So, yesterday I posted a note about three cities that are currently struggling with their breed bans - -one of which was Denver.
Then, after I made the post, even more information has come out about Denver's struggles -- and about the city council woman I accused of hiding behind her constituents and instead of doing what was "right", was bowing to the will of the voters. But it's worse than I thought.
First, For The Pit Bulls posted more information about the upcoming lawsuit the city is facing -- and really, it seems like you can only dream up the mess that they've created.
The case centers around three plaintiffs that are filing complaints that their rights were violated under the Amercians With Disabilities Act. Two of the victims are military veterans whose dogs were service dogs helping them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (we've seen this come up before in other places). The third, was a disabled UKC Show judge whose dog also acted as a service dog. One of the military veterans' complaint is that he was also forced to sign inciminating paperwork to insure the dog's safety -- even after he advised Denver law enforcement that he was illiterate and unable to read the documents they were forcing him to sign.
Meanwhile, also yesterday, I criticized city councilwoman Jeanne Faatz for defending Denver's breed ban, in spite of the mounting lawsuits and wasted tax dollars, hiding behind "it's the will of my voters" as her excuse.
Turns out, Ms. Faatz's survey is, at best, misleading.
One kind reader emailed me a copy of Ms. Faatz' 20o5 survey, where we can see the actual survey questions. It's question 4 - -you can read it here for yourself. But here it is in all its glory:
Denver enacted a pit bull ban many years ago because this breed of dog has shown particularly dangerous tendencies, especially their ability to inflict severe damage when they attack. Opponents of pit bull bans say it is unfair to single out any specific breed because temperament of an individual dog within a breed can vary. Do you support continuing to ban pit bulls in Denver?
Interestingly, in the 2005 survey, 15% of people opposed the ban -- that number is now up to 23% even though I'm sure the question is still leadingly worded. In my actual job, we do a lot of surveys and I see the answers to a lot of survey questions. And how a question is worded is very influential to the outcome of the survey. But I think it would be interesting to rewrite the question and see what type of response she got. Here's a recommendation:
Many years ago, Denver enacted a ban on 'pit bulls'. Most estimates say that the city is spending about a quarter of a million dollars on enforcing the ban and the city is now spending tens of thousands of dollars settling lawsuits and on legal council to deal with more pending lawsuits -- all at a time when the city is facing a $120 million budget shortfall. No national organization of experts on canine/human interactions - -including Veterinarians, Dog Trainers, Rescues, and Animal Control officers - thinks that breed bans are effective or necessary legislation. Proponents of the law admit they have not studied the actual effectiveness of the law. Do you support continuing the ban on 'pit bulls'?
Dear Ms. Faatz. Quit hiding behind your biased survey question for your support of the ban. Quit harrassing military veterans and other people with disabilities. And quite wasting taxpayer dollars.