For more updated information on dogsbite.org -- check out a more recent post here.
Even though they've been out there for awhile, I've largely let dogsbite.org do their own thing. However, at this point, their rallying of misinformation and misleading information is becoming even more biased, misleading, and dangerous, so I want to respond.
Yesterday, Dogsbite.org created a post entitled 'pit bull bans work". They cited four different cities where BSL "worked". The post below that also mentions a fifth city. And I want to respond.
First of all, I want to define what I would call a law that "works". "Working" is improving public safety. "Working" acknowledges that in almost no cities do one breed of dog account for even a majority of the attacks in a city. There are many different types of dogs that can, do and have "attacked". So "working" improves public safety by lowering the total number of dog bites in a community.
Dogsbite.org only wants to track 'pit bull' bites in determining success. But let's face it, if you eliminate the majority of one type of dog from a community, you can eliminate the majority of bites by that type of dog. Duh. However, bites have never been about the breed of dog involved. It's always been abou tthe owners of the dogs and their perpetually negligent treatment of the animal. Take away one type of dog, and they will be negligent with the next. Until you deal with THE OWNER problem, you will never solve the dog bite/attack problem. So of course in these cities that passed BSL, "pit bull" bites went down. However, let's look at whether or not public safety was really improved.
So let's look at their case studies of "successful" bans that are "working".
Council Bluffs, IA
I've written a LOT about Council Bluffs' ban over the past couple of years. However, here's the down and dirty:
2003 (pre-ban) - total dog bites: 85
2004 (pre-ban) - total dog bites: 131
Ban passed to deal with unusualy high number of dog bites.
2005 (ban in place) -- total dog bites: 115
2006 (ban) -- 132
2007 (ban) -- 98
There isn't much of a trend line here, however, in the two years prior to the ban (one of which was an abnormally high number of bites for that time) they averaged 108 bites per year. In the three years following the ban, they have average 115 bites. Is that an IMPROVEMENT to public safety? It's not, but they want you to believe it is.
Hey, I think you should read these results directly from the folks in Aurora. Here's a copy of the Aurora 2-year report. Here are the actual numbers of total dog attacks via their 2-year report:
2004 -- 178
2005 -- 110
In spite of a trendline trending downward in the total number of bites in the community (which mirrors what we're seeing nationwide), they passed BSL to start 2006.
2006 - 129
2007 - 157
So Aurora "worked" by stopping a trend of fewer dog bites and reversing the trend to now have more dog bites. In 2007 they had 26% more bites than they had the year before the ban was enacted.
I've written a lot about this one too. There are a lot of numbers in that link, here's the short of it:
In the 19 months prior to the mandatory spay/neuter of pit bulls law, they had a total of 596 total bites. In the 19 months following the ban, 676. A 13% increase. Don't believe my numbers? Here's an article noting that the total number of bites the first six months after th ordinance passed actually doubled from the year prior. And here's an academic paper written by TE Houston, PhD from out of Sacramento that also notes no decline in bites following the passing of the ordinance.
I don't have Denver's total dog bite numbers. I've looked, and I've never seen them published anywhere, nor have they been given to me when I've requested them. It seems odd to me that a city that has been to court FOUR TIMES in the past 3 years would not have widely published their "success" if these numbers looked good...but I don't know for sure.
So why would dogsbite.org not share with you these numbers? It's because they could really care less about public safety. The owner of the website got attacked by a 'pit bull' about 14 months ago..and in her quest for vengeance, she is out pushing breed bans regardless of what the end results would be. Colleen Lynn is a victim of an attack. That is tragic. But she is NOT an expert in dog bites, canine behavior, or canine legislation. She is a person with a website that is seeking vengeance. In her quest to thwart truth, she weeds out any comments that counter her view.
In my opinion, any efforts to thwart discussion and dissenting opinion are especially dangerous. It gives her the option of putting anything she wants on the site, with no pressure to make sure it's true or even accurate. See, that doesn't really matter, because she's not really interested in the truth anyway.
In order to build public safety -- and I mean TRUE public safety, we MUST deal with neglegent owners, regardless of what type of dogs they own. We MUST deal with how dogs are treated. Anything other that will lead to failure...just like in all the cities that Ms. Lynn would like you to think have been successful. Otherwise you won't have solved anything...you will have just changed the problem.