the low end, 8% of Chow Chow bites were considered Severe, on the high end, 16% of Rottweiler bites were severe. German Shepherds (14%), "pit bulls" (13%), Cocker Spaniels (13%), Labs (10%) make up the middle.
2005 Total Euthanasia: 6,325 (4,026 Dogs)
2005 Pit Bulls Killed: 981 (24%)
2006 Total Euthanasia: 6,959 (4,531 dogs)
2006 Pit Bulls Killed: 1,353 (30%)
2007 Total Euthanasia: 6,769 (4,601 dogs)
2007 Pit Bulls Killed: 1,722 (39%)
At first glace when I looked at this, I saw the 2006 euth numbers and the 2007 numbers and thought, well, this looks like it's working. However, upon further inspection, I looked at the euths by month.
Now this is really hard to tell from the chart, but I noticed that from September 2006 (right after the BSL/MSN was passed even though the law took affect Dec. 1 2006) through the end of the year, there were over 400 more euthanasias than there were in the same timeframe in 2005.
So if you look at 2005 numbers, there was a 7% increase in total euthanasia at the KCMO shelter in 2007. There was a 76% increase in 'pit bulls' killed in the shelter from 2005 to 2007.
And this follows a huge increase in 2006 directly following the enactment of the law. Sadly, this comes at a time when the shelter has actually seen a 60% increase in adoptions between 2005 and 2007. Interestingly, there has been a 5.5% decrease in euths among all non-pit bull type dogs -- I suspect that the increased adoptions has a lot to do with that (KCMO refuses to adopt out 'pit bull' type dogs).
The 76% increase in 'pit bull' euthanasia has to be seen as completely disturbing given that this was the problem they were trying to solve.
Tomorrow. More analysis comparing KCMO and San Francisco and whether or not we feel like the law is "working".